Transition And The Law

Why are transition services necessary?

Transition planning allows students, parents, educators, local community members, employers and others to provide the student with a smooth and successful move from school to adult life.

How does the law provide for transition services for students with special needs? What are transition services?

State Standard 511 IAC 7-3-52 and Federal Standard 20 U. S. C. Section 1401 (a)(19) are laws to provide transition services for students with special needs.

"Transition services" means a coordinated set of activities for a student, designed within an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation.

What does a "coordinated set of activities" include?

The coordinated set of activities is based on the individual student's needs, taking into account the student's preferences and interests.

The activities include:

  • Instruction
  • Community Experiences
  • Development of Employment
  • Post-School Adult Living Objectives
  • Related Services

How is the transition plan developed?

The individualized transition plan (ITP) is developed as a part of the individualized education program (IEP) by the case conference committee and the annual case review conducted prior to entering high school in which students without disability of the same chronological age begin to earn credits toward high school graduation. The ITP guides the development of the IEP.

  • At age 14, a statement of the student's transition service needs, based on career considerations that focus on the student's course of study, is completed.
  • At age 16, or before the student's entry into high school, a statement of the student's transition services which will guide the development of the special education and related services and the student's course of study with goals and objectives is completed. This is in compliance with Federal Law 20 U. S. C. Section 1401 (a)(20)(D).
  • At the Annual Case Conference prior to the student turning 18 years of age, the local education agency will notify and request signatures of both the student and parent, verifying notification of the transfer of rights. This is in compliance with Federal Law 20 U. S. C. Section 1415 (m).

Should the student attend the case conference for transition?

The student must be invited to the IEP meeting at which transition will be discussed. This is outlined in Federal Regulation 34 C. F. R. Section 300.344 (c) (1994). If the student does not attend, regulations require that the student be given information about the meeting in order that the student's interests and preferences may be given consideration. Some schools provide an additional letter to the student when notifying the parent about the IEP meeting and the need to develop or update the transition section of the IEP.

The content of the transition section of the IEP should include the following:

1.  A coordinated set of activities which includes instruction, community experiences, and the development of employment and post-school objectives.

This list does not need to be exhaustive. When appropriate, the coordinated set of activities should also include daily living skills and a functional vocational evaluation. Self-advocacy is also an area that should be considered when developing the transition section of the IEP, although it is not required.

2.  An outcome oriented process

The Special Education IEP is not guaranteed to produce any particular outcome or goal. However, the IEP and transition section should be reasonably calculated to produce positive post-school outcomes.

3.  Promote movement from school to post-school activities.

Schools and parents are to familiarize themselves with the post-school opportunities and services available for students with disabilities in their communities and the State, and make use of this information in the transition planning for individual students. By doing so, schools can facilitate linkage with agencies when needed by students, and can ascertain requirements for access to, and participation in, the opportunities offered by these agencies.

4.  Post-school activities listed in IDEA as:

  • Post-secondary Education
  • Vocational Training
  • Integrated Employment
  • Continuing and Adult Education
  • Adult Services
  • Independent Living
  • Community Participation

Are there any other laws that would affect our students in the workplace?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will protect our students in the workplace.

  • Employers may not discriminate against a "qualified individual with a disability."
  • In order to be qualified, the student should be able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations.
  • A reasonable accommodation is an modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that enables a qualified applicant to participate in the job application process or to perform essential functions of the job.
  • Examples of accommodations
    • Making Facilities Accessible
    • Job Restructuring
    • Part-time or Modified Work Schedules
    • Acquisitions or Modification of Equipment or Devices
    • Modification of Examination, Training Materials or Policies
    • Provision of Qualified Readers or Interpreters.
  • A reasonable accommodation must be provided unless it would cause the employer undue hardship which is defined as:

    Requiring significant difficulty or expense in light of factors such as the nature and
    cost of the accommodation and the size and financial resources of the business.

  • Employers cannot require students with disabilities to go through a separate application process nor can they ask whether the student has a disability, the nature of the disability, or the severity of the disability. Disabling conditions cannot be listed on an application form and the applicant asked to check if anything applies. Students should be trained in the transition process about such questions.
  • It is proper to ask if the applicant can lift a certain amount if it is an essential function of the job, or if the applicant has a driver's license, if that is necessary to perform the job.