How Best to Plan for Transition? : Some Reflections about the Importance of Leisure.
Robert J. Budzinski
I hung around the apartment the past weekend mostly thinking about “leisure”. Two influences brought on this bout of reflection. The first, a concern about the quality of life my special education students will experience after they leave high school. For the last two years, I’ve been filling out the “transition” goals on IEP forms, and, without thinking to seek input from the student, dutifully reviewing them during the IEP meeting. They usually have the “feel” of afterthoughts. I don’t believe this is right because – and this is the second thing – whenever I have talked with dedicated veteran special education teachers about transition, a mystical mood would befall them. Their eyes become Cassandra-like as they squint at some distant vision. What were they seeing that I wasn’t seeing? Certainly, transition was more than filling in forms and reviewing superficial, unilaterally selected goals, so I set out to reflect some about the meaning of transition planning. I arrived at a place unexpectedly fundamental, authentically existential, and profoundly spiritual.
Work and leisure exhaust the categories of time with which we are able to assist students planning their transition to adult life. The concept of work seems clear-cut – we mean employable skills and wage earning as a means for the student to live the most independent life possible. This independence – this freedom, if you will – becomes the ground of leisure out of which a unique self potentially unfolds. However, the meaning of leisure is much less clear-cut than that of work. Perhaps, because leisure evolved from work; it is less elementary and, as it continues to change, impossible to succinctly pin down.
In his 1999 book, Faster, James Gleik offers the following definition:
“We have a word for free time: leisure. Leisure is time off the books, off the job, off the...