Young adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who leave high school have limited options in adulthood. Their rates of competitive employment in inclusive community settings is very low compared to their counterparts without disabilities. Involvement in postsecondary education and independent, community living is likewise limited. They need teams of trained professionals representing relevant disciplines who work together to support the student along college, career, and community pathways. Not only should special educators (SPED) be trained, but career technical education (CTE) professionals should be jointly trained in how to collaborate effectively and provide well-coordinated services. The purpose of this research was to explore the effects of joint training involving both CTE and SPED professionals on their knowledge and attitudes regarding collaboration in serving students with disabilities in transition from high school to adulthood. Researchers evaluated pre- and post-measures of a joint training group (CTE plus SPED participants) and a control group. Results demonstrated increased knowledge of joint training group participants and improved attitudes about collaboration in comparison to control group participants. Qualitative analysis yielded four themes: (a) barriers to collaboration, (b) the important role of CTE, (c) the need for increased collaboration, and (d) the need to involve administrators and guidance counselors in collaborative efforts alongside SPED and CTE teachers. Authors discuss implications of results to improve collaboration.

Plain Language Summary

Young adults with disabilities who leave high school and enter adulthood often have challenges. They may be unable to find a job or go to college. Special education teachers may help. Also, vocational education teachers may help. Unfortunately, special education and vocational education teachers do not often work together. This study looked at training special education and vocational education teachers to work together.

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