The Importance Of Family Support For People With Disabilities

Many parents still feel they are doing this alone and in the dark and struggle with finding relevant information on the internet” – Association of Children with Disabilities Australia.

Many young people with disability are leaving school with no plans for life post school and no links with any education, employment, or activities outside the home. This results in young people remaining isolated in their homes, often resulting in entrenched social exclusion, dependency and isolation.

Families have reported negative outcomes stemming from ineffective transition programs, jeopardising family quality of life. The loss of support provided in the school years is a major issue reported by parents, particularly in regards to the perception that support is abruptly “cut-off” after schooling. Though parental experiences vary, many parents report needing to make major lifestyle changes and adjustments, which often impact on their ability to continue their own employment. Some parents also report considerable personal sadness and distress due to their children not being able to reach their full potential and achieve post school goals.

Overall, the research shows that young people with disability are underrepresented in the workforce, presented with limited choice and opportunity and struggle to maintain employment. This results in negative emotional and physical experiences for young people with disability and their families. On the basis of current research it is clear that significant change to the supports in place for the post school period of transition for young people with disability is needed.

The importance of individualised post school transition planning, which is both person-centred and family-centred, is clearly identified within research. This approach has been found to be empowering, strengths-based and motivating, thus increasing self-determination. Transition programs that include the active involvement of young people and their families have been found to achieve desired post school outcomes and to have overall positive outcomes related to quality of life.

Research has also explored the limiting curricula decisions often implemented by secondary schools to teach to students with disability whereby academic learning is replaced with a life skills focus. Though aspects of life skills training are inked to positive outcomes, parents have indicated that focusing solely on life skills training is insufficient in preparing young people for post school life. It is therefore stressed that schools need to extend beyond existing life skills curricula and allow for less limiting and more challenging and meaningful learning experiences through genuinely inclusive education, including experiential learning in work experience and/or vocational training.

Leaving School is fraught with uncertainty both for school leavers with disabilities and their families and is a time of great stress and anxiety. Although students and their families, educators, and service providers are expected to collaborate during the post school transition process, all too often, this collaboration does not occur, leaving school leavers and their families struggling to access much needed supports, thus,this not only diminishes the young adult’s quality of life, but also the quality of life of the whole family.

Knowledge is power!

Subscribe now and get instant access to our entire library and all future updates!

Send Us A Message

Quick Contact

Quick Contact