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Monday, February 5, 2024

Transition Planning and College

 In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the growing number of college students on the autism spectrum

Wei, Xin & Wagner, Mary & Hudson, Laura & Yu, Jennifer & Javitz, Harold. (2015). The Effect of Transition Planning Participation and Goal-Setting on College Enrollment Among Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorders. Remedial and Special Education. 37. 10.1177/0741932515581495. 

This study used propensity score techniques to assess the relationship between transition planning participation and goal-setting and college enrollment among youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Using data from Waves 1 through 5 of the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, this study found that 2- or 4-year college enrollment rates were significantly higher among youth with ASDs who participated in transition planning and those who had a primary transition goal of college enrollment. Educational implications are discussed.

From the article:

Transition planning begun early in high school provides the context within which students with disabilities can articulate their post–high school goals and work with parents, school staff, and others to chart a course toward them. The transition plan itself is required by law to specify the transition services needed to assist students in achieving their goals (IDEA Partnership, 2004). This study suggests that participation in transition planning is a valuable opportunity to intervene to improve postsecondary education outcomes for secondary school students with ASDs. However, there is a marked contrast between the large percentage of youth with ASDs who expect to attend a postsecondary institution (84.40%) and the low percentage who have postsecondary education goals included in the transition plan (24.20%; Bhandari & Wagner, 2006; Wagner et al., 2007). This emphasizes the urgent need to effectively engage youth in the transition planning process so that their interests and desires are reflected in their plans. This study finds that specifying a primary goal related to college attendance in transition plans also can effectively boost the odds of attending college by 564% (OR = 6.64, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [1.89, 29.16]) for youth with ASDs in the population as shown in Table 3.
Postsecondary education benefits youth with disabilities by increasing their potential to become self-reliant, tax-paying, and civically engaged citizens. Over the last decade, there has been an expansion of opportunities in higher education for individuals with disabilities and of their full inclusion in the college classroom. There are reports that as many as 200 college and university programs across the country actively support students with disabilities in their academic programs, career development, and campus life (Blalock, 2014; Grigal & Hart, 2010). One of the founding concepts of “inclusive postsecondary education” is to embed individuals with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual disabilities, within normative pathways to the maximum extent possible (Uditsky & Hughson, 2012). Similar to students without disabilities, educators should explore college as a viable option with youth and parents and begin to prepare students with ASDs for college at the start of the transition planning process. Based on a partnership between educators and a youth’s family, studentfocused planning should enable student participation in decision making and goal-setting, particularly if the student expresses goals related to postsecondary education. The process should support high school coursework based on students’ goals and interests, self-evaluation of their progress in meeting their goals, and development of selfdetermination and other skills to achieve goals (Kohler, 1993, 1996, 1998; Kohler & Field, 2003)