Title

Examining Transition and Vocational Counseling Practices through the Lens of Emerging Adulthood

First Presenter's Institution

Auburn University

Second Presenter's Institution

Jill Meyer

Third Presenter's Institution

Auburn University

Fourth Presenter's Institution

Auburn University

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Poster Session (Harborside)

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

  1. The proposal relates to the Head and Heart strand in that it provides a construct that helps guide improvement in the provision of transition and post-secondary services for youth with disabilities and youth at-risk. Strategies that relate to Head include the implementation of work force exploration with follow along supports, career exploration, facilitation of self-determination for youth with disabilities and youth at-risk within the lens of emerging adulthood. This presentation also addresses the Heart because strategies are discussed that improve social skills such as providing supports for youth at-risk and with disabilities, motivational interviewing, and problem solving coping.

Brief Program Description

With the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, career readiness and post-secondary services have been expanded. The objective is to educate individuals in strategies to improve transition and post-secondary services within the lens of emerging adulthood. This presentation is appropriate for vocational rehabilitation counselors, teachers, or administrators who implement transition instruction or post-secondary services.

Summary

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014 has changed the roles of those providing transition and post-secondary services for youth. Vocational rehabilitation counselors and teachers have implemented services for youth who receive special education services, but now it as expanded to youth who are at-risk and have accommodations based on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. These services involve transition instruction to improve post-secondary outcomes which include work force exploration as well as supports for career readiness (WIOA, 2014).

To be effective in the provision of work exploration and career readiness for youth with disabilities and youth at-risk, one must consider the developmental stage of emerging adulthood (EA). During EA, individuals experience delays in attainment of adult roles and social expectations (Arnett, 2000). EA has five physiological constructs of a) self-exploration (e.g., identity development); b) uncertainty; c) self-focus; d) transition; and e) optimism. A key feature during this stage is “recentering” (Tanner & Arnett, 2011, p. 22). Recentering is the process of shifting from family dependence to individual autonomy and independence. This progression focuses on the shift from family dependence to individual autonomy and independence. Successful recentering hinges on the supports an individual receives, opportunities an individual has, and the choices the individual makes (Konstam, 2009). Understanding EA can improve one’s ability to implement services. In particular, youth of today place greater value on experiences and explorations than past generations. This means youth at-risk or with disabilities see the merit in adult roles, but hold different beliefs and place different values on those roles, in addition to the time-period in which transformation into those roles should take place (Hinton & Meyer, 2014). This presentation reviews each construct of the developmental stage of EA and outlines practical ways counselors, teachers, or administrators can meet current generational demands of todays’ youth who are at-risk or with disabilities, and the new legislative requirements for transition. Individuals will be given a cheat sheet of practices broken down into each characteristic of EA so it can be implemented in the future.

Evidence

Researchers show youth with and without disabilities have similar aspirations and there seem to be a number of commonalities for all youth in the transition to adulthood such as the need for social supports and vocational experiences (Stewart et al., 2013). Transition services provided through special education services have improved employment and living arrangements for youth with disabilities (Leiter & Waugh, 2009; Lindstrom, Doren, & Miesch, 2011). In fact some argue transition services provided solely for youth with disabilities should also be given to youth without disabilities (Morningstar, Bassett, Kochlar-Bryant, Casman, & Wehmeyer, 2012). Recently with the 2014 reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) transition services have been expanded to include students who receive accommodations under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as students who receive special education services. Researchers have demonstrated that knowledge of emerging adulthood assists in the creation of unifying transition practices which empower youth the much needed social supports and vocational experiences that enable them to reach their potential as adults (Hinton & Meyer, 2014; Meyer, Hinton, & Derzis, 2015). Practices such as exploration of careers, work experiences at multiple job sites, consumer driven choices while creating employment plans, motivational interviewing, positive psychology, and self-determination instruction are enhanced when implemented within the lens of emerging adulthood (Chou, Chan, Chan, Phillips, Ditchman,, & Kaseroff, 2013; Meyer et al., 2015). Emerging adulthood is explained along with counseling techniques and evidence. For this presentation individuals will be given a cheat sheet they can take with them that outlines each characteristic of emerging adulthood and ways of implementing services to meet their unique needs.

Emerging adulthood (EA) is a developmental stage with five characteristics (Arnett, 200). They are self-exploration as identify development, uncertainty, self-focus, transition as feeling in-between, and optimism. Vocational rehabilitation counselors need to consider each characteristic and shape services to meet the growing needs of today’s youth.

The first characteristic is self-exploration as identity development. Within the construct of EA, individuals explore various possibilities for their future prior to making choices that set the foundation for their adult lives. During this time period youth learn more about who they are and what they want out of life (Arnett, 2006). Identity development for an individual is a process that permits self-acceptance and allows a person to integrate identified differences into their self-concept (Hanjorgiris, Rath, & O’Neill, 2004). Vocational rehabilitation counselors, teachers, or administrators have to offer youth with disabilities ways to explore various options for their future that also includes the process of embracing individual and social perceptions about their disability as well as exploring workforce opportunities with support (Carter, Ditchman, Swedeen, & Owens, 2010; Hinton & Meyer, 2013).

