Helping Individuals with Severe Disabilities Lead Self-determined Lives

By: Kimberly Frazier  

Adult outcomes for individuals with significant disabilities (e.g., intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, multiple disabilities, comorbid mental health concerns) are far less favorable as evidenced by many indicators (e.g., employment, time with friends, engagement in community, access to internet) than outcomes of people with other or no disabilities (Newman et al., 2011; Shattuck et al., 2012). Transition services have the potential to increase outcomes for people with disabilities, thereby allowing adults with severe disabilities to realize their full potential (Carr, S.C., 2000). Successful transition requires a partnership among stakeholders. A transition team composed of special education teachers, SLPs, school administrators, school counselors, school social workers, rehabilitation counselors, students and families all bring critical perspectives to the planning process that are vital in providing youth with disabilities opportunities for meaningful employment, access to community resources and recreation, and living opportunities as they transition from school to post-school life. The importance of transition services and a team of professionals working in conjunction with youth and their families cannot be overstated. Research has shown that when students have access to the collaborative expertise of school-based and community professionals they have more positive post-school experiences (Noonan, Gaumer-Erikson, & Morningstar, 2013; Test et al., 2009). Best practices for school and community partnerships are explored.

Disabilities, Transition, Diversity
Education and Learning in a World of Difference
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Kimberly Frazier

Associate Professor, Communication Disorders, University of Arkansas, United States
United States

Kimberly Frazier is an associate professor at the University of Arkansas. She has over 28 years of experience working with individuals with communication disorders.