Assistive technology devices that
can support students with disabilities in transition may include either high or
low tech assistive technology for instance; electronic organizers or planners,
assistive time or memory devices, or color-coded items (for easier locating and
identifying) and adaptive driving equipment. Communication adaptations
(electronic organizers, voice output reminders) and mobility adaptations (power
scooter or wheelchair) may also be required for transitioning to employment
and/or in the community for students with disabilities. Such devices shall
confirm importance and relevance for continued use of the assistive technology
after transition out of high school takes place.

The Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA) mandates the school system’s responsibility to provide
assistive technology devices and services to students with disabilities (“Assistive
Technology and IDEA: Regulations,” 2004). Assistive technology is defined
as any device item, piece of equipment, or product system that can be used to
increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of the child. This
mandate ensures every child with a disability is made available assistive
technology devices or services, or both respectively, if required as part of
the child’s IEP services, related services, supplementary aids and services;
and develop, review, and revise the child’s IEP considering special factors
such as, limited English proficiency, blind or visually impaired provide for
instruction in Braille, considering the communication needs of the child, and
in the case of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, consider the child’s
language and communication needs, opportunities for direct communications with
peers and professional personnel in the child’s language and communication mode
to access  academic level, and full range
of needs.

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The ISTE standards demonstrate a
list of educator standards to support students. These standards consist of learner; wherein educators continuously
improve their practice, learn from and explore promising practices that influence
technology to improve student learning. Some indicators include pursuing
professional interests by actively participating in global and local learning
networks, and staying current with research that supports learning of student
outcomes. The citizen standard
encourages educators to motivate students to responsibly explore and
participate in the digital world; mentoring students in safe, legal, and
ethical practices with digital resources and modeling and promoting management
of student identity and privacy. This indicator is especially important in
relation to students with mild/moderate disabilities who may not be mindful of
otherwise. The ISTE standard of designer
is also relevant to apply instructional principles to create digital learning
environments that engage and support student learning (“ISTE Standards for
Students,” n.d.).

 

 

Research
question 3:  What Technology Skills and
Supports are Needed to Facilitate Implementation of Best Practices and
Transition Goals?

 

 

One
evidence based practice implicated in the self-development—self-determination skills
sector in the NTACT (National Technical Assistance Center on Transition), is
the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction. This curriculum teaches
students to engage in self-directed and self-regulated learning to reach goal
attainment by setting a goal, taking action, and adjusting a goal or plan.
Students are required to solve problems through a series of four steps; students
identify the problem, identify potential solutions, identify the barriers to
solving the problem, and identifying the consequences of each solution. Each question
is linked to a set of teacher objectives that describe the student outcomes for
each question. 

In
a study conducted by (Moon, Simonsen, & Neubert, 2011, p. 95) for the
Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CEC), recommended secondary
practices for students with low-incidence disabilities currently emphasize the
need to balance strategies for accessing general education classes with
providing functional and community-based instruction, teaching
self-determination skills, and using assessment and planning practices that
increase interagency collaboration between schools, families and adult agencies
(Inge & Moon, 2006). Educators shall identify essential skills when
transitioning youth with disabilities to supported employment with open-ended
questions; acquiring feedback of self-advocacy, self-determination,
communication, and social skills. Studies exhibit students lack student
involvement skills with tasks such as; limited knowledge of how to access
community resources, vocational problem-solving skills,
self-advocacy/self-determination skills, job interviewing skills, and students
do not follow through with activities and commitments. 

Implementations
of best practices encompass goals that are based on age-appropriate transition
assessments such as, an interest inventory or a vocational (or career)
exploration assessment. Students should be given assessments to lead to
self-discovery to acquire their particular skills and interests and what the
options are for achieving those goals. Person-centered
planning is paramount to quality transition planning and preparation. Goals
should be updated annually because as the student gains new experiences, their
goals 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 learn
and apply a decision-making process.  Transition
assessments should be revisited annually and address issues of all three
components of transition inclusive of postsecondary education and training,
employment, and independent living skills.

According
to the California Transition Alliance (2015), effective based practices
incorporate; inclusion in general education studies, student support, integrated
work experience, and independent living skills. Regarding transition planning,
students who have an intellectual disability, should be expected to acquire all
foundational academic content presented to their peers. Students with
disabilities will exhibit a variety of strengths and abilities that can be used
as a basis for beginning to select areas for employment and postsecondary
training.

Research
tells us that effective practices, models, and methods in transition planning
and services can lead to positive outcomes in postsecondary success of students
with disabilities; including services of education, independent living, and
employment.

 

Research
Question 2: What are Effective Practices, Models, and Methods that Support Transition
for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities?  

According
to the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (2004), the IDEA legal
mandates are federal laws that require schools to serve the educational needs
of eligible students with disabilities. These laws relate to transition
services by continuing the education of students with disabilities related to
the IDEA’s purpose, this mandate provides all children have available to them a
free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and
related services created to meet their individualized needs and to prepare them
for further education. Another law mandated and related to transition is,
“change the definition of transition services.” Transition services designates
a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability; these
activities are targeted on improving the instructional and functional
achievement of the child with special needs to facilitate the child’s transition
from 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, or
community participation; these plans are placed on individualized needs of the
child, including their strengths, preferences, and interests. A change in the
postsecondary requirements in the IEP are mandatory beginning no later than 16
years of age, or younger if deemed appropriate by the IEP team. The child
should also be invited to attend an IEP team meeting where application of
postsecondary goals and the transition services needed to support those goals
will 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.