School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Kelly Alves


special education, transition, intellectual disability


Special Education and Teaching


The purpose of this project was to improve transition services available to high school students with intellectual disabilities in Giles County, Tennessee. The problem was there is a lack of consistent transition planning in Giles County, Tennessee. The central research question was, “How can transition services for students with intellectual disabilities be improved at Giles County High School in Giles County, Tennessee?” This project was conducted through interviews with administrators and educators, surveys of parents, and a document analysis of available information in Giles County for transition services. The information was then coded and analyzed for a mixed-methods research design. The results found that though Giles County High School was utilizing appropriate transition practices, specifically through transition planning meetings, little transition training and community resources were available. Administrators and educators both indicated a lack of development opportunities in transition, while administrators, educators, and parents all agreed on the insufficient community resources. The document analysis supported their concerns, showing that no transition service agencies or resources are housed in Giles County, with the closest resources requiring a commute of 30-plus miles. The research lended itself to several recommendations, including additional training and an exploration of increased transition planning technology. In addition, community conversations were recommended to help aid in developing resources within Giles County which would help eliminate the insufficiency as a barrier to transition planning. Overall, the study found that the suggested recommendations could be implanted with just over $4,000 with an immediate opportunity for impact and connections with the immediate community members.