Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Issues in Implementing Transition Program for Special Needs Students

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Issues in Implementing Transition Program for Special Needs Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study is to determine the challenges and barriers faced by the special education teachers in implementing transition program for special needs students in Malaysian secondary schools. The issues that will be discussed are obstacles to the success of planning, training and placing the special needs students in the real working environment from the teachers' perspective. The study found that these students posed attitude problems during training sessions, lacked commitment to attend training sessions and faced difficulties adjusting to working environment. Apart from that, the teachers agreed that finding workplaces for students with special needs to gain working experience outside the school and the employers' readiness to accept trainees with learning disabilities are two issues that are crucially in need to be dealt with wisely. Even though there are many issues in implementing the transition program, the teachers are still very dedicated not only in monitoring the students' progress but also in ensuring the well-being of the students at their working environment during internships.

Keywords: special needs students, transition, working experience

1. Introduction

Special needs students who are going to leave the formal educational system without any future plans seem to be the main concern for most parents. While other school peers will continue to pursue studies at post-secondary education or even venture into workforce, the special needs students might just end up at home, even though some of these students have basic learning skills and capable to be trained in acquiring some vocational skills. This scenario is also discussed by Lindstrom, Doren and Miesch (2011) as they claimed that these young adults often struggled with disability and other personal barriers, yet some of them can be transitioned into work force or postsecondary training.

Even though there are vocational education for special needs students in Malaysia, not all students have the opportunities to enroll in the program. In fact, there are three boarding vocational schools for special needs students in Malaysia. These schools are specially designed for the special needs students, with qualified teachers using adapted curriculum to suit the students' abilities and strengths to learn and acquire the skills needed. Only capable and qualified special needs students are offered to go to these boarding schools. Unfortunately, there are parents who are protective and refuse to let their children go as these schools are far from home. Besides that, there are also some local schools that provide vocational training for capable special needs students.

Even though the teachers for special needs students in secondary schools are usually aware of the transition program, but not all schools provide the opportunity for the students to be transitioned out to workplace after completing the training. The vocational training in schools only reflects the first part of the transition program; which is in giving knowledge and skills for the students to acquire. However, there are few internship placements for the students to gain working experience after they have finished the program. Consequently, the teachers' roles have become even more challenging as they have to cater not only to the special needs of the students to be trained but also finding willing employers to accept them for internship.

According to Shogren and Plotner (2012), a transition program is a coordinated set of activities for a special needs student, designed within an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to out-of-school activities. The special needs students are given the opportunity to be assisted in acquiring skills needed for gaining working experiences. These processes are crucial in giving the students guidelines to be successful in transition from school to real life after finishing their schooling years (Etscheidt, 2006). …

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