142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Service Provider'sService Provider's Perspectives on Barriers and Facilitators to the School-Community Transition among Youth with Disabilities

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 11:10 AM - 11:30 AM

Ashley Walker, PhD, CHES , Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
Moya Alfonso, MSPH, PhD , Jiann Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
Gavin Colquitt, Ed.D., CAPE, CSCS , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
Joseph Telfair, DrPH, MSW, MPH , Dept of Community Health, Dept of Environmental Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
Akrati Gupta, BDS, MPH , Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
Background: Schools are required to provide students with disabilities a free and appropriate education. At the age of 22, youth with disabilities must transition out of the school system into their community.  The purpose of this study was to explore service provider’s perspectives of transition in rural and urban communities in Georgia. Methods: Twenty in-depth interviews (N=11 urban; N=9 rural) were conducted with organizational representatives who provide disability services.  Two researchers coded the data until 100% consensus was reached.  Convergence and divergence across rural and urban perspectives were examined.  Major themes were identified, and illustrative quotes selected. Results: Whereas transition into the school system is easy, transition out is challenging.  Service providers suggested schools begin the process too late, resulting in youth being faced with “nothing to do” and “nowhere to go,” especially those who live in rural communities.  Many youth with disabilities are unsuccessful in gaining employment due to a lack of social skills – despite teachers’ instructional efforts. Overall, the main barrier to effective transition is a cycle of dependence that is created by government and school interaction with families and mediated by changing policy and lack of information.  Conclusion: Schools provide an important support system that ends with transition.  Discussions with youth and families about transition must start earlier (e.g., middle school), with additional focus needed on health and social services.  Future research should investigate ways to enhance social skills required for future employment.  Finally, schools should partner with service providers to facilitate parents’ transition.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the school to community transition process among youth with disabilities. Identify system level barriers to successful transition among youth with disabilities and their families. Identify strategies for addressing system level barriers to the successful transition from school to community.

Keyword(s): Disabilities, School-Based Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am CHES certified and have worked in the field of community health for 10 years. My research interest include social determinants of health and health disparities among child/adolescent health. I have conducted several needs assessment projects and have expertise in community based research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.