Hersher Institute: Module on Ethical Reasoning in Developmental Disabilities

Young Adult Case: Learning Objectives

1. Recognize that the transition to post- secondary life for a person with a developmental disability is a complex issue.
2. Understand IDEA and the transition process for young adults with developmental disabilities.
3. Identify some of the complex factors, as well as the ethical considerations involved in transitions for young persons with developmental disabilities.
4. Identify the indicators of a successful transition for persons with disabilities.

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Guiding Questions


1. What is the federal law that ensures young adults with developmental disabilities have access to ‘transition services’? What are ‘transition services’? What is a ‘transition team’? What might be included in a ‘transition plan’? What are postsecondary outcome goals? Are OT, PT and SLP a member of the transition team, and how might we contribute/influence the postsecondary outcome goals?
2. Are there any other laws that support transition planning and services for young adults, as they transition out of school? What is the ‘Cradle to College and Career’ initiative, and is it available in all states? What makes this initiative different from other approaches to transition planning?
3. Who pays for transitions services? What financial resources are available following a post-secondary transition?
4. What happens to persons with developmental disabilities, after the age of 21 years? What data can you find about transition outcomes for persons with developmental disabilities? Are there any statistics in relation to paid work opportunities, and independent living situations for persons with DD after 21? Are there any statistics on persons with developmental disabilities going to college, and if so, what might ‘going to college’ look like for a person with a developmental disability?
5. How important are the concepts of ‘self-determination’, ‘inclusion’, ‘community participation’, and ‘quality of life’ in transition planning? As school based related service practitioners, what should we be including in our assessments of persons with development disabilities, when developing effective and meaningful transition plans? How important is it to consider the parents perspective as we assess and plan?
6. We know that outcome-oriented, student-centered planning and services based on collaborative teaming contributes to success in transition. What about interagency teamwork? In the case of John, list kind of agencies/information/resources that OT, PT and SLP might want to examine? What information about options for John might you be able to bring to the meeting that would support the transition planning process?
7. Identify the ethical issue/ethical distress inherent in the case of John?
8. Identify all the possible stakeholders in this case? What do you think are each of the individuals’ perspectives, beliefs and assumptions about John, and possible courses of action?
9. Separate facts (from your background research questions above) from assumptions.
10. The teacher wants John to finish his formal education at High School. What might be her reasons for this? What might be some of the possible consequences of this action, should the team agree?
11. What alternate course of action/actions could be considered and included in a plan for John? What might be the consequences of each alternative? Prepare a list of possible options for John, as if you are getting ready for the IEP meeting.
12. Considering your professional Code of Ethics, your knowledge of ethics, and your background knowledge of the needs of persons with developmental disability, choose one course of action that you believe is most important for consideration by the team, that you would ethically defend as being the ‘right and best’ course of action for John. Summarize your justification.

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