Transition Planning For Students With Disabilities


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What Community Resources Are Available To Help Students In The Transition Process

Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities | 3 Tips for Special Ed Teachers

Most communities have a variety of resources to assist students with the transition process. For job listings, youth may contact their local youth employment program, summer jobs for youth program, and WorkAbility and/or Transition Partnership programs at their school. Local vocational centers offer training in hundreds of occupations. These centers include Regional Occupational Program , Job Corps, state Conservation Corps , adult education programs, and community colleges.

Secondary School Personnel Responsibilities

Secondary school personnel and administrators, through their own involvement, must show students how to look beyond high school toward postsecondary education. This is accomplished by initiating, designing, and evaluating effective transition plans and coordinating services that are consistent with federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations. An essential role is that of the transition team coordinator, who guides and monitors the implementation of individual student transition plans.

To contribute to successful transition, secondary school personnel should

Four Types Of Transition Plans

Four types of transition plans have been created under federal law to protect young people with disabilities from discrimination in education and employment.

Young people with disabilities will have one or more probably at least two of these four types of plans, depending on which laws apply and the stage of transition the young person is experiencing.

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What Is The Course Of Study

After the measurable postsecondary goals have been developed, the next step is to develop the course of study. A course-of-study lists all the classes and community experiences the student will complete to achieve their post-high school visions of where they want to work, learn, and live.

For students leaving high school with a diploma, their course of study is the Michigan Merit Curriculum and graduation requirements. This can include a Personal Curriculum that leads to a diploma.

Students exiting high school without a diploma have the opportunity to maximize the high school environment, classes, and extra-curricular activities to move towards achieving their post-secondary goals. The district is required to have a written course of study on file for students who receive a Certificate of Completion.

Charting A Course For The Future

A Collaborative Approach to Transition Planning for Students with ...

In order to improve outcomes for youth with disabilities, transition services requirements were included in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act . The basic purpose of including transition components in the legislation is to better prepare students with disabilities to gain access to the supports and services necessary to reach their desired outcomes and become as independent as possible. The transition planning process should promote successful movement from school to post-secondary education and training, employment, independent living, and community participation based on students preferences, interests, abilities and needs.

The transition services requirements of IDEA provide opportunities to:

  • Help students and families think about the future and consider what they want to do after high school
  • Plan how to make the high school experience most relevant to the students desired outcomes and
  • Help students and families make connections to supports and services they may need after high school.

The process of planning and providing transition services based on individual student needs may be challenging in our complicated systems of education with limited resources.

  • Purpose for Charting the Course
  • How to use Charting the Course

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Start Preparing Your Child To Take On More Responsibilities

High school is a great time for teens with disabilities to take on more responsibilities in preparation for the transition to adulthood. They will need to learn self-advocacy skills to make sure they get the accommodations they need to be successful and to talk about their needs with teachers and others who can support them.

  • You can help your child to look for positive role models so you can both see the range of whats possible for people with similar abilities.

If your child has a significant intellectual disability, they may have different, more subtle ways to increase their independence.

  • You will have to work with the IEP team and look for ways to help them improve their skills in areas that will help them be even a little more independent.

  • You can also look into continuing tutorship , which will allow you to make legal decisions for your child after they turn 18.

Involving The Student In Transition Planning

For the students themselves, the outcome or result sought via coordinated transition activities must be personally defined, taking into account a childs interests, preferences, needs, and strengths. This is why the public agency must invite the child with a disability to attend the IEP team meeting if a purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of the postsecondary goals for the child and the transition services needed to assist the child in reaching those goals under §300.320 .

And if the student is not able to attend or doesnt attend? Then, the public agency must take other steps to ensure that the childs preferences and interests are considered .

Here are two resources of more information for, and about, students with disabilities participating in development of their own IEPs.

Student with a Disability on the IEP Team

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Start Formal Transition Planning

The special education law says that schools must start formal transition planning for students with disabilities or special needs by the time a student is 16. Many schools will assign a Transition Coordinator as the point person for transition activities. Here are the steps to start your childs transition process.

