On Transition

This blog was written by George Martin, President, The Arcadia Institute There is a lot of talk about transition these days. Usually it is about moving from one point in life to another and addressing the problems that arise at that point. A big one is when a person with a disability leaves school.

The tendency is to talk about transition from school to ‘adult’ programs, usually from one segregated setting to another. The focus tends to be on technical moves, such as referrals, eligibility for funding, rather than to strengthen community ties.

I want to suggest another approach. Let’s talk about a constant series of transitions that deepen and enrich community ties throughout a person’s life. Unfortunately, we have had to work at making it possible for people with disabilities to be re-united with community, when they never should have been separated.

Given this unfortunate situation, we have to create methodologies, and we do need to apply them at critical change points in a person’s life, or points of transition. What is called for is to move away from the ‘clinical pathways’ that we have carved out for people and move toward a series of ‘community pathways’. The clinical pathways tend to further segregate and control an individual. The community pathways must be designed to increase the degree and quality of an individual’s participation in community in all aspects of life.

As someone once said, “Transition is not a phase. It is a way of life”. Let’s make sure that at each transition point we work toward community pathways.