Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department Chair

Jessica Glass Kendorski Ph.D., NCSP, BCBA-D

First Advisor

Virginia Salzer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Meredith Weber, PhD, ABPP, NCSP

Third Advisor

Nancy Aronson, Ph.D.


Youth with disabilities are disproportionately involved in the juvenile justice system. However, there is limited research on how individuals with disabilities interact with support services or how their experiences may differ from youth without disabilities. The present study examined transition supports for youth exiting juvenile justice placements. The study utilized a semi-structured appreciative interview process. The purpose of utilizing an appreciative inquiry lens was to push past problem-focused ideas and highlight transition supports that have been successful. The primary research questions addressed the supports and services that have allowed youth with disabilities to successfully return to the comprehensive educational setting, as well as to understand what existing supports could be strengthened to better support youth with disabilities as they transition from juvenile justice placements. Eight individuals participated in the interview process. From the interviews, five major themes emerged: connection to positive adult relationships, inter-agency collaboration, student school-based supports, staff school-based supports, and access to mental health supports. Participants generally highlighted the positive outcomes for youth when students had positive adult connections, a flexible and accommodating school system, a supportive team (in or out of school), and reliable and consistent access to mental health support.

Included in

Psychology Commons