Looking back to move forward: Reflections and lessons learned about transitions to adulthood for youth with disabilities
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BACKGROUND: Transition to adulthood is a significant development process experienced by all youth. Since the mid 1990s, researchers at the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research have been studying this process to assist transitioning youth with disabilities and their families. The objective of this narrative review is to reflect on the work conducted by CanChild researchers, in collaboration with stakeholders, about transitions to adulthood for youth and young adults with disabilities since the publication of the best practice guidelines in 2009. METHODS: A narrative review was undertaken through a reflective approach to critically review and summarize all the transition studies completed at CanChild since 2009. The following data were systematically extracted from articles and research reports: study (authors and year of publication), purpose, methods, sample, and lessons learned. RESULTS: Five studies were identified. An analysis of the findings revealed five key themes that represented lessons learned since the publication of the Ontario-based best practice guidelines: promoting a noncategorical and lifecourse approach to care; active collaboration among stakeholders involved in transition; capacity building through peer mentorship; greater understanding of the significance of opportunities and experiences; as well as the significance of information, education, and research. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first review to provide perspective on trends in transition research since the publication of the best practice guidelines in 2009. It is hoped that this reflection will assist in the ongoing work of researchers, service providers, policy makers, communities, and families in the area of adult transitions for youth with disabilities.
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