• Transition Planning for Students with Disabilities

    "Transition is helping students with disabilities and their families think about their life after high school and identify long-range goals designing the high school experience to ensure that students gain the skills and connections they need to achieve these goals the provision of funds and services to local school districts to assist in the transition process. This transitional process will include many facets of planning for the future and should be fully understood by everyone concerned each step of the way. Planning for the future is an investment in a child's well-being!"

    When students graduate from high school, they often face a future that has more questions than answers. For students with disabilities, the future can be even more uncertain. Transition planning helps students with disabilities, and their families, prepare for the transition to adult life after graduation from high school.

    For students with disabilities who receive special education services, federal and state law requires school districts to include a discussion of transition services in the development of the student’s Individual Education Program at the annual ARD meeting.

    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) defines transition services as a “coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that is designed to be within a results-oriented process”. IDEA 2004 requires that transition services and activities must be included in the development of the IEP “no later than the first IEP to be in effect when the student turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team”. and must include appropriate measurable post-secondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and where appropriate, independent living skills.

    State Law

    Texas requirements for transition services are aligned to the federal requirements included in IDEA 2004. However, state law and rules include additional requirements for the provision of transition services for students receiving special education services in Texas. State law requires that “appropriate state transition planning must begin for a student not later than when the student reaches 14 years of age" (SB 1788, 06/17/2011) including consideration of the following nine issues important to the development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for students receiving special education services.

    1.  Appropriate student involvement in the student's transition to life outside the public 
         school system

    2.  If the student is younger than 18 years of age, appropriate parental involvement in 
         the student's transition

    3.  If the student is at least 18 years of age, appropriate parental involvement in the
         student's transition, if the parent is invited to participate by the student or the school
         district in which the student is enrolled

    4.  Any post-secondary education options

    5.  A functional vocational evaluation

    6.  Employment goals and objectives

    7.  If the student is at least 18 years of age, the availability of age-appropriate
         instructional environments

    8.  Independent living goals and objectives

    9.  Appropriate circumstances for referring a student or the student's parents to a
         governmental agency for services