Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Thoma, C.A., Agran, M., & Scott, L.A. (2016). Transition to adult life for students who are Black and have disabilities: What do we know and what do we need to know?. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 45 (2), 149–158.
Title:  Transition to adult life for students who are Black and have disabilities: What do we know and what do we need to know?
Authors:  Thoma, C.A., Agran, M., & Scott, L.A.
Year:  2016
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Publisher:  IOS Press
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported

Structured abstract:

Background:  Although there is considerable research that has identified effective strategies to support the transition from school to adult life for young adults with disabilities, post-school outcomes for culturally linguistically or economically diverse (CLED) students with disabilities, particularly students who are Black and have disabilities, remain abysmal.
Purpose:  This article reviews the literature on transition practices for students who are Black and have disabilities to determine what is known about their unique challenges, as well as what can be done to improve their postschool outcomes.
Data collection and analysis:  A search of PsychoINFO, ERIC, and Academic Search Complete databases was conducted to identify studies and articles published between January 1990 and January 2013 that explored transition practices and their impacts on improving the post-school outcomes of students who are Black and have disabilities. The year 1990 was chosen as it was the first year that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA; PL 101–476) mandated transition planning and services for all youth with disabilities. Search terms included: transition, special education, self-determination, cultural diversity, African American, and Black. Searches were conducted using all possible combinations and sequences of these terms. In addition to the electronic databases, the reference lists of included articles were reviewed to identify potentially relevant research.
Findings:  Of the six articles, two used quantitative methods (Geenen, Powers, & Lopez-Vasquez, 2001; Hasnain & Balcazar, 2009), one used qualitative (Goff,Martin, & Thomas, 2007), and the other three used mixed methods (Geenen et al., 2003; Landmark, Zhang, & Montoya, 2007; Leake, Burgstahler, & Izzo, 2011). None of the six articles involved the investigation of a specific intervention designed to improve transition outcomes; rather, they were focused on describing or defining current practice. Two studies included youth with disabilities as participants, seeking their perspectives about factors that impact their transition goals and outcomes (Goff et al., 2007; Leake et al., 2011), while three studies included parents and/or special educators as participants (Geenen et al., 2001, 2003; Landmark et al., 2007). The sixth study was a secondary analysis of data collected from the NHIS-D longitudinal study to determine predictors of community-based versus facility-based employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities (Hasnain & Balcazar, 2009).
Conclusions:  As the postschool outcomes for this group of youth students who are Black and have disabilities continues to be abysmal, this review of the literature revealed that there is a need to conduct research to further identify barriers and effective practices needed to overcome them. Implications for practice as well as further research are discussed.

Populations served:  Culturally diverse populations (e.g., African Americans, Native Americans, and non-English speaking populations)