Unmet needs and quality of support for parents of transition-aged youth: Differences by disability group, age, and household income

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Purpose - This study examined access to and quality of supports for families of adolescents with disabilities. Methodology - An online survey was completed by family members of transition-aged young adults who had participated in parent training sessions on topics related to transitions to adulthood. Survey responses came from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 4 U.S. territories. Findings - More than one-third of families reported unmet information needs related to areas such as employment, housing, preparing for adult relationships, and preparing others to support the family members with disabilities. Families of younger transition-aged youth, youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other disabilities, and families with lower household incomes reported more unmet needs. The overall quality of services families reported receiving was 2.19 on a 4-point scale of 1 to 4. Parents reported needing more information and quality of supports related to the transition of youth from school to adulthood. Practical implications - Given the scope of unmet needs, ongoing collaboration between schools, agencies, organizations, and other entities that serve families is critical. While schools play a key role in supporting the transition process, other organizations also have a role. Social implications - The results from this survey demonstrate that the need for support is not limited to youth with disabilities, but that family members also have information and support needs related to their roles as caregivers in the transition process. Originality - This survey provides information about unmet needs and current services from a national sample that includes often underserved populations and includes sufficient numbers of respondents to allow comparisons between families, based on the type of disability their family member had.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDisability and Intersecting Statuses
EditorsSharon Barnartt, Barbara Altman
Number of pages33
StatePublished - Dec 4 2013

Publication series

NameResearch in Social Science and Disability
ISSN (Print)1479-3547


  • Disability
  • Family support
  • Satisfaction with services
  • Transition
  • Unmet needs


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