Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 12-31-2016

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Linda Mallinson, EdD

Committee Member

Alice Lindsay, EdD


Special Education, Disadvantaged Youth, Economically Disadvantaged


Independent Living Transition Assistance for Young Adults Who Have Special Needs. Rhonda L. Russell, 2016: Applied Dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Abraham S. Fischler College of Education. Keywords: special education, disadvantaged youth, economically disadvantaged

This research focused on young adults who have disabilities and their transition and career planning for post-secondary life. The study sought to identify best practices in transition planning, transition planning services, and to determine the types of resources and support needed by young adults who have disabilities.

For youth who have disabilities, the transition to adulthood is extremely challenging. Policies, systems, and services tend to be uncoordinated or fragmented, and youth who have disabilities and their families lack the information needed to navigate the transition successfully, which limits opportunities for full participation in adult life.

It was concluded from the study results that transitioning from secondary education programs to post-secondary education or training programs and employment is most aided by (a) positive support from family, (b) the introduction of transition services early in the young adults’ secondary education experience, and (c) young adults availing themselves of services provided by disability service agencies such as job skill development, self-advocacy training, independent living, etc. Additionally, it was concluded from the study results that maintaining employment is as equally challenging as is obtaining employment. Interview respondents reported facing challenges such as discrimination and compromised privacy. Impediments to transition included low self- esteem, independence discouraged by family members, limited transportation, access to services, and limited knowledge about available services. Recommendations to expand the use of rehabilitation and employment services included interagency collaboration and innovative marketing approaches.

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