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Their Time Has Come

Their Time Has Come: Youth with Disabilities on the Cusp of Adulthood

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 204
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  • Book Info
    Their Time Has Come
    Book Description:

    The lives of youth with disabilities have changed radically in the past fifty years. Youth who are coming of age right now are the first generation to receive educational services throughout childhood and adolescence. Disability policies have opened up opportunities to youth, and they have responded by getting higher levels of education than ever before. Yet many youth are being left behind, compared to their peers without disabilities. Youth with disabilities often still face major obstacles to independence.InTheir Time Has Come, Valerie Leiter argues that there are crucial missing links between federal disability policies and the lives of young people. Youth and their parents struggle to gather information about the resources that disability policies have created, and youth are not typically prepared to use their disability rights effectively. Her argument is based on thorough examination of federal disability policy and interviews with young people with disabilities, their parents, and rehabilitation professionals. Attention is given to the diversity of expectations, the resources available to them, and the impact of federal policy and public and private attitudes on their transition to adulthood.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5330-6
    Subjects: Law, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1 A Crisis Situation?
    (pp. 1-13)

    The current generation of youths with disabilities who are coming of age in the United States is the first to benefit from a wide range of disability programs and policies, from birth to adulthood. In the past fifty years, multiple federal disability policies have been created with the goal of increasing opportunities for individuals with disabilities. These changes in disability policy have been profound, as two profiles of high school students illustrate.

    An extroverted and articulate junior attending his local public high school, Frankie described himself as “a musical theater fanatic” who hoped to pursue his “dream in New York.”¹...

  5. 2 The Rules Have Changed
    (pp. 14-26)

    One hundred years ago, a child born with a disability would have been kept at home and would have received no public services, or would have been placed in a public institution surrounded by others labeled as having similar disabilities. Such children became the responsibility of the state in which they resided and often had little or no contact with their families. Parents who chose to keep their children at home bore the entire responsibility for their education and care. There was no middle ground (see Leiter 2004b).

    Physicians, social workers, and other professionals with whom parents came in contact...

  6. 3 Participation and Voice
    (pp. 27-50)

    In response to concerns about transition outcomes among youths with disabilities, Congress in 2004 added new requirements to the Individual Education Program (IEP) process through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This was an attempt to focus high school special education services on building skills and capabilities that would serve young people once they left school and entered adulthood, rather than simply addressing their educational needs within the high school context. These new requirements mandate that the IEP include “appropriate measurable postsecondary goals” and the “transition services … needed to assist the child in reaching those goals.”

    Congress also...

  7. 4 Making Their Own Maps
    (pp. 51-74)

    The youths in this study expressed desires about their future destinations, but the routes that they would take to achieve their goals were not always clear to them. Having a dream, a desired destination, was not enough. They needed direction. Few road maps took into account obstacles or complications associated with their disabilities that they might experience. The presence of a disability added another layer of complexity to planning for life after high school, although the thickness of that layer varied considerably depending upon the nature and severity of a youth’s disability. Unlike other youths, those with disabilities may also...

  8. 5 College, Rights, and Goodness of Fit
    (pp. 75-95)

    College is a well-traveled pathway between adolescence and adulthood. Over the past fifty years, more and more youths have entered college—as of 2006, 66 percent of recent high school completers did so (NCES 2008). Like their peers, youths with disabilities are increasingly likely to enroll in postsecondary education: their number rose by 17 percent between 1987 and 2003 (Wagner et al. 2005). Almost one in ten undergraduates currently report having a disability or a chronic condition.¹ Some of the rise in postsecondary participation among youths with disabilities may be attributed to disability civil rights legislation, namely Section 504 of...

  9. 6 The End of Entitlement
    (pp. 96-117)

    Two of the most important cultural markers of adulthood in the United States are turning eighteen and graduating from high school. For some youths with disabilities, leaving high school happens later as a result of federal special education legislation. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) allows some students to stay in special education until age twenty-two, subject to state law. Those whose disabilities are severe enough to make them eligible for adult services and make it difficult for them to obtain competitive employment may remain in high school until they “age out” of their entitlement to special education. (The...

  10. 7 (Im)permanent Markers of Adulthood
    (pp. 118-138)

    When do individuals become adults? One simple answer is when they turn eighteen, the legal age of majority in the United States. Eighteen-year-olds are allowed to vote, serve in the military, and make legal contracts. A more multifaceted answer is that individuals become adults when they take on adult roles, reaching particular social markers of adulthood, such as completing their schooling, getting a job, living independently, and forming their own families.¹ During the 1950s in the United States, these markers of adulthood were often achieved in an orderly fashion fairly early in adulthood. However, the boundary between adolescence and adulthood...

  11. 8 Missing Links
    (pp. 139-156)

    Today, the transition to adulthood is receiving a great deal of attention.¹ Yet if we look across the entire life course, that transition is only one of many. The transition from home to preschool has become a common experience. The transition from home or preschool to kindergarten. Depending on the school system, the transition to middle school or junior high school. Then high school, with various exits—dropping out, getting a certificate, getting a diploma, or aging out. That’s three to five transitions before youths reach adulthood, when many more follow. Why all the attention to the transition to adulthood...

    (pp. 157-166)
  13. NOTES
    (pp. 167-174)
    (pp. 175-184)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 185-190)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 191-192)