Disabilities-Transition Planning

Key Words:Deaf Ed. Info., Documents

Type: Newsletter

Topic: Disabilities

Focus: Transition Planning from School to Work


"The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was amended in November, 1992 to include regulations about planning for the transition from school to work and community living. Those amendments mandate that transition planning be a component of the IEP for every student no later than age 16, or age 14 for students who might need additional time and resources, and part of every IEP thereafter. The ITP might be a separate document or could be just one component of the student's IEP."

"There are four essential components of transition planning for students with disabilities as required by law. They are:

1. Planning and requesting services must be based on identified needs and preferences of the student. In other words, one-size-fits-all transition planning is not acceptable.

2. Transition planning must be oriented to post secondary outcomes; that is life after high school, not goals that can necessarily be met before leaving school.

3. There must be a coordinated set of activities, a master plan with long range goals.

4. Services should promote movement from school to post-school settings; they should help get students ready for life after school."

"Transition planning differs from typical IEP development in that IEP goals are based on expected outcomes for one school year. Transition plans are designed to reach meaningful adult outcomes; plans could take six or seven years to complete."

"When the school district organizes a transition planning meeting, they must invite the student as well as his/her parents. If the student chooses not to attend, then the district must develop other strategies to ensure his/her participation in the planning like private conversations between the student and the counselor or work study coordinator about what he/she would like to do. The outcomes of those informal conversations must be documented in some way."

"It is also the district's responsibility to invite any community agency who might be asked to provide services to the student. If the agency does not send a representative to the meeting, then the school, again, must develop strategies to ensure their participation. Parents must be notified of any meeting scheduled to discuss transition planning and that notice must include the purpose of the meeting and a list of persons invited to attend."

"The law requires that each transition plan consider six types of services:

1. instruction: that is actual teaching of particular skills like making change or completing job applications,

2. community experiences: learning to ride the bus or going to the bank,

3. development of employment and other post-school living objectives: deciding on goals for work, residential, and leisure activities after graduation,

4. daily living skills (if appropriate): bathing, cooking, etc.,

5. functional vocational evaluation (if appropriate): conducting an evaluation either in a lab or at various job sites to determine a student's interests and/or abilities,

6. linkages with adult service providers (if appropriate): hooking a student up with the agencies who will be providing services to him/her as an adult."

"The law requires that the first three components be part of the plan or there must be an explanation attached which describes why they would not be required for this particular student. The other three components are to be considered and added if appropriate."

"Who makes up a transition planning team? The transition team differs from the IEP team in that there will almost always be participants from agencies other than the school. The law gives the school district the responsibility of pulling a team together to plan for a student's transition from school to work and community living. Integral to that planning, of course, is the parent and the student. Also included should be representatives from the school, teachers, counselors, work-study coordinators or others who know the student and have some knowledge of his strengths, interests, and needs, as well as representatives from other agencies who may need to provide services. The composition of the team will vary from student to student as each young person's plan will be different. A member of the team, usually someone from the school, should be designated as the transition team coordinator. It is the responsibility of the school, usually through that person, to coordinate and follow up on the plan."

"Where do the goals for the plan come from? Goals for the transition plan are individually generated by the student, his parents, teachers, and work study coordinators. They are not chosen from a curriculum or a computerized list of transition goals. They come from knowing the student well, working with him, listening to him, and acknowledging his wishes and demands. Long-term goals come from your knowledge of your son or daughter and your hopes and dreams for him/her. You need to expect the school to honor those dreams and to work with you to make them a reality."

"The ITP is part of the IEP and, as such, will be signed by the parent, student, and representative from the school district. Although it is a legally binding document for the school, it is a good faith agreement with other agencies. The school district has no legal power to force other service agencies to implement the goals on the ITP, but it is expected that they will do so if they have been part of the planning from the start."

"What happens if other agencies don't do what they agreed to do? In that case, it is the school's responsibility to pull the team back together to develop other strategies to help the student meet that particular goal. It is not the school's responsibility to provide the services which are normally provided by another agency. For example, if finding a supported living arrangement is one of the goals and the agency whose responsibility that normally is doesn't get it done, the school must find someone who will do it but they don't have to go looking for the apartment or house themselves."

"As part of the IEP, the ITP must be reviewed and revised, if necessary, at least once a year. If you have any questions or need more information about transition planning, call the Center."


(Nov/Dec, 1994). Transition Planning From School to Work. Child Advocacy Center: 3-4.

Grace Shanafelt/KSU Student/Deaf Ed. Major