Transition planning for postsecondary students with disabilities : exposed versus actual transition planning
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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 mandated transition planning services for students with disabilities who are exiting high school and entering the world of work or postsecondary education. Despite collaborative efforts between educational institutions and various service agencies to facilitate transition from high school to employment or continued education, students with disabilities appear to lag behind their non-handicapped peers in these areas. This study focused on transition planning for students with mild disabilities enrolled in a community college in central Texas. The individual transition plans (ITPs) of fifteen students who had self-declared to the college as having a learning disability were obtained from the high school from which they graduated. The records were analyzed for evidence of twelve essential components of transition planning recommended in educational literature. The students were interviewed regarding their vi i transition plans and what they viewed as factors necessary for success in college. Four professional staff members of the Education Support Service, which serves students with disabilities on campus, were also interviewed regarding how prepared the students were for college work and what factors that promote college success should be included in adequate transition plans. The study investigated the adequacy and “fit” of transition planning as an effective means of preparing students with disabilities for the reality of postsecondary education. Knowledge gained from this study could assist public school special educators to develop appropriate ITPs and inform practice in the field of secondary special education in areas such as curriculum, collaboration with service agencies, and assessment of transition service needs.