Transition IEP

Visit Transition to Adulthood for more resources on the transition process. 

What is transition planning?

Transition planning is a process used to assist students with disabilities to move from school life to adult life. It is a cooperative effort between the school, the student, the family and community agencies. Transition planning begins by the age of 16.  Transition is part of the IEP.

What is a transition plan?

A transition plan is the section of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) that outlines transition goals and services for the student. The transition plan is based on a student’s individual needs, strengths, skills, and interests. 

What’s the first step in planning for transition?

Like every IEP, the process should start with the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) statement. Age-appropriate transition assessments help identify a student’s strengths, interests, preferences, and needs. These assessments gather information to write post secondary goals.

What assessments should be used?

Using a combination of formal and informal assessment tools collects information about a student’s current functioning, strengths, and needs as they relate to adult living.

Formal assessments are standardized instruments performed by trained personnel. Informal assessments tend to be more subjective, meaning that the results may be influenced by the person conducting the assessment. Informal assessments are helpful because they allow for a student to be observed in a natural environment.

Popular formal testing tools include:

Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning (BRIEF)
Vineland Adaptive Behavior Skills
BRIGANCE Transition Skills Inventory
Employability Skills Inventory
Transition Skills assessment
Responsibility and Independence Scale for Adolescents (RISA)
Adaptive Behavior Assessment (ABAS)
Transition Behavior Scale

How can we add information from the parent and student?

Informal tools can be used by parents to gather information to share with the IEP team.

What are transition goals?

Like annual IEP goals, transition goals must be written with a result in mind and they must be measurable.

Goals may be more general for students in middle school and early high school. They become more specific as kids enter later grades.

For example, a transition goal for an eighth grader might be: After high school, I will work full time in a career working with cars. As a 10th grader the goal might be: After graduating from high school, I will enroll at the automotive technician school and take classes to prepare me for a career as a mechanic.

There should be measurable goals in the areas of

  • training
  • education, employment
  • independent living skills

These post-secondary goals are written in terms of what the student that will be achieved after completing high school or secondary program.

What is the course of study?

After the measurable post-secondary goals have been developed, the next step is to develop the course of study. A course-of-study lists all the classes and community experiences the student will complete to achieve their post-high school visions of where they want to work, learn, and live.

For students leaving high school with a diploma, their course of study is the Michigan Merit Curriculum and graduation requirements. This can include a Personal Curriculum that leads to a diploma.

Students exiting high school without a diploma have the opportunity to maximize the high school environment, classes, and extra-curricular activities to move towards achieving their post-secondary goals. The district is required to have a written course of study on file for students graduating with a Personal Curriculum and student who receive a Certificate of Completion.

What are Transition Services?

Transition services means a coordinated set of activities that is designed to be results-oriented. Transition services are based on the student’s post-secondary goals. These might be activities that need to be done or a skill/behavior the student needs to learn to help them move from school to post-school activities. Transition services include:

  • Instruction
  • Related services
  • Community experiences
  • The development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives
  • Acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocation evaluation

Documentation of transition services such as instruction, related service, community experience, development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills, and provision of a functional vocational evaluation that will enable the student to meet his or her post-secondary goals.

What about inviting community agencies to the IEP meeting?

Once transition services begin, and before the student leaves high school, the IEP must document the services the student will need as an adult and identify the agencies that will provide them. Agencies can be invited to IEP team meetings. Most post-school agency services are eligibility-based programs.

What is the Summary of Performance?

When a student exits the school system, either by obtaining a diploma or aging out, schools must provide them with a Summary of Performance (SOP) to assist in the process of transitioning to post school activities.  The Summary of Performance is a summary of the their academic achievement and functional performance, and includes recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting post-secondary goal.

Transition IEP– from the Michigan Alliance for Families Webinar Series