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Public Policy and Administration


Lori Salgado


Young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) continue to struggle with community engagement despite decades of research and policy initiatives addressing postsecondary transition. Evidence shows that persons with IDD are engaging in employment, postsecondary education, independent living, socialization, and other roles at significantly diminished rates, yet little data exists describing this participation in the voices of those affected. The purpose of this narrative inquiry was to describe community integration of persons with IDD in the decade following postsecondary transition in their own words. Critical disability theory was used as a lens to explore the successes and failures of public policy guiding this process. Research questions focused on types and frequency of community participation, personal perceptions of the transition journey, and how public policy supported or inhibited successful transition. Seven collaborators shared their transition narratives by creating comic books which revealed that: (a) transition began much earlier than addressed by policy, (b) bullying and paternalism were major obstacles that were insufficiently addressed, (c) sexuality was often ignored as an adult role, and (d) continued siloed service delivery led to fractured visions of adult roles and goals. Future research should explore benefits of updating public policy to address the transition beginning in early adolescence, prevalence of bullying for students with IDD, impact of siblings on social skills development, and if role participation should be emphasized over community integration to respect self-determination. Findings attest to the complexity and abilities of collaborators to enable positive social change by empowering overlooked voices to participate in the conversations guiding their futures.