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Post Education for Adults with disabilities Term Paper


This paper is about the problems and barriers encountered by young adults with disabilities after they complete secondary school education. It examines the often confusing and staggering process linked to accessing services and support options by young adults with disabilities as they join postsecondary education and their impact on the young adults as they exit secondary schools.

The problems tackled in the paper include examples from historical case studies, for instance, a report by National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 conducted on young adults with disabilities aged between 19 to 23 years who had completed secondary education within the previous six years.

A macro and meso-level solution has been provided based on a conceptual model that addresses the barriers identified. It also highlights and discusses the current practice regarding synchronization and management of services and sustainability of students with disabilities.

Recommendations for further research and practice that refer to the disability problems are presented at the end of the paper with the purpose of enabling the interaction of services. A commentary conclusion has been provided to give the general stance.

Disability is a broad term that refers to a “non-normative” way of life and the “departure from that which is believed to be ideal”. It is a social term constructed from the undervaluing of “bodies that do not conform to the cultural standards”.

However, the concept of disability has been natured by language, institutions, politics and social cultural practices. People with disabilities have a myriad of conditions including physical, sensory, cognitive, psychiatric, and developmental or multiple conditions.

People are socialized to think and feel differently about disability and this usually affects life satisfaction and the quality of life of people with disabilities (Mackelprang &Salsgiver, 2009). For instance, the disabled have been discriminated against due to negative opinions, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions held against them.

People hold different assumptions and practices that promote unfair treatment of people with disabilities on basis of dissimilarities that are physical, behavioral or mental in nature.

The differences may either be apparent or assumed. Individuals with disabilities are perceived as violent, aggressive and destructive and hence viewed as a physical threat to the safety of people without disabilities.

In other instances, the perceptions may be over generalized and this may lead to such individuals being discounted or underrated, something which may be a cause for ambiguity, discomfort, interaction strain and stigma.

This essay demonstrates a comprehension of the principles of a diversity model approach to disability by critically analyzing the needs and problems associated with adults with disabilities in post education systems. A macro and meso-level solution based in disability theory has been developed in order to address the barriers and facilitate greater participation for persons with disabilities.

The access to and full involvement of disabled students in postsecondary education has been a key challenge. Postsecondary has been associated with increased earning potential for both young adults who continue with college education as well as with those who have not attained a degree, but the number of young adults with disabilities with access to postsecondary education is greatly diminishing.

A report by National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 conducted on young adults with disabilities who had completed secondary education for the last six years aged between 19 to 23 years revealed that about 55 percent of such individuals had continued on to postsecondary education after completion of high school as opposed to their same-age peers without disabilities whose representation in postsecondary school attendance was slightly higher with about 62 percent (Sanford et al., 2011,p. 14).

The same report revealed that about 39 percent of the young-disabled adults were less likely to be enrolled in postsecondary schools than their same-age peers (who had 62 percent representation). Young adults were more likely to have been enrolled in four-year colleges than were young adults with disabilities hence 37 percent versus 28 percent.

Conversely, the probability of young adults with disabilities being enrolled in community colleges and vocational schools was slightly higher compared to young adults in the general population.

During the time of interview, young adults with disabilities were less likely to be enrolled in postsecondary schools than were their counterparts in the general population, that is, 21 percent versus 41 percent (Sanford et al., 201, p. 15).

However, the tread was different in terms of enrollment in community colleges and vocational schools during the time of interviews, with the variations not differing significantly, that is, 10 percent for young adults with disabilities and 4 percent for their age-peers in the general population.

The overall postsecondary enrollment varied differently across disability categories. For instance, young adults who had visual and hearing impairments were more likely to be enrolled in postsecondary schools (71 percent) than were adults with autism (47 percent) (p.17).

The provision of better services and support for people of all backgrounds is increasingly becoming a critical issue of concern to human service professionals. Students with disabilities are finding it a very difficult and confusing task, if not astounding and overwhelming, accessing supports and services in postsecondary schools.

For instance, organizing for shipment to and from campus is baffling and very much complex: Will the means of transport be by public means? Will they drive or will they use Para transportation?

Does the school have a college transport system? If not, are the neighboring vocational rehabilitation agencies ready to offer support in terms of either a vehicle or a driver, or is the student entitled to medical transportation? (Hart & Zaft, 2011).

In order to come into terms with this nature of complexity, the methods of transportation require further analysis and application concerning eligibility standards. It may also call for registration with an external financial support agency, approval of the funding agency as the client and finally identification of the provider of transport in order to receive the service required.

The source of the service may have certain demands that, in turn, also need to be somehow registered. Students with disabilities therefore see these documentation as conflicting and repetitive, something that demotivates their transition into postsecondary education.

They have reported that steering the “red tape” may take long period of time since it is disempowering and offers different reactions and messages to the students (Hart & Zaft, 2011, p. 2).

Therefore, for them to be accepted by the agencies that have been mentioned above, the disabled students should have certain abilities, have a prospective future in their post secondary education, be registered and possibly be clients of the agency or a “sick person” with the right of having medical shipment and be unable to solely navigate the campus (Hart & Zaft, 2011, p. 2).

The last two decades have witnessed considerable federal and state resources being allocated and efforts enumerated to create “seamless” transitions especially for the disabled students (Hart & Zaft, 2011, p. 2). However, these efforts have not been seen to yield fruits as intended on the students with disabilities.

