||Youth with disabilities who come from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds have markedly poorer adult life transition outcomes compared to White youth with disabilities. This article explores the literature on transition outcomes of youth with disabilities who are White, Hispanic, and African American and argues that high numbers of CLD youth with disabilities are likely to be on the caseloads of transition services personnel now and in the future. Statistics from the U.S Census bureau are cited to substantiate this argument. Transition literature discussing challenges faced by CLD families and youth with disabilities is reviewed, along with practical and useful suggestions on how to engage in more culturally responsive transition assessment, planning, and educational programming with this unique population.
||The transition services language requirements of IDEA 2004 focus on promoting transition from school to a quality adult life for youth with disabilities beginning at age 16, in outcomes such as continuing education and training, employment, community adjustment, and independent living. The law states that transition should (1) be based on the student’s interests, preferences, and needs, (2) include written, measureable transition goals on the student’s IEP, and
(3) identify needed transition services, supports, agencies, and/or resources to help the youth with a disability achieve their transition goals. Self-determination and self-advocacy by youth with disabilities are implied
in IDEA 2004 regulations and frequently cited as best practices in transition literature (Landmark, Ju, & Zhang, 2010). Yet, self-determination and self-advocacy are not necessarily valued and encouraged in children, with or without disabilities, in many world cultures. A large body of literature exists discussing (1) the characteristics, values, and beliefs of families of children with disabilities who are from culturally and linguistically diverse families, (2) CLD families’ experiences with special education and transition personnel in discussing their children’s futures, and (3) how to interact with CLD families and youth with disabilities in more culturally responsive ways.
This manuscript reviewed existing CLD literature and offered information and examples of how special education and transition personnel can apply this to transition assessment, planning, and education programming with CLD families and youth with disabilities. It is hoped that this will lead to improved practice in the field and greater satisfaction from CLD families of youth with disabilities when engaged in the transition process with professionals responsible
for implementing the transition service requirements of IDEA 2004.