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IDEA: Transition Plan and Services for Students with Disabilities

written by: Barbara • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 1/5/2012

Included in the legal compliance for IDEA, students with disabilities transitioning beyond high school must have a transition plan and services included in their IEP (Individualized Education Plan). The law is clear, but for most students, the IEP transition plan is not. Read on to find out more....

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    From High School to Transition Plan and Services

    IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) 1990 provided a transition amendment for students with disabilities transitioning beyond the secondary school experience. Within the student's IEP, the transition plan and services include a specified series of life plans with defined outcomes for students post-secondary school.

    The transition plan includes vocational training, internships, employment interests, living arrangements and community services for students beyond 16 years of age. The plan also includes resource information and delivery options along with timeframes for implementation. An effective transition plan is included as part of the student's IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and contains the following components:

    • An individualized transition planning that includes student interests and expected outcomes.
    • Diagnostic assessment and vocational interventions along with post-secondary educational placements.
    • Diagnostic testings for academic areas of reading, math and writing.
    • Diagnostic testings for behavioral and social skills along with prescribed interventions.
    • Occupational therapies needed post-secondary.
    • Life skills components such as preparing for interviews, constructing resumes and using the newspapers to find employment opportunities.
    • Continuous monitoring of academic, behavior and transition planning beyond the age of 16 in the student's IEP.

    In the next section read about the transition team -- the people working collectively to ensure that transitions plans are effective and appropriate in providing the student with viable options to function beyond the high school experience.

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    The Transition Team

    The transition team should consist of the following participants who work collaboratively to promote student transition planning and services post-secondary:

    • Student should be an active participant in his/her own learning and transition planning.
    • Parents should work with the student's IEP team in planning goals and outcomes for their children with IEPs.
    • Teachers and the specified case manager who creates the student's IEP should be vested partners in making sure that the IEP contains the student's interest and diagnostic testings along with realistic transition services and accommodations that are attainable for the student.
    • Vocational Education or College staff should be present if the student has expressed an interest in going in either direction and has the academic capacity to be successful in either or both post-secondary educational experiences.
    • Occupational staff members who have been integral team members in working with the student should provide expert feedback on whether a student has the current diagnostic skills to accomplish the intended transition plan and services.
    • School counselors have vested interests in working with students to provide counseling and career pathways for students with disabilities.

    The transition team plays a major role in providing effective preparation for students with disabilities post-secondary school. An effective team with a well-prepared plan will provide a proactive transition for students with disabilities into the young adult world of higher education, employment and the next level of career exploration.

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