Studies have shown that about 27 percent of young adults with disabilities proceed with postsecondary education compared to a 66 percent fro those without disabilities (Hart & Zaft, 2011, p. 3). In the Unite States of America, for instance, students with more significant disabilities include those from diverse cultures.

Such ethnically and culturally diverse students receive less attention and disability-related services compared to majority of their peers. The demised access is as a result of ethnical and language differences, and lack of the knowledge towards the provided services and options.

Thus, unfortunately, people with disabilities are measured in life taking into account not only private but social aspects of life as well, not only in postsecondary education but also in community and work places.

There is growing evidence that the current service systems are serving as impediment to the creation of comprehensive and well coordinated state and local systems approach to serve young adults with disabilities in postsecondary education (Sanford et al., 2011).

However, there were created new state laws and policies that ae supposed to deal with the problems of the barriers linked to postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities.

A number of barriers to effective administration and synchronization of support options and services have also been found to develop individual barriers which all together combine to undermine the transition for disabled students who have complex needs and who may have admittance to multiple agencies.

They include a lack of resource mapping both at the state and local levels, failure to identify service gaps and the inability to address the service gaps, uncoordinated mechanisms for sharing information, lack of coordination for support services across agencies and few partnerships to set up interagency collaboration at both state and local levels.

In order to address the problems and barriers so as to facilitate greater participation for persons with disabilities in postsecondary education, an ideal macro and meso-level solution based on disability theory has been developed. This program if implemented will serve as a solution to improve education experiences, social and community involvement in postsecondary education for people with disabilities.

This program incorporates the use of a conceptual model in order to effectively manage and coordinate supports and services for individuals with disabilities in postsecondary options.

The programs of the created people with disabilities should be carefully ad properly worked out for them to be affective and organized especially for this or that individual in particular in order to reach the maximum success in the process. The conceptual model embodies the three elements.

The conceptual model is designed to bring about individual empowerment. In order to address the key barriers mentioned earlier, I will discuss a few theories that support the conceptual model. Teaming, for instance, is an important element in this model because it brings about the principles of shared decision making, empowerment and self determination.

The work of a team is to bring new ideas, process them and give an output (Hart & Zaft, 2011, p. 4). Information is shared and partnerships are created. Teaming brings change to communication, partnerships and organizational alignment at both macro and meso levels.

The implementation of services for young adults with disabilities needs an inclusive and open framework centered towards the “street level”, usually the meso level of an open system theory.

Macro programs for individuals with disabilities employ the residual theory whereby delivery of services occurs when individuals are unable to function. However effective support and delivery of services for people with disabilities cannot be dictated at either the micro level or the macro level but should rather be aligned at all heights of the social framework open system (Hart & Zaft, 2011, p.5).

The open systems theory is interdependent towards the environment whereby resources are imported from the environment, they are processed and the output given. Likewise, secondary schools should partner with post secondary schools to ensure delivery of an intervention.

The choice, control and individual-centered planning assert that a person has ownership of the planning process (Hart & Zaft, 2011, p.5). Here, individuals with disabilities should be allowed and supported by all means to make decisions.

In general, to provide effective management and synchronization of supports and services for young adults moving from secondary schools to postsecondary education, there is need to apply a social context theory together with an open system theory.

This encompasses the partnering of people at each level of systems, sharing of mechanisms of information at each level and mapping and aligning resources and service gaps identified. At the meso-level, there is need to mediate with the outside world.

There is need to recognize the macro-level agencies that provide support and control resources for the individuals with disabilities. Thus, it is worth noting that the conceptual model highlights the aspects regarding the aspect that concern collaboration, and information sharing.

Some of the emerging promising practices include institutions at state and local levels are applying partnerships and interagency cooperation. New laws have been implemented that standardize the language of supports and services and facilitate transition from secondary school to postsecondary school (Shapiro, 1993).

Rehabilitation counselors are quite important in all these problems under consideration and actively involved in the process of strategic planning regarding people, especially youths, to think and determine about the purposes of life and set goals of the people with disabilities, both in daily and social aspects of life.

It goes without saying that such step from the side of the helping organizations are quite important and work as a great support for such people. Bodies such as the Cooperative Agreement Group have been tasked with the identification of service gaps and the improvement of the services with intentions of addressing the gaps (Hart & Zaft, 2011,p. 14).

For effective provision of supports and services for individuals with disabilities at postsecondary education, the services should be flexible, individualized and compassionate for consumer choice and transformation. There is need to develop research strategies that bring about interagency partnerships.

There is a need to ensure that academic values can be achieved with proper and accessible standards. There is need to develop clear and consistent mechanisms for sharing information (Hart & Zaft, 2011, p. 21).

In a nutshell, in order to prepare young adults with disabilities for postsecondary education, the coordination of services and supports must be flexible, student centered and culturally and linguistically responsive in order to help the disabled individuals and their family members to supports and services required (Shapiro, 1993).


Hart, W., & Zaft. (2011). Comments From Peer Reviewers. Retrieved from

Mackelprang, R., & Salsgiver, R. (2009). Disability: A diversity model approach in human service practices. 2nd ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Shapiro, J. (1993). No pity: People with disabilities forging a new civil rights movement. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Sanford, C., Newman, L., Cameto, R., Knokey, A.M., Shaver, D. (2011, Sept.). The Post-High School Outcomes of Young Adults With Disabilities up to 6 Years After High School. Retrieved from

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Post Education for Adults with disabilities." April 6, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/post-education-for-adults-with-disabilities/.


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