Graduate Student Dissertations, Theses, Capstones, and Portfolios

Date of Award


Document Type


Granting Institution

Lynn University

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)

Degree Program

Educational Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Brittany E. Kiser

Second Advisor

Jennifer J. Lesh

Third Advisor

Marie-Cécile Heinze


Many transition programs and services fail students on the autism spectrum, causing them to have the worst post-secondary outcomes. Due to the importance of helping high school students with disabilities transition to adulthood and consider post-secondary education, employment, and independent living, secondary transition education, and services are receiving increased attention. Situated Learning Theory-based transition intervention programs that led to post-secondary employment were tested. To demonstrate the need for effective transition intervention programs that lead to post-secondary employment, Florida professionals who worked with vocational education students with ASD in secondary schools completed a 38-question electronic survey. A thematic analysis addressed the three study objectives and informed post-secondary transition planning for secondary special education students. This study examined 17 participants from an urban school system in South Florida, most of whom were experienced female practitioners with over 16 years of experience working with secondary students on the autism spectrum in vocational educational settings. Data analysis revealed nine themes among the chosen codes of the three research questions. The study found that differentiated instruction for ASD students, real-world/hands-on work experiences, and vocational-based curriculum content lead secondary special education students to competitive post-secondary employment. Results also showed that Strategic Transition Planning's family participation, student input, resource knowledge, and teacher/service provider input & training help students on the autism spectrum find post-secondary employment. Finally, Situated Learning Theory's confidence-building and real-world experience helped ASD students find post-secondary employment. The study showed that Situated Learning Theory-based transition intervention programs lead to post-secondary employment. The researcher provided solutions to the research issues. The study's results illuminated secondary transition facilitators that lead to post-secondary employment for students on the autism spectrum, and the study questions helped explain that incorporating Situated Learning Theory principles into post-secondary transition planning improved post-secondary employment outcomes for students on the autism spectrum.



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