To ensure that students make a successful transition from school to adult life

Research at ICI identifies ways to prepare students with disabilities for success after school

The transition from high school to adult life is a critical milestone for everyone. For youth with disabilities and their families this is a particularly challenging time, one that requires careful planning. The ultimate goal of the transition process is to ensure that students with disabilities graduate from high school and possess the knowledge and skills essential to achieve their fullest potential. ‘Transition’ is the term for this process, whereby students, family members, educators and outside community agency professionals work toward the goal of planning for a student's school and post-school needs.

David R Johnson photo David R. Johnson

ICI Director

The amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act required, as part of the Individualized Education Program process for a child who is entitled to transition services, that “appropriate, measurable, postsecondary goals be developed.” This means that such goals are based on individual student’s strengths, needs, interests and preferences; and on age-appropriate assessments relating to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills.

Photo of David R Johnson presenting to a group of people

Behind the scenes, interagency collaboration is often cited as one of the most important means by which students with disabilities achieve successful post-school outcomes like accessing inclusive postsecondary education, meaningful employment and community-living opportunities. Involvoing agencies responsible for providing or paying for post-school services reflect our system’s value of long-term, person-centered planning, service collaboration and shared responsibility.

Image of interlocking puzzle pieces

Over a 40 year career, Johnson has been steadfastly devoted to conducting research and developing strategies that help students with disabilities effectively prepare for and make a successful transition from school to adult life. He has traveled to virtually every state, consulting with agency and community service leaders to identify real-world solutions. He has managed several large-scale technical assistance and dissemination programs and been involved in national research focused on these issues.

“Achieving greater levels of interagency collaboration remains one of the biggest challenges to address the post-school needs of young adults with disabilities.”

While progress has been made in improving school and post- school outcomes of youth with disabilities, Johnson believes much collaborative work remains to ensure that youth with disabilities achieve the economic, personal and social opportunities they deserve.

Contact Information

Institute on Community Integration

102 Pattee Hall, 150 Pillsbury Dr SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-624-6300 | F: 612-624-9344

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