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The Voices of Secondary Special Education Teachers in Transition Planning Open Access

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The Voices of Secondary Special Education Teachersin Transition PlanningStudents with disabilities appear to be graduating without acquiring the necessary skills prior to graduating from high school and transitioning to the adult role expectations of pursuing postsecondary education, furthering vocational training, or entering into the world of work and living independently. This may be due to the inadequate training and lack of self-efficacy of special education teachers. Without sufficient and adequate transition planning services and the guidance of confident special education teachers who are knowledgeable with effective transition planning skills, secondary students with disabilities will not be prepared for life after high school. This basic interpretive qualitative study sought to understand and explain how special education teachers interpret their experiences with transition planning, what their experiences with transition planning means in the world of special education, and how this study may have further implications for practice. Interviews were used to examine teachers’ perceptions in the areas of: (a) transition knowledge and planning; (b) self-determination / self-advocacy; and (c) collaboration. This study’s participants consisted of 19 purposefully selected, secondary special education teachers of students with disabilities, receiving special education services within a school district in the northern most point in Virginia. The data analysis reinforced earlier studies that some special education teachers felt they lacked self-efficacy and did not feel prepared to plan and provide transition services to students with disabilities. They perceived they were well-prepared to deliver the necessary services in the area of curriculum and instruction, but felt unprepared and lacked self-confidence in their abilities due to their own lack of educational training. The findings in this study provided aspects from special education teachers who have valuable information to share regarding their perceptions of transition planning which can be used by special education teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, district leaders, transition specialist, and university systems to evaluate their current practices. As well as, for a student with a disability, leaving school without the skills to gain competitive employment or attend college will continue to distance them from their peers, this is why continued research in this area is important. INDEX WORDS: High school special education transition, Special education teacher perceptions, Special education teacher self-efficacy; Transition planning and service delivery. Perceptions of Transition, Self-Determination

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