Assess Your Childs Mental Health Needs

Secondary Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities: Part 1

The changes that come with adolescence and puberty are huge and can have an even bigger impact on kids with disabilities, whose bodies, brains and future may already feel different from those around them.

Talk with your child openly about stress, anxiety, depression, and anything that might be bothering them.

If your child needs counseling, you can talk with the IEP team about writing mental health support into the IEP.

Use our Resource Directory to find counseling services, support groups, and peer-to-peer counseling programs near home. .

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Preparing For Future Success

Noted psychologist and author Bob Brooks points out, It is not unusual to find that some individuals with learning problems first begin to experience success after they leave school, at which time they engage in activities that are more in keeping with their interest and strengths. Developing and utilizing a transition plan in high school can help your teenager with LD pave the way to a more successful and fulfilling future. is a comprehensive resource for parents of kids with learning and attention issues. Explore their conversation starters to help kids self-advocate.

From Worry To Welcome


Couture, B., Pound, S., & amp Valdes, C. . Hi, I’m Lizzie! Paper presented at the student-centered transition team meeting at Trinity College of Vermont, Burlington, VT.

Giangreco, M., Dennis, R., Cloninger, C., Edelman, S., & amp Schattman, R. . I’ve counted Jon: Transformational experiences of teachers educating students with disabilities. Exceptional Children, 59 , 359â372.

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When Should Transition Planning Begin

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that in the first IEP that will be in effect when the student turns 16 years of age, his annual IEP must include a discussion about transition service needs . A statement of those needs, based upon his transition assessment and future goals, must then be written into his IEP. IDEA 04 mandates that the annual IEP meeting focus on more specific planning and goal setting for the necessary transition services. Factors to be included are: academic preparation, community experience, development of vocational and independent living objectives, and, if applicable, a functional vocational evaluation. The agreed upon plans must then be documented in the students IEP. The law also requires that a statement of the students transition goals and services be included in the transition plan. Schools must report to parents on the students progress toward meeting his transition goals.

The IEP team may begin discussing transition services with the student before he turns 16, if they see fit. If the IEP team hasnt begun to focus on transition planning by the time your child turns 16, it is important for you, as the parent, to initiate that process.

What Is Transition Planning

Flexer, Baer, Luft &  Simmons, Transition Planning for Secondary ...

Transition Planninghelps students, parents, and educators:

1. Identify long-range goals.

2. Design the high school experience to ensure that students gain the skills and connections they need to achieve these goals.

3. Plan several aspects of the students future including education, employment, personal responsibility, relationships, home and family, leisure pursuits, community involvement, and physical and emotional health.

4. Identify post-high school services, supports, and programs before leaving high school.

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Facts About Transition Planning

Schools are the bridge that connects students to their futures.

Transition planning is the process schools use to help students with disabilities and their families as they plan for their lives after high school.

The sooner the process begins for the student, the better, and schools need to inform students and families about that process and help them navigate through it.

Some facts that schools need to know:

  • Schools can help students/families initiate school transitioning with OPWDD staff before the student is 15 years old, with the student’s goals identified on his/her Individual Educational Program .
  • Students interested in OPWDD adult supports should begin working with OPWDD at least three years prior to completing their educational program.
  • To be able to work together, schools need to get signed consent forms from the student’s family in order to share records with OWPDD or to tell OPWDD about students who may be eligible for OPWDD services
  • Parents or guardians interested in allowing the school and OPWDD to share information must fill out a Consent to Release Information form .

What Is The Role Of A High School Student In Transition Planning

A student needs to begin thinking about what he wants to do as an adult before his first transition planning meeting takes place. This is his chance to take an active role in planning his education and make school relevant to his future. This is the time for the student to propose dreams and set goals for reaching them. It is an avenue to prove what he can accomplish, to identify things he enjoys and feels competent doing, and to set himself on a path of his choosing. At the same time, he should be realistic about how hell need to accommodate for his learning difficulties while pursuing his education and vocation. In general, the transition plan can emphasize a students abilities rather than his areas of difficulty.

Some steps a high school student can take to prepare for the transiton planning process include:

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What Is The Transition Teams Job

  • Identify the students vision for his/her life beyond high school
  • Discuss what the student is currently capable of doing in both academic and functional areas
  • Identify age-appropriate, measurable goals
  • Establish services designed to build on strengths and identify needed accommodations
  • Define each transition activity on the IEP regarding who is responsible for the activity and when each activity will begin and end.

