Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Yi-An Chen

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Page


This study examines the pivotal transition from high school to adulthood for youth with disabilities, emphasizing the crucial acquisition of academic knowledge, independent living skills, work readiness, and self-determination. Despite federal and state policies mandating transition services to improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities, this population continues to face lower rates of independence, marriage, financial literacy, and employment, highlighting the need for enhanced support.

To bridge this gap, this study investigates transition services at East Greenwich High School (EGHS) through interviews and focus groups with 33 stakeholders, including students, parents, staff, and external personnel. Findings reveal recurring themes such as the lack of student perceived practical relevance in education, parental challenges in navigating resources, fragmented services, and barriers to functional instruction. Thus, highlighting the need for student-centered instruction, improved family usability of resources, dedicated interdisciplinary communication, broader social inclusion, and more opportunities for functional skill building.

The study recommends implementing an off-campus transition program, increasing community-based instruction, and fostering a culture of community and inclusion. To ensure long-term effectiveness, a transition coordinator role should be introduced, along with formal policies and procedures, despite limitations such as limited participation and logistical constraints. Addressing these recommendations can significantly enhance EGHS’s transition program, empowering students with disabilities for post-high school success and better preparing them for adulthood.

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