Support Professionals and Students in the
Field of Developmental Disabilities

Journal on Developmental Disabilities

The Journal on Developmental Disabilities is a peer-reviewed journal with a growing regional and international readership.

Volume 14 Number 1 – Transitions


Transition of Children With Autism From Intensive Behavioural Intervention Programs Into the School System
Alissa Levy and Adrienne Perry

This study concerns the issue of the transition of children with autism from intensive behavioural intervention (IBI) programs to school. Literature on the transition of children with autism is sparse, and anecdotal evidence suggests there are significant challenges. The current study used survey methodology to examine the beliefs of IBI program and school system staff about this transition, and the similarities and differences between their beliefs and experiences. It was found that, in some respects, the transition beliefs of the two groups were similar. However, there were notable differences between the ideal views of transition processes and actual experiences of participants in both groups, as well as some barriers to the process. Directions for future research and implications for practice are discussed.

Inclusion of Preschoolers With Intellectual Disabilities in Organized Social Activities
Tessen Clifford, Vicki Lopes, Patricia Minnes, and Helene Ouellette-Kuntz

Inclusion of young children with intellectual disabilities (ID) in organized social activities has received relatively little attention in the literature to date. Twenty-one parents of children with or at risk for ID were interviewed during their child's transition into school. Information from the first time point (pre-school entry) indicated that respite service use was the only variable that predicted participation in social activities. Family income and parental education level were also positively correlated with their child's participation in social activities. Parents of children who participated in social activities reported being more satisfied with their child's quality of life. Directions for future research are discussed.

Preparing to Leave School: Involvement of Students With Intellectual Disabilities in Productive Activities
Julie Burbidge, Patricia Minnes, Katherine Buell, and Helene Ouellette-Kuntz

This paper describes results from the first year of a longitudinal study investigating support needs of students with intellectual disabilities preparing to leave high school. Forty-eight parents of students were interviewed. Results indicate that the majority of students were not involved in volunteer activity or employment. Adaptive functioning did not differ according to involvement in employment or volunteer activities; however, students who were supported in employment or volunteer activities were reported to exhibit less maladaptive behaviour.

Self-Determination and Student Involvement in Transition Planning: A Multivariate Analysis
Kendra Williams-Diehm, Michael L. Wehmeyer, Susan B. Palmer, Jane H. Soukup, and Nancy W. Garner

This study examined differences in level of self-determination between groups who differed in level of student involvement in their Individualized Education Program meeting. The study involved 276 students with disabilities from 33 school districts located within 5 states. Student levels of self-determination were determined by the completion of two self-report measures of self-determination, and levels of student involvement were determined by a questionnaire designed to measure student involvement in transition planning. For purposes of analysis, student were assigned to three groups based upon their level of their cognitive ability. Multivariate analysis of data yielded statistically significant results between self-determination scores of students who exhibited high and low student involvement, showing that students who are more active in educational planning meetings are also more self-determined. Teachers and families should continue to promote self-determination to increase student involvement in IEPs and transition planning meetings for all students with disabilities.

Transition Services for High School Students With Intellectual Disabilities in Taiwan
Hung-Chih Lin

This research examined the conditions and factors affecting transition services for students with intellectual disabilities (ID) in Taiwan using the Transition-Service Planning Assessment Scales for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPAS). The results indicated that the need for transition services to post secondary school ranked highest, whereas transitions related to medical services ranked lowest. The severity of the students ID and grade level correlated most significantly with the need for transition services. Further, students with mild ID and those in families with higher socioeconomic status received better transition services. Recommendations are made for school policy, transition practices, and further research.

Where Next? Transition Pathways for Young People With Learning Difficulties in U.K. Residential Schools and Colleges
David Abbott and Pauline Heslop

Young people with learning difficulties who go to residential special schools and colleges are a highly vulnerable group, often living a long way from home. Transition towards adulthood requires careful planning and support for both young people and their families. Despite national policy and guidance in this area, this paper suggests that young people with learning difficulties in out of area placements are being failed at transition and face huge uncertainty. Drawing on empirical research with 15 young people, their families, and the professionals that support them, this paper outlines data on outcomes for the young people at one stage of their transition to adulthood and examines why so few were being supported to achieve goals of employment and independent living.

Transition for Hispanic and Anglo Young Adults With Severe Intellectual Disability: Parent Perspectives Over Time
Bonnie R. Kraemer and Jan Blacher

This study examined parents perspectives, assessed longitudinally, on the period of transition for young adults with severe intellectual disability, across two time points. There were two groups of respondents, 152 primarily Anglo and 98 Hispanic parents. In-depth interviews on parent transition experiences and views indicated that respondents from both cultural groups would like their sons or daughters to be working in integrated environments, but realistically, see their young adults working in more restrictive settings. Hispanic families were significantly less likely to see the young adult moving out of the family home after finishing high-school, as compared to Anglo families. Hispanic families reported significantly more worries regarding their sons or daughters transition, less involvement in the transition planning process, and a greater desire to be more involved in transition. These findings were consistent across time. Implications for working with families during the transition period are discussed.

