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Whole Community Transition Project

This community-based transition partnership project is a one-year planning grant awarded by the Administration for Community Living to identify current transition models and practices in the state of Tennessee. The first year of the project will consist of planning and analyses at both the state and community levels to develop a “Whole Community” Transition Model. At the state-level, activities will focus on understanding policies, practices, and partnerships that influence transition services across Tennessee, and how those translate to local communities. Community-level planning and analyses will focus very specifically on what it would take to improve transition outcomes locally within two Tennessee counties: Dickson County and Davidson County. State and community-level planning and analyses will take place concurrently and are designed to inform one another.

Project Goals

  1. The first goal of the project is to develop and create a "Whole Community Transition Model". Specifically, this model will address 4 areas of transition: Employment, Education, Community Living, and Health Care. The population we will focus on is transition aged youth and young adults ages 14-25 with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
  2. The second goal is to systematically analyze and review statewide transition and then use this information to examine how transition plays out at the local level in Dickson and Davidson counties.
  3. The third goal is to include individuals with IDD in all aspects of this work so their voice can be represented in the development of the Whole Community Transition Model.

State-level Transition

State-level transition will be analyzed through a variety of methods including interviews, focus groups, and surveys, as well as holding facilitated discussions at a variety of transition-related coalition meetings such as the Employment First Task Force and the Tennessee Inclusive Higher Education Alliance.

Local-level Transition

At the local level, analyses of transition will be conducted using surveys, community conversation events, focus groups, and interviews. Core Community Teams will be formed, one in Dickson and one in Davidson to help guide the local work. These teams will consist of 8-10 members who are knowledgeable regarding transition in their specific communities.

Whole Community Transition Model

What we learn at both the state and community levels will be used to develop the Whole Community Transition Model. The idea of this model is to outline how a community can bring together a support network of formal and informal resources and partners to address the transition needs of individuals with IDD. This local work is needed to ensure that the person-centered planning used by schools, agencies, and providers in that community, connects individuals to needed supports. And, to determine practical transition models and strategies that will be acceptable, feasible, and effective within their specific city or town. For example, a particular transition model may be effective in Dickson County but not in Davidson, or vice-versa.

By September 2021, a comprehensive review of statewide and local transition services will be completed. The information collected from this review will be incorporated into the development of the “Whole Community” Transition Model so that the model will be ready for implementation in Davidson and Dickson counties by September. Our goal is to develop this model to be feasible and replicable so that it continues to be utilized by Dickson and Davidson Counties, and applicable to other counties in Tennessee, long after this one year planning project.

To learn more about the project, read VKC UCEDD receives grant to improve statewide transition practices for youth and adults with disabilities.

For more information contact:

Ben Schwartzman
Laurie Fleming