Resources For Interagency Collaboration

Transition Planning for Students with Multiple Disabilities
  • Transition Action Guide for Post School Planning: In support of the Interagency Agreement, this Technical Assistance Guide was developed to assist in the improvement of communication, coordination, and services for students with disabilities transitioning from school to work. It was designed to be useful for all persons and agencies involved in the transition process.
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act : The WIOA includes new responsibilities for schools, in partnership with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and adult services, to support students and youth with disabilities to transition from school to college and/or competitive integrated employment.
  • Wisconsin County Community on Transition Toolkit: The CCoT Toolkit was created by the Transition Improvement Grant , under the direction of the Wisconsin Community on Transition , to help guide CCoTs through the process of developing, implementing, and maintaining a strong team to support success for students with disabilities.
Opening Doors Series to Support Post Secondary Transition

The Opening Doors series provides a process of planning for life after high school that includes making decisions, planning, and taking actions. Specifically, it is a tool for students receiving special education services through an Individualized Educational Program to use as they begin to plan for a successful future. There are four Opening Door guides to assist with transition planning.

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Final Documentation: Your Childs Summary Of Performance

IDEA 04 requires schools to provide a Summary of Performance to a student who will no longer be eligible for special education services because he is graduating from high school with a regular diploma or because he exceeds the age for services in his state. The Summary of Performance must include information on the students academic achievement and functional performance it must also recommend ways to help the student meet his postsecondary goals. The information provided in the summary should be adequate to satisfy the disability documentation required under federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 which apply to both postsecondary education and adult employment.

Be sure you, as the parent, obtain and keep a copy of your childs Summary of Performance. This will ensure the document is not lost should your teenager misplace or discard his copy.

Whats The First Step In Planning For Transition

Like every IEP, the process should start with the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance statement. Age-appropriate transition assessments help identify a students strengths, interests, preferences, and needs. These assessments gather information to write post secondary goals.

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Transition Planning For Students With Ieps

by: Kristin Stanberry |

The transition from high school to young adulthood is a critical stage for all teenagers for students with learning disabilities , this stage requires extra planning and goal setting. Factors to consider include post-secondary education, the development of career and vocational skills, as well as the ability to live independently. The first step in planning for a successful transition is developing the students transition plan. A transition plan is required for students enrolled in special education who have an Individualized Education Program . In this article, we will define and describe transition planningand how it can be utilized to maximize your teenagers future success.

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    What Is A Summary Of Performance

    A summary of performance is a document the school must provide before the student graduates from high school or turns 22 years old. It summarizes academic and functional performance levels and transition needs at the time the student completes school. It must be specific, meaningful, and written so the student can understand it. It must make recommendations about how to help the student meet his or her postsecondary goals. The SOP should be reviewed at the students final transition planning meeting.

    Why Transition Planning Is Important

    All students need guidance in order to make the leap from high school to the next step. Students with learning disabilities, however, need even more help because their leap is that much greater. The IEP transition plan tries to ensure not only that these children will be able to function as adults in the real world but also to increase the likelihood they will pursue post-secondary education. In 2020, a total of 24% of college students reported select disabilities or health conditions.

    In other words, the IEP transition plan goes beyond simply finding a place for LD students after high school. It provides a personalized course of action based on students strengths, desires and dreams for a fulfilling life.

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    Why Is Transition Planning Important

    It isnt enough to simply be aware that teenagers need guidance to transition successfully from high school to the next phase of young adulthood concrete action steps must be taken to guide and prepare teens for college and/or a career, and for independent living. Without this guidance, students with learning disabilities often fail or flounder in high school and beyond. Consider these sobering statistics:

    • Over 30% of children with learning disabilities drop out of high school.
    • Only 13% of students with learning disabilities have attended a 4-year post-secondary school program within two years of leaving high school.

    Transition services, provided by knowledgeable educators and community resources, can be tailored to a students goals and strengths and provide him with options and plans for his future. Transition services offer students with learning disabilities hope for the future.

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