Transition Services

Children and families experience many transitions over the years. There are three predictable transitions that occur: when children reach school age, when they near adolescence, and when they move from public high school on to independent living. Other transitions may include moving into new programs, working with new providers and agencies, and making new friends. Transitions involve change, and it is helpful for parents to be aware of those transitions and be aware of and plan for the future.

Because planning for the future of a student with a disability can and usually does arouse fear of the unknown, some parents may delay addressing these issues and stay focused on the present. However, a more beneficial approach might be to work through these fears and think about the child’s best future interest which will result in a more meaningful outcome. Regardless of the nature or severity of the child’s disability, parents will be introduced to the process of transition during the school years which will lay the foundation for the child’s future. This transition process will include many areas of planning for the future and should be understood by everyone involved every step of the way. Effective transition planning is an investment in a child’s well-being.

Legal Definition of Transition

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), transition services consist of a coordinated set of activities that is designed to be within a results-oriented process that is focused on improving academic and functional achievement to facilitate movement from school to post-secondary activities.
Legal Requirements

  • Initial transition discussion must occur no later than the ARD meeting prior to the student’s 16th birthday.
  • Student must have opportunity for input.
  • Must address student’s needs, strengths, preferences, and interests.
  • Must be based on age-appropriate transition assessments.

Transition and the IEP

Information obtained during the transition planning process will set the focus for what should be considered and integrated in the development of the student’s IEP. Issues that must be addressed include:

  • Instruction
  • Post-secondary Education/ Vocational Options
  • Employment
  • Daily/Independent living, if needed
  • Community Experiences/Recreation and Leisure
  • Appropriate circumstances for referring a student/parent to a governmental agency for services
  • Functional vocational evaluation, if needed

It is important to know that not all students with disabilities will need to receive all of these services.
Last modified: Monday, August 6, 2012, 11:24 AM