What Happens After High School? A Review of Independent Living Practices to Support Youth with Disabilities Transitioning to Adult Life

What Happens After High School? A Review of Independent Living Practices to Support Youth with Disabilities Transitioning to Adult Life

Published: Sep 07, 2021
Publisher: Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, vol. 55, no. 2
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Associated Project

Minority Youth and Centers for Independent Living

Time frame: 2019–2024

Prepared for:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living

Authors

Mira Wang

Key Findings
  • We discovered a variety of practices Centers for Independent Living (CILs) might learn from or consider adopting to help youth with disabilities transition to adult life. However, the practices rarely focused on minority youth and usually had limited or no evidence about whether they improved IL outcomes.
  • The literature search found specific ways that CILs can implement the following practices:
    • Engage customers and other community organizations to provide youth transition services.
    • Promote safe and understanding environments for youth from underrepresented groups.
    • Create programs targeted for youth transition, such as intensive, multi-stage programs, programs promoting self-determination or self-advocacy skills, and college-based programs, among others. 

Background

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) can help out-of-school youth with disabilities. CIL services may be particularly important for minority youth with disabilities that face additional transition barriers.

Objective

This literature review documents existing practices that might aid CILs as they seek to help youth, including minority youth, with disabilities transition to adult life.

Methods

First, we conducted a literature search to identify practices that might help CILs assist youth with disabilities transition to independent living (IL) in early adult life. Then we examined various literature syntheses of postsecondary transition interventions with evidence of promise or efficacy for any IL-related outcome—regardless of whether the intervention targeted youth with disabilities.

Results

We discovered a variety of practices CILs might learn from or consider adopting to help youth with disabilities transition to adult life. However, the practices rarely focused on minority youth and usually had limited or no evidence about whether they improved IL outcomes.

Conclusions

The limitations of the evidence we found suggest the need to develop and test interventions that help transition age youth with disabilities—especially minority youth with disabilities—achieve their IL goals.

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