Predicting Maternal Rewards and Worries for the Transition to Adulthood of Children With Developmental Disabilities
Brian M. Jobe and Laraine Masters Glidden

Transition to adulthood for students with disabilities is of interest both to service providers and families. It is, however, a lengthy and often tortuous journey, and the success with which parents navigate it has implications for them, for their adult children with disabilities, and for providers of services. In this study, we were able to predict maternal responses to the Transition Daily Rewards and Worries Questionnaire (TDRWQ) from maternal personality, measures of well-being and depression, and child adaptive and maladaptive behaviour measured 6 years earlier. Most notably, the personality variable of Extraversion, a global measure of well-being, and both adaptive and maladaptive behaviour of the child with disabilities predicted 32.7% of the variance of a general positive orientation to the future. This stability should be useful in targeting those families who may have trouble with the transition to adulthood.

The Transition of Young People With Learning Disabilities to Employment: What Works?
Stephen Beyer and Axel Kaehne

Significant barriers have been identified in the transition from school and college to employment among young persons with learning disabilities (LD), though factors that appear to facilitate that transition have been also been identified. The current paper examines the transition from school of 87 young people with LD, with interviews occurring both in their last year of school and six months post graduation. The study also reports on the vocational advice given to students with LD by schools/colleges and external transition support organizations in their last year of school. Differences in the type of activity offered were found for schools/colleges and the external transition support providers. Logistic regression analyses revealed that work experience provided by the external support organizations, as well as work awareness training provided by schools/colleges were significantly related to subsequent employment. Implications for transition practice are discussed.

Carer Perspectives on the Transition of Young People With Learning Disabilities to Employment
Axel Kaehne and Steve Beyer

The paper reports the views of carers on transition to employment, college or other services for young people with learning disabilities (LD). The research draws on interviews with 87 carers in six areas of the U.K. conducted over a period of 12 months. The research found that advice to carers from careers services did not successfully cover employment as an option, whereas advice from employment services did. Carers did aspire to their young people getting a paid job as a next step, but follow-up interviews showed the majority went to college. The results suggest that employment organizations need to be involved earlier in the transition process if young people and carers are to be fully informed of their options.

Going Solo
Emmanuel and Shawn

Emmanuel is a 17 year old young man, with an intellectual disability, living in a child-welfare supported foster home. A background of family conflict precipitated his coming into care. His mother is unable to support him. He has two older sisters, one of whom (A.) he sees often. He was approached by his social worker, Shawn, to talk about what he would do when he transitions out of child welfare care, and what he thinks about when he considers "independence".

When There Are No Choices: The Consequences of a Lack of Adult Living Placements for Young Adults With Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities Leaving Child Welfare Care
Ann Fudge Schormans and Julie Rooke

Young people labelled intellectually and/or developmentally disabled (ID/DD) who are making the transition to adulthood often lack control over their lives as restrictions are imposed upon their individual choices and their participation in decision-making. For those who have been wards of the child welfare system, this period of transition is made even more difficult by a history of child maltreatment, a lack of familial support, and a dearth of adult living arrangements available to them. Through face-to-face interviews with young adults with ID/DD upon leaving child welfare care, and through focus groups with members of the wider "community of interest" (including child welfare social workers, adult protective service workers, foster parents, and residential services staff), this research examined the impacts of residential arrangements and a lack of housing placements upon both the situational and developmental transitioning of young people with ID/DD into adulthood. The consequences for the young person's physical, mental, emotional and social well-being were related, in the discussions, to issues of choice and control, systemic barriers, devaluation, and rights. This paper focuses specifically on the themes of rights and well-being.

Changes Before the Transition to the Community: Experiences of Persons in Ontario's Closing Institutions
Lynn Martin

There exists a wide body of research showing that deinstitutionalization results in significant improvements in quality of life and functioning, and this has helped to sustain government policies related to deinstitutionalization. However, far less work has considered the changes that occur in the status of individuals in the time preceding their transition to the community. This study examines the changes in functional abilities, physical health, mood, behaviour, and family involvement among persons who remain in one of Ontario's three remaining specialized institutions after the first year of deinstitutionalization. Analyses are based on information from the interRAI Intellectual Disability (interRAI ID) instrument, which has been used to assess all residents on an annual basis since 2005. Specifically, analyses are based on 826 individuals who have both a baseline (2005) and follow-up (2006) assessment. The results indicate that significant changes in functional abilities, health, and behaviour occurred over the course of one year, and that many of these differed according to the person's age and level of cognitive impairment. Implications of findings for individual-level transition planning are discussed, as is the role of the interRAI ID in the evaluation of transitions to the community.