What are the challenges that teachers might face when explaining the critical need for transitional services for students with disabilities?
Transitional services for students with disabilities are implemented for students with special needs after they leave high school. This is to help these students get the skills that may (when applicable) render them capable to live the closest possible to an independent life.
Indicator 13 requires that students get services throughout high school when they turn 16. Indicator 14 involves job skills, life skills and independent planning for when students leave high school.
The current challenges involve policy making, enforcement, curriculum planning, teacher training and, in the end, the student may also be a challenge to think about.
First, the biggest challenge is self-determination instruction (Wood & Test, 2001). These skills gear the sped student to initiate the process of learning, and to become motivated to do things by himself. The problem is that if a good curriculum and teacher training are not in place, it would be counterproductive to the student, ultimately causing chaos. A teacher suggesting transition services must make sure that these skills are evaluated.
A second challenge facing teachers with transitional services is remembering that containment is no longer a choice except for very severe cases. Mainstreaming and co-teaching with sped teachers is the current trend; one which is cost effective and professionally enriching. The curriculum must include exposure to general education environments where sped students can apply their independent skills.
Parental inclusion is a huge challenge. Parents of students with disabilities are also living through the disability along with their child. Sometimes frustration, dysfunctional environments, or bad parent skills may lead parents to remove their children from the school serving the child and attempt home schooling. A teacher facing this challenge must request that a policy is in place to quantify drop out rates and make parents accountable.
Quality indicators are perhaps the most important factors and challenges. How can a teacher recommend transitional services if they have not proven to be effective? Teachers must keep statistical data that demonstrates growth as well as qualitative data that shows that the services are worth having.