The forgotten people : the transition from school to post-school provision for young adults with profound physical and intellectual disabilities
Using a transactional model of disability as a tool of research, this study explores the transition period from school to post-school provision for young adults with profound physical and intellectual disabilities and their family carers from their perspective. The views of the young people themselves are indirectly obtained through their family carers as the young people have severe communication impairments. The study adopts a case study approach and uses an emergent design. Data is gathered by interviewing the family carers individually in order to investigate their experiences of the Future Needs Assessment process, the transition period and the provision of post-school placements. This data is then used to devise an interview guide for a focus group discussion, consisting of the family carers and professionals involved with the transition stage, to explore ways of overcoming the difficulties encountered by the young people and their families. Finally, as the data suggested that there is little or no post-school placements and services for this group of young people, the study used the nominal group technique to suggest criteria for good quality provision and services. To set the study in context, national and local documents, concerned with learning disabilities and the transition period, are analysed. In addition, the underlying assumptions of both the family carers and the professionals involved in the study about the nature of impairment and disability are explored. The study concludes that services are failing to meet the needs of these young adults and that they are being socially excluded from society, despite the philosophy of social inclusion espoused in recent legislation. It maintains that if change is to occur society needs to have a better understanding of people with profound physical and intellectual disabilities and the positive contribution they bring to society.