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j. 1. E. Who are youth with disabilities and students with disabilities, including, as appropriate, their need for pre-employment transition services or other transition services.

Current Narrative:

Findings from the 2017 CSNA indicate that Alabama’s Youth with Disabilities are affected by disproportionately high dropout rates, markedly lower rates of enrollment and completion of postsecondary education, and significantly higher rates of unemployment or underemployment. These observations are borne out by data from the Alabama Department of Education, the Census Bureau, as well as ADRS’s own program statistics and survey research. Recently published findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study demonstrated that Youth with an Individualized Education Plan are more likely than their peers to be socioeconomically disadvantaged, experience difficulty completing typical tasks independently, and find themselves the object of bullying. Youth with an IEP were found to be suspended at higher rates and to lag their peers in planning and taking steps to obtain postsecondary education and jobs (Lipscomb et al., 2017). Furthermore, Youth with autism, deaf-blindness, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, and orthopedic impairments appear to be at highest risk for challenges making a successful transition from high school.

The problems and disadvantages described above may be reframed in terms of rehabilitation service needs. For Youth and Students with Disabilities to achieve their maximum potential, rehabilitation services should be made available that: a.)support optimal secondary education outcomes, b.) provide early exposure to a range of high quality career and higher education information, c.) create early opportunities for work based learning in competitive, integrated environments, d.) support the development of healthy self-esteem, self-advocacy, and self- determination, e.) promote attainment of in-demand skills and credentials. Data reviewed in this CSNA suggest that Youth and Students whose disabilities present the greatest functional limitations require the same set of services, yet the means of service delivery needed by these individuals is often more intensive and individualized. This holds true for Youth and Students with Disabilities affected by poverty, a limited social support network, and/or involvement in the juvenile justice system.