We all want socially desirable adult outcomes including individuals with moderate to severe intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Nationally, these young adults are less likely to enroll in post-secondary education (PSE), less likely to be employed in community settings at a decent wage, and less likely to live in their own homes. These outcomes are real despite the fact that research shows they are not necessary: These young adults can attend college, are able to be employed in the community, and can live in their own homes. And in doing so, can exercise more self-determination in their own lives and enjoy a higher quality of life.

There are several factors that have influenced current conditions:

  • Parents and teachers often set lower expectations and promote ways that enable rather than promote more successful emergence into adulthood.

  • School instructional activities, especially in the middle school and high school years, do not always focused on teaching the skills necessary (e.g., soft skills) for successful adult outcomes.

  • Schools and adult agencies lack collaboration and take a person-centered strategies to plan with families and individuals.

  • Community agencies lack adequate supports to move persons away from dependence toward independence.

  • Financial incentives in the form of public benefits (Social Security Income, SSI) are more likely to encourage disengagement than to promote personal activity, employment earning wages, and further independent living.

  • Long existing service models for adults with intellectual disability (e.g., group living homes, Intensive Care Facilities for Developmental Disabilities, sheltered workshops, and activity centers) are so entrenched into the social fabric of disability services, that more progressive alternatives are rarely considered by parents or professionals.

Therefore, the purpose of RTLE is to work together to help improve adult outcomes for persons with IDD in the areas of post-secondary education, community living, and community employment through the professional preparation of special education teachers and related services providers.

The purpose of this website is to provide a web-based resource matrix for students with Intellectual Disabilities (ID), their families, and their teachers that may be used as they transition from high school to their communities. The easy-to-use links ensure that the site is appropriately used as an informative tool for students with ID as they make plans to enter the adult world.

Three objectives reoccur throughout this comprehensive website:

  1. Raising expectations of parents, teachers, administrators, and students;

  2. Demonstrating possibilities of competitive employment, post-secondary education/training, and independent living options for youth; and

  3. Providing teachers, parents, and student with a web-based guide to prepare students and create opportunities for positive post-school outcomes.

RTLE spans grades 6-12 and beyond, giving a variety of resources from other states, practicing teachers, and researchers organized into five domains:

  • Go for a SPIN (Strengths, Preferences, Interests, Needs)

  • Driver's Seat

  • Road to Work

  • Road to College

  • Road to Community Living