Parental perspectives of students' strengths in transition planning
Smith, Diana J.
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The most recent revision of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) mandates that students’ strengths be considered in the transition planning process for students with disabilities; however, there is evidence that individuals’ strengths are not being utilized to support their transition to adulthood (Shogren & Plotner, 2012; Landmark & Zhang, 2012). Strengths refer to all of an individual’s assets, both personal and contextual, that improve that individual’s ability to function (Davis et al., 2007; McCammon, 2012). Parents have unique perspectives of their sons’ and daughters’ strengths (Carter, Brock, & Trainor, 2014) and have the potential to influence the transition planning process in a positive way. This study used qualitative methods to understand how parents describe their son or daughter’s strengths, both personal and contextual, in relation to transition planning. Findings indicated that parents identify equal amounts of personal and contextual strengths for their children. However, strengths were described as being context dependent; the trait or resource described as an asset in one aspect of transitioning to adult life was also described as a barrier to another aspect. These findings highlighted the value of including parents in the transition planning process and that students have many strengths available for consideration as they enter adult life.