March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, with a campaign coordinated by the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, the National Disability Rights Network, and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities to bring attention to inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all areas of community life, as well as the barriers they and their families face to fully participating in the community of their choice. The first two weeks of the campaign focus on education and employment. For young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the period where these two areas intersect is called transition.
Transition services and supports can be crucial as a young person moves from school to work or from secondary to postsecondary education. Here are just a few examples of transition services and supports studied by NIDILRR-funded researchers and others in the disability, rehabilitation, and education communities.
- Customized employment (CE) is “a process for individualizing the employment relationship between a job seeker and an employer in ways that meet the needs of both. It is based on a match between the unique strengths, needs, and interests of the job candidate with a disability, and the identified business needs of the employer or the self-employment business chosen by the candidate,“ according to the NIDILRR-funded Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project on Customized Employment. Learn more about how CE works with fact sheets, case studies, webcasts, and a training course from this center.
- Community service, Partnerships in Employment, and other emerging practices can give young people the tools they need to successfully transition to the next stage in their school/work life. These practices and more are detailed by the NIDILRR-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Advancing Employment for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ThinkWork).
- Vocational rehabilitation can support young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they transition to higher education. Learn more from the NIDILRR-funded RRTC on Vocational Rehabilitation Practices for Youth and Young Adults.
- Think College is dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They offer technical assistance, training, and resources to help schools identify best practices in higher education programs, guide states in supporting these schools, and support young people and their families in their pursuit of higher education. Think College maintains a database of higher education programs specifically for students with intellectual disabilities.
These are just a few examples of current research and development to support young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on their path to education and employment. Explore more transition-related projects currently funded by NIDILRR, as well as more resources from the grantees and elsewhere for your Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month celebrations.