Graduation Date

5-2014

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell, Ph.D.

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

Abstract

As a part of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP), special education teachers work along with their student with special needs and their parent(s)/guardian(s) to create and implement Individualized Transition Plans (ITP) to assist the student with their transition to the post-school environment. As mandated by Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), ITPs are a component of the IEP for students 16 years old and over, who are eligible for special education services. Many special education teachers start the process at 14 years of age to better serve the student. At the non-public school setting of this study, it is considered best practice to do so. The problem is that assessments concerning transition to post-school environments do not appear to be geared towards students with moderate disabilities or to be readily available. The purpose of this study is to create a new assessment and present the findings of this assessment. Literary sources stressed the importance of an inclusive transition assessment, but gave little information concerning the questions. A few articles referenced the Transition Planning Inventory (TPI) assessment which addresses nine domains of transition and will provide information pertaining to the student’s strengths and areas of need. However, from my own experience, this questionnaire is generalized and the moderate special needs population does not understand many of the questions. The authors described the importance of multidisciplinary approach, between the teacher/specialist(s), parent(s)/guardian(s), and student. This assists in the creation of the ITP that is based on the strengths and needs of the individual student. In most cases the creation and implementation of the transition assessment was designed by the special education teacher or specialist based on informal observation or was simply provided by the school district. This was a qualitative study using a pre-created assessment. The assessment was used to gather data pertaining to effective individual transition plans for students with moderate disabilities ages 14+ years of age.

In this study all of the student participants were students in special education with moderate disabilities. The four students and their parent(s)/guardian(s) were interviewed to assess the present levels of the students in regards to their preparation for the transition to the post-school environment. This survey focused on daily living, functional skills, behavior, and general ideas concerning the post-school environment. The survey that was created will help to guide the ITPs of each of the students. Further collaboration between the teacher and the specialist(s) and therapist(s) is advised to create a more comprehensive list of questions for the individual student and the parent(s)/guardian(s) to assist in the transition process.

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