Summer Employment and Community Experiences of Transition-Age Youth with Severe Disabilities (Report)
Exceptional Children 2010, Wntr, 76, 2
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Preparation for the world of work has long been a central focus of transition education. Since the emergence of transition initiatives in the 1980s (Halpern, 1985; Will, 1984), the inception and expansion of legislative transition mandates in the 1990s (via Individuals With Disabilities Education Act 1990, 1997), and the recent policy emphases focused on increased accountability for improving postschool outcomes in the 2000s (Bassett & Kochhar-Bryant, 2006), schools have been called upon to better equip youth with disabilities with the skills, opportunities, and linkages needed to assume meaningful careers. The Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) clearly articulates this commitment to students with disabilities by stating that an overarching purpose of special education is to "prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living" as one component of a national policy aimed at "ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities" (20 U.S.C. [section] 1400 (33)(c)(1)). This heightened emphasis on employment preparation has been driven by at least three factors. First, the pervasiveness and persistence of disappointing postschool employment outcomes for young adults with disabilities has prompted ongoing concerns about the availability, relevance, and efficacy of secondary transition services (e.g., Blackorby & Wagner, 1996; Hasazi, Gordon, & Roe, 1985). For individuals with severe disabilities--who are more likely than any other disability group to encounter unemployment, underemployment, and segregated jobs after exiting high school--these concerns are especially salient (e.g., Heal & Rusch, 1995; Rusch & Braddock, 2004). For example, the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS-2) found that only 24.8% of young adults with cognitive disabilities, 31.5% of young adults with autism, and 32.4% of young adults with multiple disabilities were employed 2 years after exiting high school (Wagner, Newman, Cameto, Garza, & Levine, 2005). Second, obtaining work experiences during high school is among the most prominent and well-documented predictors of favorable postschool employment outcomes in the transition literature (e.g., Benz, Lindstrom, & Yovanoff, 2000; Benz, Yovanoff, & Doren, 1997). Third, working during high school can make sizeable contributions to positive adolescent development by enhancing students' autonomy; influencing their vocational identity; shaping their career awareness and aspirations; developing their workplace values, skills, and knowledge; and promoting collateral skill development (Vondracek & Porfeli, 2003). Collectively, these research findings present a significant challenge to schools, highlighting the necessity of thoughtfully and deliberately addressing the individualized, employment-related strengths and needs of youth with severe disabilities within transition education.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Education
- Published: 01 January 2010
- Publisher: Council for Exceptional Children
- Print Length: 47 Pages
- Language: English