An exploratory study of the incorporation of their ‘future-self’ as part of transition preparation in to and out of further education for young people with learning disabilities
Parry, Melissa Louise
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
The project may be written up as a journal article and therefore may require an embargo for publication.
This research explored the perception of the incorporation of ‘future-self’ for young people (YP) moving from specialist provision for children where the Local Authority have identified the provision as Moderate Learning Difficulties and additional needs, their parent/carers views, and the perspectives of professionals supporting their transition to mainstream further education. The ‘future-self’ approach had its basis in social cognitive theory, as the creation of imagined ‘future-selves’ is thought to influence an individual’s behaviour to aid them to work towards their aspired self (Baker, 2015; Markus & Nurius, 1986; Oysterman & James, 2011). Phase one used a case study methodology using semi-structured interviews to explore the YP and their parent/carer’s experience of transition planning having included the young person’s vision of their ‘future-self’, at aged 16. Materials were designed to aid their understanding using visual support. Phase two gained the views of YP using focus groups as they approach transition out of FE at aged 19 or older into continued training, employment, and on towards adulthood, in relation to inclusion of their vision of their ‘future-self’ in this preparation. This phase also explored the perceptions of the professionals for incorporating the young person’s view of their ‘future-self’ using semi-structured interviews. Interview transcripts were analysed using Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six stage thematic analysis to identify themes in the data. Focus groups were thematically analysed using Ritchie and Spencer’s (1994) five stage analysis. A number of themes were found for the YP at both stages, the parents/carers and the professionals. Findings indicated that the YP are more involved in the transition planning and a range of methods are applied to prepare the YP however there are a number of barriers still limiting the options for the YP such as: lack of choice available, protectiveness of others, low aspirations, failure to explore holistic longer term outcomes, insufficient multi-agency involvement, overreliance on parents, and the need for more effective strategic planning and awareness of the systems around the YP. The findings from this research indicate that applying a ‘future-selves’ approach for YP as a method to generate future aspirations to motivate YP’s behaviour has been effective as a tool to add to existing transition preparations. This could act as a way to overcome the currently existing poorer long term outcomes for YP with this population. Based upon this small scale project, further investigation would be required to assess the benefit for a wider population.
DEdPsy in Educational, Child and Community Psychology
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