Description of Transition to Employment for Students with Visual Impairments: Components for Success
Abstract: Introduction: The study presented here examined rehabilitation providers' beliefs about services and service delivery strategies that are successful in facilitating the transition from school to competitive employment for youths who are blind or have low vision. Methods: Five focus groups were conducted, two with rehabilitation state agency personnel and three with members of professional organizations at their annual conferences. A protocol with four queries about transition services generated data for a content analysis by a team of three researchers. Results: The participants identified transition services before age 16, communication among service providers and families, assessment, and the development of specific skills as important factors in facilitating the transition to competitive employment. Parental involvement was also identified as a positive factor in the transition and career planning. Discussion: Transition services are not routinely provided before age 16, thus hindering the development of skills and careers. Improved communication among service providers and parents can promote advocacy and the successful transition to work. The qualitative research strategies used in the study did not generate results that can be generalized to other populations or settings or that can be used to evaluate outcomes. The results can be assessed for transferability and to understand the transition process. Implications for practitioners: Requiring specific documentation of collaboration between parents and service providers may increase communication among the stakeholders. Increased communication may lead to students' participation in transition-to-work activities at an earlier age, thus promoting successful transitions.