What is transition planning?
Transition planning is a coordinated set of activities focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of a student with disabilities to promote the student’s movement from school to post-school activities. Post-school activities can include college, vocational training, employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living or community participation. Good transition planning is outcome oriented and focuses on results that help the student reach his or her post-school goals. For students with disabilities, transition planning occurs during an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting.
Who is responsible for transition planning?
The student’s school district of residence is responsible for transition planning and the provision of transition services. (School district of residence means the school district in which the child’s parents reside, a community school if the child is enrolled in a community school, the last school district in which the child’s parents are known to have resided if the parents’ whereabouts are unknown, or a school district of residence as determined by a court.) The school must schedule an IEP meeting to discuss transition and notify the student and his or her parents about the meeting. If outside agencies will participate in the meeting, the school must invite those agencies to the meeting.
How does transition planning work?
Transition planning is done by the student’s IEP team. At age 14, the IEP team develops a statement of the transition service needs of the student. Transition service needs are those things that help the student make a successful transition from high school to post-school activities. This generally includes courses that are relevant to the student’s future goals and motivating to the student to complete high school.
At age 16, the IEP team develops a statement of needed transition services and a statement of the interagency responsibilities or any needed linkages for transition services. This transition planning is more comprehensive and generally involves the provision of transition services.
Students with disabilities are entitled to attend school until they graduate or turn 22. When a student with disabilities turns 18, the rights as a student with disabilities transfer to the student. This includes the right to transition planning and services. Beginning at least one year before the student turns 18, the school must inform the student that the rights will transfer to the student at age 18.
What transition services are available?
Transition services are based on the individual student’s needs, interests and preferences and can include teacher instruction, related services, experience in the community, development of employment and other post-school goals, assistance with learning daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. (A related service is any supportive service that is required to assist a student to benefit from his or her education. In transition, related services may be necessary to assist the student in the transition process. Services can include, but are not limited to, necessary transportation, attendant services, rehabilitation counseling, social work services and therapeutic recreation services.)
For students who have not developed transition goals, the team can consider vocational exploration services to determine if the student will work or pursue some other post-school opportunity. The team should also discuss whether the student needs training in advocacy skills in order to address disability issues with employers, college staff and others.
Who provides transition services?
Transition services must be provided by individuals with the knowledge, training and experience necessary to meet the transition needs of the student. Providers may include job training coordinators, vocational special education coordinators, career assessment specialists, work-study coordinators and related service personnel.
Where is transition services provided?
Because transition is based on the student’s individual needs, taking into account the student’s preferences and interests, transition services can be provided in a wide variety of places. Services are generally provided in the school setting for students who are not yet 16. This is because transition focuses on course of study at this age. Once the student turns 16, the focus of transition is on post-school activities and services are more likely to be provided outside of school.
For example, a student whose goal is to be employed after high school may have vocational training as part of the high school day. The student may be at school in the mornings to complete course work and at a job site in the afternoon. A student whose transition goal is community participation can likewise participate in community activities as part of the school day.
Should a student participate in transition planning?
The school is required to invite the student if the purpose of the meeting will be transition. If the student does not attend the IEP meeting, the school must ensure that the student’s preferences and interests are considered in the transition planning. This can be accomplished by having the student write down his or her goals and interests and share the information with the IEP team, or the student’s parent(s) can provide the information to the team.
Transition planning is more effective when the student is involved in the process. A student who is involved in the planning is more likely to take responsibility for carrying out the transition plan. Involvement in planning gives the student a sense of control over the outcome of the plan.
When students are involved, they have opportunities to learn about their strengths and skills, as well as their disability and its impact on learning, work, and independence. Students can also learn about the accommodations they will need at a job, in further education, or in the community.
For more information contact the Federation of Families of South Carolina at 866.799.0402.