As educators, one of our most important goals is to prepare students to become fully participating members of their communities. And for students with disabilities, the life skills education and training they acquire in school may be the only resources they receive to help them transition from being students to life as independent and productive adults.
Still think providing life skills education for your students isn’t necessary? Consider the following U.S. national statistics.
- 72% of individuals with disabilities are unemployed (Butterworth et al., 2011).
- More than one-third of people living in poverty in the U.S. (39%) are individuals with disabilities (U.S. Census, 2010).
- Overall, persons with disabilities are far more likely than nondisabled persons to live in poverty (26% compared to 9%) (National Organization on Disability & Harris, 2004).
- Of employed young individuals with disabilities who are post-high school for four years or less, more than half (54%) earn less than $5,000 per year. And only 11% earn $25,000 or more per year. (Newman et al., 2009).
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) states that schools must provide specific transition plans for students with disabilities, which must be in place by age 16 as part of the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Among the most successful secondary school transition programs are those that implement a comprehensive approach that includes planning, curriculum and assessments and employment resources to help students with disabilities transition into the work force.
The most widely used transition curriculum in the United States is CEC’s “Life Centered Education (LCE), which helps schools comply with IDEA by providing the most in-depth and comprehensive life skills curriculum on the market 94 different life skills and competencies, with differentiated lesson plans and objectives for each one.
CEC also offers publications and articles about transition planning and programs, instructional strategies, research and current issues on transition.