The second is the construct of uncertainty. EA is a time of uncertainty about one’s present life and future pathways. During this time there are high rates of change regarding important aspects of life. These changes include occupational experiences, residential locations, and living arrangements all of which impact vocational rehabilitation services. Youth with disabilities need guidance and the opportunities to make informed choices while navigating high rates of change concerning important aspects of their life. A practice counselors can use is motivational interviewing and providing supports that are documented to increase successful adaption to change (Asberg, Bowers, Renk, & McKinney, 2008; Iarussi, 2013; Meyer et al., 2015).

The third characteristic is self-focus. EA allows for a longer period of self-focus because youth do not occupy adult roles as quickly (Arnett, 2006). During this time youths contemplate identity, and to pursue opportunities in interpersonal relationships, work, and education as a way of building self- knowledge. The purpose of self-focus is to attain self-sufficiency. It is important to know that the development of interpersonal skills, self-development, and problem solving facilitate greater independence and better quality of life. Services can provide instruction that teaches social skills, give supports, create experience learning opportunities with follow along supports, and provide options that allow youths with disabilities to build independence, develop interpersonal skills, and learn problem solving coping skills (Burke-Miller, Razzano, Grey, Blyler, & Cook, 2012; Flemming Valle, Muwoong, & Leahy, 2012; Mullis, Mullis, Schwartz, Pease, & Shriner, 2007).

The next characteristic is transition as feeling in-between. For many youth, there is a substantial amount of time in which they feel “in-between” during the EA period (Arnett, 2006). That is, youth are beginning to feel as if they are adults, but do not feel completely adult. To successfully make the transition to adulthood, one must accomplish the following: a) accept responsibility for yourself, b) make independent decisions, and c) become financially independent (Arnett, 2006). Vocational rehabilitation counselors, teachers, and administrators should youth at risk and with disabilities make choices, and have continuous follow along supports so that they can build competence in decisions and gain competitive employment which build responsibility and financial independence. These services include fostering self-determination opportunities and advocacy (McDougall, Evans, & Baldwin, 2010; Wehmeyer & Schwartz, 1997).

The fifth characteristic is optimism. Even though youth in the EA time frame are filled with uncertainty, change, and the feeling of not yet being an adult, the EA stage of development is also characterized by optimism (Arnett, 2006). Most young adults express positive views about their future. When implementing services, it is vital that vocational rehabilitation counselors, teachers, and administrators stay positive and foster the optimism youth at-risk and with disabilities express about their future. This can be done through positive psychology which emphasizes a person’s strengths (Chou et al., 2013).

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Vanessa Hinton is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling at Auburn University. She has taught special education in schools for 11 years and taught curriculum instruction at Auburn University for 7 years. Her research interests include the implementation of mathematics and social supports for children and youth at-risk and with disabilities.

Jill M. Meyer, Ph.D., LCPC, CRC. Dr. Meyer is an Associate Professor in Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling at Auburn University. Dr. Meyer earned her doctoral degree in Counselor Education & Supervision from the University of Missouri- St. Louis, and completed her Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Illinois- Champaign. She has experience in counseling, rehabilitation services and federal grants. Her research interests include: well-being, hearing loss, coping and adaptation, disability identity, emerging adulthood and general research methods.

Lindsay Portela is a doctoral student in Counselor Education & Supervision at Auburn University. She completed her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2016, at Auburn University. She has experience in mental health counseling working with substance use, college populations, and treating child trauma. She has assisted in providing training for Alabama counselors in regards to working with the LGBT population. Lindsay Portela is currently a graduate assistant at Auburn University where she assists the director of the Rehabilitation Counseling master’s program with administrative duties, grant tracking and reporting, as well as program recruitment. She is a past president of Iota Delta Sigma, Auburn University’s chapter of Chi Sigma Iota and current chairs the professional development committee.

Danny Owes is a doctoral student at Auburn University in the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, and Counseling. Danny Owes earned an educational specialist degree in special education from Auburn University of Montgomery and completed his Masters in Instructional leadership from Alabama State University. His has experience in prison education, and in public education both in the area of special education. His research interests includes: writing intervention with students with disabilities using the POW+TREE intervention strategies, and career interests of incarcerated students.

Keyword Descriptors

transition, emerging adulthood, special education, rehabilitation counseling

Presentation Year

2019

Start Date

3-5-2019 4:00 PM

End Date

3-5-2019 5:30 PM

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Mar 5th, 4:00 PM Mar 5th, 5:30 PM

Examining Transition and Vocational Counseling Practices through the Lens of Emerging Adulthood

Poster Session (Harborside)

With the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, career readiness and post-secondary services have been expanded. The objective is to educate individuals in strategies to improve transition and post-secondary services within the lens of emerging adulthood. This presentation is appropriate for vocational rehabilitation counselors, teachers, or administrators who implement transition instruction or post-secondary services.