Title

Description and Service Innovation in Adolescent Transition within Kentucky State Agency Education Programs

Location

Room C

Start Time

18-10-2013 2:05 PM

End Time

18-10-2013 2:35 PM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

System-involved youth are at the highest risk of making unsuccessful post-secondary transitions (Stewart, 2013). In Kentucky, more than 14,000 students are educated annually in programs funded, or operated by state agencies. The purpose of both studies described here was to understand and guide transition planning to make future improvements to transitions of adolescents in state agency programs.

The Kentucky Youth at Risk in Transition Study was a mixed methods study that identified and described the understandings of student transitions in state agency education programs from the perspectives of youth and administrators. The study included 105 nontraditional education programs supervised by the Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children (KECSAC). Data collection included a survey administered to all KECSAC Program Administrators, focus group interviews with KECSAC Program Administrators, focus group interviews with KECSAC students, and individual interviews with KECSAC students. Survey data produced a description of a variety of key aspects of transition census data for KECSAC students. Qualitative data were analyzed using grounded theory. Results indicated that: transition is more narrowly defined within nontraditional schools; key strengths of transition practice are present in nontraditional schools; and coordination barriers within this inter-agency transition system are most apparent in students’ frequent inter-setting transitions between nontraditional and home schools. A surprising finding was that transition is atypically defined within the system: rather than long-term preparation for post-secondary aspirations, transition is defined as a successful exit from a current education placement.

The second study was the “Building Enhanced Services for Transition” Study. It was designed to generate improvements to transition planning and services in KECSAC programs. Participatory action research was used so that improvements to transition services would emerge directly from the priorities of those concerned, while grounded theory sought understanding of the emerging changes in services for state agency youth across five KECSAC programs (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2011; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Participants were comprised of twenty-nine education program administrators and staff members. Data collection occurred through semi-structured interviews, researcher reflections, research team meetings, and observations. There were six successive coding schemes throughout the study.

A primary finding of the study was the degree to which individual and structural stigmatization of state agency youth impedes successful transitions to adulthood. Stigma is primarily a function not of difference, but of structural inequalities. From an occupational justice perspective, these structural forces are underlying occupational determinants (Stadnyk, Townsend, & Wilcock, 2010). A broader view of stigma promotes movement beyond a deficit view of stigma, instead emphasizing wider forces, or occupational determinants, which reproduce structural inequalities (Link & Phelan, 2001) and negatively impact occupational performance. Understanding the operation of stigma in these students through the application of concepts from occupational justice and occupational science suggests ways in which this primary barrier might be disrupted and post-secondary outcomes for students at high risk of failure could be improved.

Key words: Adolescence, transition, stigma

References

Link, B. G. & Phelan, J. C. (2001). Conceptualizing stigma. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 363-385.

Minkler, M., & Wallerstein, N. (2011). Community-based participatory research for health: From process to outcomes (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass.

Stadnyk, R. L., Townsend, E. A., & Wilcock, A. A. (2010). Occupational justice. In C. H. Christiansen & E. A. Townsend, Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (pp. 329-358). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Stewart, D. (2013). Transitions to adulthood for youth with disabilities through an occupational therapy lens. Thorofare, NJ: Slack.

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative analysis: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park: Sage.

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Oct 18th, 2:05 PM Oct 18th, 2:35 PM

Description and Service Innovation in Adolescent Transition within Kentucky State Agency Education Programs

Room C

System-involved youth are at the highest risk of making unsuccessful post-secondary transitions (Stewart, 2013). In Kentucky, more than 14,000 students are educated annually in programs funded, or operated by state agencies. The purpose of both studies described here was to understand and guide transition planning to make future improvements to transitions of adolescents in state agency programs.

The Kentucky Youth at Risk in Transition Study was a mixed methods study that identified and described the understandings of student transitions in state agency education programs from the perspectives of youth and administrators. The study included 105 nontraditional education programs supervised by the Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children (KECSAC). Data collection included a survey administered to all KECSAC Program Administrators, focus group interviews with KECSAC Program Administrators, focus group interviews with KECSAC students, and individual interviews with KECSAC students. Survey data produced a description of a variety of key aspects of transition census data for KECSAC students. Qualitative data were analyzed using grounded theory. Results indicated that: transition is more narrowly defined within nontraditional schools; key strengths of transition practice are present in nontraditional schools; and coordination barriers within this inter-agency transition system are most apparent in students’ frequent inter-setting transitions between nontraditional and home schools. A surprising finding was that transition is atypically defined within the system: rather than long-term preparation for post-secondary aspirations, transition is defined as a successful exit from a current education placement.

The second study was the “Building Enhanced Services for Transition” Study. It was designed to generate improvements to transition planning and services in KECSAC programs. Participatory action research was used so that improvements to transition services would emerge directly from the priorities of those concerned, while grounded theory sought understanding of the emerging changes in services for state agency youth across five KECSAC programs (Minkler & Wallerstein, 2011; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Participants were comprised of twenty-nine education program administrators and staff members. Data collection occurred through semi-structured interviews, researcher reflections, research team meetings, and observations. There were six successive coding schemes throughout the study.

A primary finding of the study was the degree to which individual and structural stigmatization of state agency youth impedes successful transitions to adulthood. Stigma is primarily a function not of difference, but of structural inequalities. From an occupational justice perspective, these structural forces are underlying occupational determinants (Stadnyk, Townsend, & Wilcock, 2010). A broader view of stigma promotes movement beyond a deficit view of stigma, instead emphasizing wider forces, or occupational determinants, which reproduce structural inequalities (Link & Phelan, 2001) and negatively impact occupational performance. Understanding the operation of stigma in these students through the application of concepts from occupational justice and occupational science suggests ways in which this primary barrier might be disrupted and post-secondary outcomes for students at high risk of failure could be improved.

Key words: Adolescence, transition, stigma