The profession of transition specialization: in search of an identity

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Breault, Dawn E.
This qualitative phenomenological dissertation examined the overall profession of transition specialization; in particular the perceptions of transition specialists regarding the sufficiency of their professional preparation and development. Fifteen transition specialists from the six states participated via semi-structured interviews. Major themes identified were: lack of exposure to transition competencies and skills needed during college preparation, reliance on knowledge and skills acquired in previous positions, lack of professional identity and fellowship, and variability in defining post-school success of the students served. Additionally, a transdisciplinary approach between special education, rehabilitation and counseling is highlighted, forming what this researcher refers to as the transition triad. This research also points to the idea that transition specialization is a phantom profession; the work exists, but the profession itself lacks identity, and the role is elusive. Implications for practice, training and policy makers are offered in addition to ideas for future research.