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Transition to independent living: Signs of self-determination in the discussions of Mexican students with intellectual disability

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Kershner, R 


jats:secjats:titleAccessible summary</jats:title>jats:p <jats:list list-type="bullet">

jats:list-itemjats:pSelf‐determination means that people decide for themselves about their future. Self‐determination is very important in people's transition to adulthood and independent living.</jats:p></jats:list-item>

jats:list-itemjats:pSix young adults talked with peers and facilitators about their transition to living in an independent‐living flat in Mexico.</jats:p></jats:list-item>

jats:list-itemjats:pWe wanted to learn what it was like for these young adults to transition to independent living.</jats:p></jats:list-item>

jats:list-itemjats:pThe young adults shared that: (a) It is their decision whether to move to an independent‐living flat; (b) They feel that living independently is challenging; (c) Learning new things at independent‐living contexts makes them feel good about themselves as young adults.</jats:p></jats:list-item>

jats:list-itemjats:pTalking with young people about their independent‐living experiences is important for planning transitions according to their own strengths and interests.</jats:p></jats:list-item>

jats:list-itemjats:pTalking to others can help people decide where and with whom to live.</jats:p></jats:list-item> </jats:list> </jats:p></jats:sec>jats:secjats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:secjats:titleBackground</jats:title>jats:pYoung people with intellectual disability experience important transitions as they move towards independent adult living. Transition is supported by self‐determination, comprising volition (making conscious choices) and agency (acting with intention). Dialogic interactions that legitimise students’ voices potentially promote self‐determination. Consequently, this project aimed to involve young people actively in talking together about their futures.</jats:p></jats:sec>jats:secjats:titleMethods</jats:title>jats:pThe research project took place in a university‐based transition programme in Mexico: Building Bridges. Six Mexican young adults with intellectual disability participated. The research project focused on their experiences of self‐determination in personal, social, and educational contexts. Data collection incorporated discussion sessions and participant observations. In discussions, students shared their experiences of transition to Building Bridges, and an independent‐living flat. A thematic analysis was conducted.</jats:p></jats:sec>jats:secjats:titleFindings</jats:title>jats:pThe students’ transition to Building Bridges was difficult, but they believed that they were learning and growing with support. Regarding their transition to the independent‐living context, the students perceive that whether to move or not is their decision, that independent living is challenging, and that the things they are learning make them feel good about themselves.</jats:p></jats:sec>jats:secjats:titleConclusions</jats:title>jats:pListening to students’ views prompts consideration of how transition programmes could enhance their self‐determination. For instance, by reflecting and negotiating rules with them; or giving them options, such as sleeping at the flat one day per week initially. Self‐determination is exercised within the context of relationships. Creating spaces for dialogues that allows educators and/or researchers to learn and reflect with students might be a way to know and legitimise students’ experiences, and plan transitions based on their strengths and interests.</jats:p></jats:sec></jats:sec>



communication, empowerment issues, independent living, learning (intellectual) disabilities, social interaction

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British Journal of Learning Disabilities

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Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT); Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust.