Transitioning to Adulthood as a Young Person with an Intellectual Disability: Two Case Studies of Mothers’ Perceptions

  • Gabrielle Wilcox University of Calgary
  • Jocelyn McQuay University of Calgary
  • Kailyn Jones University of Calgary
Keywords: Intellectual Disabilities, transition, mothers, adolescents, young adults


Making the transition from high school to adult life is a challenging process for youth with Intellectual Disabilities (ID).  Complicated policies, fragmented systems, and uncoordinated services contribute to the problem.  Youth with ID need ongoing support to transition successfully, and this support often comes from their parents.  The current article presents the findings from two case studies that examined mothers’ perceptions of the process of supporting their children with ID through transition from high school to adulthood.  Factors that supported and hindered successful transition, as well as supports or resources that mothers wished they had during transition are presented.  

Author Biographies

Gabrielle Wilcox, University of Calgary

Dr. Gabrielle Wilcox is an Associate Professor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. She earned a PsyD in 2009 from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine School Psychology. She works in the area of School and Applied Child Psychology in the Werklund School of Education and is a member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education. Dr. Wilcox’s current research focuses on improving our understanding of how to support student learning and preparation for post-school requirements. Specific areas of research within this include neuropsychology for intervention, mental health in schools, transition planning, and university-level instruction.

Jocelyn McQuay, University of Calgary
Ms. McQuay is a graduate of the University of Calgary with an MSc in School and Applied Child Psychology and is currently employed by Hull Services.
Kailyn Jones, University of Calgary
Kailyn Jones is a fourth year Doctoral Candidate in School and Applied Child Psychology at the University of Calgary. She received her BA in Psychology from the University of Alberta (2011) and her Master degree in School Psychology from Mount Saint Vincent University (2014). She is a Registered Provisional Psychologist and recently completed her pre-doctoral internship at Renfrew Educational Services within the Early Childhood Services and Specialized Services for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders programs. Kailyn's dissertation research investigates executive functioning in children with chronic pain.