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 is part of the IEP.
Transition planning is a process that must begin by the time the student turns 16. However, it is recommended transition planning begins at 14 years of age or younger. The goal of transition planning is to make a smooth transition to life after high school.
- Transition Step By Step: From Special Education to Adulthood An outline for the active steps to take at specific ages
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. A transition plan identifies opportunities for the student to gain knowledge and skills needed for continuing education, work, and community participation, in preparation for adult life.
- Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities MDE guidance that outlines transition requirements, components of transition planning, and a list of community agencies and other transition resources.
- Compliance Standards for Secondary Transition MDE
- Transition IEP Checklist A resource to plan early, ask questions, be flexible and stay informed and involved in the process.
- Examples of Transition Plans Understood.com
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?
A combination of formal and informal tools will be used to collect 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. Informal assessments are helpful because they allow for a student to be observed in a natural environment. Transition assessment tools might include other data sources like interest inventories, student surveys, skills assessments, aptitude assessments, observations, interviews, medical reports.
- Age Appropriate Transition Assessment Toolkit National Technical Assistance Center on Transition
- Age Appropriate Transition Assessment, Quick Reference Guide: Transition Assessment Guide Wayne RESA
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?
State law requires schools to begin developing an Educational Development Plan (EDP) in Grade 7 and requires that every student has an EDP before high school. EDPs are updated as student interests and abilities become more obvious and focused. The EDP shows educational and career goals, a way to achieve these goals, and the activities accomplished. Data from the EDP can be used to inform transition planning.
Additionally, informal tools can be used by families to gather information to share with the IEP team.
What about assistive technology?
Assistive technology (AT) is any kind of technology that can be used to enhance the independence of a person with a disability. AT helps to level the playing field.
These resources can help identify challenges technology can address.
- Getting Started Exploring AT with Your Teen or Young Adult
- Exploring and Selecting Assistive Technology with Teens and Young Adults (video)
- Smart Home Technology for people with disabilities
More on Assistive Technology
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
- 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 postsecondary 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 who receive a Certificate of Completion.
- Michigan Merit Curriculum and Personal Curriculum
- More on Course of Study is included in this document: Graduation Considerations for Students with Disabilities MDE
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:
- related services
- post school activities
- community experiences
- activities of daily living
- functional vocational evaluations
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.
- See Agency Overview
- Transition to Adulthood: Your Rights Due process resources for self-advocates and families of youth with disabilities. Each public agency has their own process for what to do when problems arise.
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.
Ask your district for a copy of the form they use.