Transition: When, Who, What And How??
When Does Transition Planning Occur?
In light of the rules set out by legislation, transition planning formally begins when the student is in the eighth grade or 14 years of age. The transition section of the Individualized Education Program, IEP (formerly referred to as the Individualized Transition Plan, ITP) is reviewed and revised annually as part of the IEP process.
Transition Planning serves several important functions:
- Vision of desired outcomes serves as basis for IEP goals and objectives
- Introduces the student and family to adult service providers and community resources
- Identifies necessary supports for the student to work, continue education, live and recreate in the community
- Identifies gaps in the local adult service system; and,
- Provides information to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and adult service providers about individual needs.
Who Participates In Transition Planning?
The formation of a transition team is part of the transition planning process. The goal of this team is to work together to identify and secure services needed by the student while in high school and following high school. The composition of each student's transition team will vary according to the needs and desires of the student and his or her family.
Families can invite friends and others who know their son or daughter to participate on the transition team. A listing of possible transition team participants includes:
- Family Members
- Teacher(s); Administrators
- Related Service Personnel (Speech, Occupational, Physical Therapists)
- Vocational Specialist; Coordinator
- Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
- Independent Living Case Manager / Targeted Case Manager
- Access Network Representative
- Bureau of Developmental Disability Representative
- Guidance Counselor
- Adult Service Provider(s) / Waiver Service Providers
What Information Is Included In A Transition Plan?
Student success in post-school life should be the focus of the transition plan. Depending on the student's needs, the following issues (while not exhaustive) could be addressed in planning:
- Employment / Vocational Education
- Friends and Family Relationships
- Graduation or School Exit Date
- Post-Secondary Education
- Connections with Mental Health Centers
- Medical Needs
- Driver's Education Training
- Leisure Opportunities
- Guardianship Options
- Self-Determination / Self-Advocacy
- Time and Stress Management
- Mobility / Communication Needs
- Community Living Options
- Long Term Care
- State ID Card
- Financial / Income Support
- Selective Service Registration
- Parenting / Sexuality
- Wills / Trusts
How Is The Transition Planning Conducted?
While the transition planning process begins informally at a young age (with community participation, household chores, responsibilities, etc.), the formal transition planning process generally follows this sequence:
- Determine Desired Outcomes for student using a person-centered planning process (which may include surveys, interviews, interest inventories, circle of support or Personal Futures Planning meetings, etc.)
- Define Student's Current Strengths, Interests, and Needs through profiles, student interview, interest inventories, former teacher interviews, and family input.
- Decide What Activities, Services, and Supports the Student Needs to achieve his / her goal.
- Translate the Vision into Annual IEP Goals and Objectives which support the student in acquiring the skills, adaptations, resources, information and contacts necessary to achieve the desired outcomes.
Role Of The School In The Transition Process
- Provide integrated education focusing on the building of integrated peer support networks.
- Involve students and parents in selecting valued activities for the transition IEP.
- Participation in Community Transition Council activities.
- Provide functional curriculum emphasizing work, leisure, and personal management with community training.
- Provide curriculum preparing students with disabilities for post-secondary education.
- Provide a variety of community job training options for students.
- Develop and disseminate a Transition Manual for students and parents including information on local services.
- Provide parent education and training on current programs and post-high school opportunities.
- Communicate and collaborate with the business community.
- Develop individualized student resumes and portfolios.
- Initiate an interagency agreement to establish timelines and responsibility for transisiton planning.
- Identify desired transition outcomes and develop a transition plan for each student as a part of the IEP.
Role Of The Parents / Families In The Transition Process
- Set realistic goals working with your son or daughter and ensuring that the school program prepares him / her for the future—emphasize independent work and living skills.
- Gather information regarding issues such as guardianship, sex education and responsibility, driving, etc. Base decisions on these issues upon the student's level of independence and competency, family values and resources available.
- Familiarize yourself with the adult service system. Place the student's name on lists in a timely fashion.
- Build self esteem, allow for and encourage self advocacy. If you have confidence, he / she will have confidence. Teach the necessary skills you would teach any child going out into the world.
- Encourage and facilitate social integration. Everyone needs friends. Young people with disabilities cannot afford to be isolated from others their age.
- Provide real experiences, vocationally, recreationally, residentially and socially that will enhance integration.
- Encourage good grooming and general work ethics, including appearance, reliability, punctuality, dependability, responsibility, and hard work.
- Foster the acceptance of criticism. All young people need to learn to cope with criticism, constructive and unfair.
- Provide opportunities to manage money, shopping, banking, budgeting, etc.
The Transition Team
The transition team holds transition meetings to share information and generate the transition IEP. Generally these meetings are chaired by an administrator. An even better approach occurs when the student chairs his / her own meeting. A transition IEP meeting agenda might look as follows:
- Introduction of team participants
- Review meeting agenda
- Review student performance on previous year's IEP or transition IEP goals
- Student / parent(s) indicate preferences for desired transition outcomes
- Review all locally available / appropriate adult service options
- Make recommendations for the upcoming year's IEP goals and objectives as they relate to the desired transition outcomes.
- Negotiate student's specific recommendations for services and transition supports
- Record recommendations for outcomes, goals and objectives on the transition IEP, designating timelines and responsibilities for each participant