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A Collaborative Interagency, Interdisciplinary Approach to Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood
Cover of A Collaborative Interagency, Interdisciplinary Approach to Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood


 
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As youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) leave school, they face several transitions including school to work or postsecondary education, family home to community living, and child oriented health care to adult care. Youth should be able to expect self-determined transitions with coordinated support from family, community, professionals, and agencies, but they and their families often experience very little choice, control, or collaboration from the myriad of systems to which they look for support and services for transition.

Multiple barriers stand in the way of a coordinated approach to supporting all aspects of successful transition to adulthood. These barriers include failing to support self-determination as a central element of the person-centered process of transition; insufficient understanding of the role of culture in an individual or family's concept or approach to transition; the tendency for professionals within each transition domain (education, health, community living, employment, others) to use language that is not easily understood by other professionals, youth, families, or other community partners; and neglecting to specifically explore how transition in the different realms could/should be linked for maximizing success.

To that end, this paper promotes four core concepts that are essential to the development and implementation of effective transition plans and process.

  1. Self-determination should be the foundation for transition planning.
  2. Transition should be viewed through a cultural lens.
  3. Interagency collaboration is essential to effective transition.
  4. Transition planning should include all the perspectives, disciplines, and organizations that will impact the transitioning student.
Purpose

This paper was written for and by directors and staff of the networks of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Centers and the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities programs. It is intended for faculty, staff, trainees, individuals with disabilities, and family members in these two networks as well as policy makers and partners in local and state disability organizations and agencies. The paper aims to promote a dialogue among key stakeholders and to facilitate their engagement in pursuing a more comprehensive, coordinated, supportive, and successful transition process for youth with disabilities from adolescence to young adulthood.