Home-School Collaboration and IEP and Postsecondary Goal Attainment of Students with ASD
Objectives: Our goal was to understand the relative contribution of student (IQ, adaptive and externalizing behaviors), parent (activation) and school variables (transition planning quality (TPQ), parent-teacher alliance) in predicting IEP and postsecondary goal attainment (a) in general and (b) by domain of postsecondary outcomes. We also wanted to know (c) who was responsible for implementation of plans for postsecondary goals? and (d) how progress of implementation of plans changed over time?
Methods: Twenty special education teachers and 20 students with ASD and their parents were recruited for an RCT of COMPASS. All students received special services under the educational category of autism and met the DSM criteria. Students mean age was 18.2 years. Forty percent were taught in general education full time; 20% in general and special education; and 40% in special education full time. Ninety percent of the students were male, 70% were White, 15% Black, 5% Asian, and 10% multi-racial.
Parents and teachers completed reliable measures of TPQ (Ruble et al., 2018), parent activation (Hibbard et al., 2005), and parent-teacher alliance (Abidin & Brunner, 1995). IEP goal attainment was evaluated at the end of the year by a rater unaware of group assignment. Postsecondary goal attainment was reported by teachers and parents. Pearson correlations controlling for group assignment were used to examine concurrent associations between variables. Friedman’s multiple comparison test was used to understand progress in implementation of transition plans over time.
Results: Student IQ and adaptive behavior, TPQ, and alliance correlated with IEP progress, with postsecondary goal attainment generally and with student participation in training/education, specifically. However, only parent activation and student externalizing behavior correlated with employment. Families and students, rather than school personnel, were the primary persons in charge and in control of the implementation of postsecondary plans and required help across multiple coaching sessions to implement plans fully.
Conclusions: This preliminary study suggests that transition planning that integrates both home and school goals and implementation strategies is necessary. Interventions that support families and students should promote the accomplishment of postsecondary goals. These strategies include approaches that improve home-school alliance and transition planning quality.