Assistive technology devices thatcan support students with disabilities in transition may include either high orlow tech assistive technology for instance; electronic organizers or planners,assistive time or memory devices, or color-coded items (for easier locating andidentifying) and adaptive driving equipment. Communication adaptations(electronic organizers, voice output reminders) and mobility adaptations (powerscooter or wheelchair) may also be required for transitioning to employmentand/or in the community for students with disabilities. Such devices shallconfirm importance and relevance for continued use of the assistive technologyafter transition out of high school takes place.
The Individuals with DisabilitiesEducation Act (IDEA) mandates the school system’s responsibility to provideassistive technology devices and services to students with disabilities (“AssistiveTechnology and IDEA: Regulations,” 2004). Assistive technology is definedas any device item, piece of equipment, or product system that can be used toincrease, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of the child. Thismandate ensures every child with a disability is made available assistivetechnology devices or services, or both respectively, if required as part ofthe child’s IEP services, related services, supplementary aids and services;and develop, review, and revise the child’s IEP considering special factorssuch as, limited English proficiency, blind or visually impaired provide forinstruction in Braille, considering the communication needs of the child, andin the case of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, consider the child’slanguage and communication needs, opportunities for direct communications withpeers and professional personnel in the child’s language and communication modeto access academic level, and full rangeof needs. The ISTE standards demonstrate alist of educator standards to support students. These standards consist of learner; wherein educators continuouslyimprove their practice, learn from and explore promising practices that influencetechnology to improve student learning. Some indicators include pursuingprofessional interests by actively participating in global and local learningnetworks, and staying current with research that supports learning of studentoutcomes.
The citizen standardencourages educators to motivate students to responsibly explore andparticipate in the digital world; mentoring students in safe, legal, andethical practices with digital resources and modeling and promoting managementof student identity and privacy. This indicator is especially important inrelation to students with mild/moderate disabilities who may not be mindful ofotherwise. The ISTE standard of designeris also relevant to apply instructional principles to create digital learningenvironments that engage and support student learning (“ISTE Standards forStudents,” n.d.).
Researchquestion 3: What Technology Skills andSupports are Needed to Facilitate Implementation of Best Practices andTransition Goals? Oneevidence based practice implicated in the self-development—self-determination skillssector in the NTACT (National Technical Assistance Center on Transition), isthe Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction. This curriculum teachesstudents to engage in self-directed and self-regulated learning to reach goalattainment by setting a goal, taking action, and adjusting a goal or plan.Students are required to solve problems through a series of four steps; studentsidentify the problem, identify potential solutions, identify the barriers tosolving the problem, and identifying the consequences of each solution. Each questionis linked to a set of teacher objectives that describe the student outcomes foreach question. Ina study conducted by (Moon, Simonsen, & Neubert, 2011, p. 95) for theDivision of Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CEC), recommended secondarypractices for students with low-incidence disabilities currently emphasize theneed to balance strategies for accessing general education classes withproviding functional and community-based instruction, teachingself-determination skills, and using assessment and planning practices thatincrease interagency collaboration between schools, families and adult agencies(Inge & Moon, 2006).
Educators shall identify essential skills whentransitioning youth with disabilities to supported employment with open-endedquestions; acquiring feedback of self-advocacy, self-determination,communication, and social skills. Studies exhibit students lack studentinvolvement skills with tasks such as; limited knowledge of how to accesscommunity resources, vocational problem-solving skills,self-advocacy/self-determination skills, job interviewing skills, and studentsdo not follow through with activities and commitments. Implementationsof best practices encompass goals that are based on age-appropriate transitionassessments such as, an interest inventory or a vocational (or career)exploration assessment. Students should be given assessments to lead toself-discovery to acquire their particular skills and interests and what theoptions are for achieving those goals. Person-centeredplanning is paramount to quality transition planning and preparation. Goalsshould be updated annually because as the student gains new experiences, theirgoals mature. The goals move from general to specific as the student matures.
The IEP is based on the students’ goals and it is important that students learnand apply a decision-making process. Transitionassessments should be revisited annually and address issues of all threecomponents of transition inclusive of postsecondary education and training,employment, and independent living skills. Accordingto the California Transition Alliance (2015), effective based practicesincorporate; inclusion in general education studies, student support, integratedwork experience, and independent living skills. Regarding transition planning,students who have an intellectual disability, should be expected to acquire allfoundational academic content presented to their peers.
Students withdisabilities will exhibit a variety of strengths and abilities that can be usedas a basis for beginning to select areas for employment and postsecondarytraining. Researchtells us that effective practices, models, and methods in transition planningand services can lead to positive outcomes in postsecondary success of studentswith disabilities; including services of education, independent living, andemployment. ResearchQuestion 2: What are Effective Practices, Models, and Methods that Support Transitionfor Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities? Accordingto the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (2004), the IDEA legalmandates are federal laws that require schools to serve the educational needsof eligible students with disabilities. These laws relate to transitionservices by continuing the education of students with disabilities related tothe IDEA’s purpose, this mandate provides all children have available to them afree appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education andrelated services created to meet their individualized needs and to prepare themfor further education. Another law mandated and related to transition is,”change the definition of transition services.” Transition services designatesa coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability; theseactivities are targeted on improving the instructional and functionalachievement of the child with special needs to facilitate the child’s transitionfrom school to post-school activities, inclusive of postsecondary education,vocational schooling, included employment (which includes sustained employment);persevering with adult training, adult services, independent living, orcommunity participation; these plans are placed on individualized needs of thechild, including their strengths, preferences, and interests.
A change in thepostsecondary requirements in the IEP are mandatory beginning no later than 16years of age, or younger if deemed appropriate by the IEP team. The childshould also be invited to attend an IEP team meeting where application ofpostsecondary goals and the transition services needed to support those goalswill be discussed. Additionally, IDEA mandates to add development and implementation of transition programs to list of permissible uses of the state. Schools may use money reserved for the purpose of administering state-level activities such as, providing technical assistance programs to children with disabilities. These services may also include transition to employment services. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2016, 17.
9 percent of persons with a disability were employed. In comparison, the employment-population ratio for those without a disability was 65.3 percent (“Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics Summary,” 2016). Studies suggest these statistics are comprehensively due to a lack of training and education, which were reported as the most common impediment to gain employment aside from the disabilities themselves.