Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Professional Characteristics That Impact Perceptions of Successful Transition Collaboration

Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Professional Characteristics That Impact Perceptions of Successful Transition Collaboration

Article excerpt

Collaborative teaming models are effectively utilized across various fields--in both the private and in the public sectors. In the field of education, interagency collaboration has contributed to better post-school outcomes for students with disabilities transitioning to postsecondary life. The present study sought to identify specific characteristics that influence perceptions of successful interagency transition collaboration at the local community level. Specifically, this study examined if transition team members' experience or job role effected perceptions of collaboration. During the 2014 and 2015 school calendar years, surveys were disseminated to 271 local community transition team members in one southeastern state. General demographics, including work experience and characteristics, perceptions of a statewide interagency collaboration initiative, as well as the Transition Collaboration Survey were completed and analyzed using a multivariate analysis. Significant post hoc tests revealed that that teachers did not demonstrate the positive components of successful collaboration, as compared to vocational rehabilitation transition coordinators. Additionally, time spent on district team had an effect on the perception of overall collaboration, as those with one or more year of experience on the district team accumulated more knowledge of transition planning and services. Implications of the study are also presented and discussed.

Individuals with disabilities continue to face challenges in obtaining positive adult life outcomes as they exit high school. In fact, students with disabilities lag behind their peers without disabilities in numerous areas (e.g., employment, postsecondary education enrollment and completion, independent living) (Mazzotti et al., 2016; Mazzotti & Plotner, 2014; Wagner, Newman, Camento, & Levine, 2005). As a result of these poor outcomes, the attention to improving transiton programming, and ultimately student preparation, has intensified (Cimera, Burgess, & Bedesa, 2014). However, despite the multitude of legislative mandates, research and funding aimed at the improvement of secondary transition service delivery, it is clear that additional consideration and work is in order. With the ever-changing needs of students, the plethora of service providers who work with transition-age youth with disabilities and the poor post-school outcomes associated with this population, a focus on collaborative service delivery becomes more apparent (Riesen, Morgan, Schultz, & Kumpferman, 2014).

High-quality evidence correlates interagency collaboration with positive post-school outcomes for students with disabilities and has been identified as a critical practice in secondary transition for rehabilitation counselors (Test & Cease-Cook, 2012). If collaboration between rehabilitation professionals, educators, and related service providers is a process that yields better outcomes for students with disabilities, we must evaluate the degree to which we combine resources and work together to achieve our mutual goals (Trach 2012). Working together towards a common goal is a theme that is applicable across many fields. Collaboration allows entities to accomplish tasks and attain goals that would have been out of reach by acting independently (Woodland & Hutton, 2012). While the importance of interagency collaboration in secondary transition has been stressed in the literature (Gajda, 2014; Johnson, McLaughlin, & Christensen, 1982; Johnson, Zorn, Tarn, Lamontagne, & Johnson, 2003; Noonan et al., 2008), various barriers exist that prohibit high quality collaboration.

In their 2003 study, Johnson et al. sought to identify the factors that contribute to both the success and failure of interagency collaboration, identifying specific problems that are likely to occur during collaboration, as well as potential solutions to those problems. While this research is rooted in early intervention, the principles of collaboration are applicable to every stage of the educational process. …

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