The goal of good transition planning across the early years is for children to be successful in school. To reach this goal, we must prepare them for new experiences and opportunities they will have after transition. When prepared, children are more successful in their new setting or program.
Children are more successful when they can:
- Engage with their peers, teachers and classroom environment,
- Quickly adapt to the rules, expectations and routines in their new setting or program, and
- Continue to grow, develop and learn.
While transition planning is important for all children, for children with disabilities served through early intervention programs (or Part C), transition has a solid legal backing.
Every child in early intervention has a service coordinator. This service coordinator is responsible for overseeing the child’s transition planning process, which is documented on the child’s Individualized Family Service Plan or IFSP.
To support this planning, every child and family has the opportunity to participate in a special IFSP meeting devoted to transition. This is called a Transition Conference. This conference must be held at least 90 days before the child’s third birthday, but can be held up to 9 months before.
At the IFSP meeting where the transition conference occurs, a transition plan must be developed. In this plan, specific steps and services needed to help the child and family transition out of early intervention services are outlined like:
- Identifying with the family their needs and goals for transition.
- Providing information on programs their child may be eligible for at age three.
- Identifying outcomes and goals for the child to support their preparation for a new setting or program.
Young children with disabilities and their families make many transitions across and between services, service providers, and settings by the time they enter school. This includes changes across the day such as moving from home to child care to preschool; and changes across time, such as moving from early intervention into public preschool programs. These changes require that professionals work closely with family members to identify specific transition practices and supports that can meet their needs and support their child’s positive adjustment to new environments.
What does IDEA require with respect to transition?
IDEA requires state and local agencies that provide services to infants and toddlers under Part C to plan for the child’s transition to an early childhood education program under Part B. The Part C state agency is responsible generally for transition for all children and families in Part C and shares some of its obligations with the local Part C agencies. The local agencies are responsible specifically for the children and families in their respective jurisdictions. CONNECT – 2010 http://community.fpg.unc.edu/
For more information contact the Federation of Families of South Carolina at 866.799.0402.