School leavers with multiple disabilities : an exploratory study of the issues and problems relating to the planning and provision of formal post-school services
This research is an exploratory study of the issues and problems encountered by Young People with multiple disabilities when they leave school and for whom formal post-school service provision is relevant within the Scottish setting. The research problem is tackled by a qualitative and an empirically grounded study with a central focus was on the way in which decisions about the nature and range of services are made and their potential for making a major impact on quality of life. From conception, the study was innovatory and it was necessary to combine methods of data collection and to analyse in ways that had previously not been used in the field. The design and methods are eclectic with an emphasis on in-depth case-studies. The research process began with the development of a functional classification used to define the sub-population. This was followed by an investigation of the structure and organisation of the Future Needs Assessment process which is central to the planning of formal post-school provision. together with Carer perspectives and opinions of the process. The next phase was to examine the nature and range of formal post-school service provision in relation to the issue of quality of life and in the meeting of developmental needs. Discussion then took place with the Young People and the Carers about their judgements of post-school provision and 'ideal' provision. The final phase developed recommendations on the practical application of, the research findings. The major research findings, derived from the fieldwork evidence. indicate that there is a radical change in emphasis in the transition from school to adult-based formal service provision which result in the limitation of services and of personal choice. There is a major disjunction in the quality of life experienced by the Young People. The Future Needs Assessment process fails to adequately plan for the transition to formal post-school provision which fails to meet individual personal and social development. The major recommendations, derived from the research, state that the Future Needs Assessment process must play a more effective role in identifying the post-school needs of the School-leavers to ensure that formal post-school provision and delivery planning is individually-centred and 'needs-led'. In addition, there should be greater choice of provision which follows the 'independent /enabling /empowering model and which will offer the School leaver the potential to experience a high quality of life.