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 by designing the high school experience to ensure that students gain the skills and connections they need to achieve these goals through 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 ten 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 by the student's parents and other persons invited to participate by: 

         (A) the student's parents;

         (B) or the school district in which the student is enrolled

    3.  If the student is at least 18 years of age, involvement in the student's transition and future by the student's parents and other persons, if the parent or other person

         (A) is invited to participate by the student or the school district in which the student is enrolled or

         (B) has the student's consent to participate pursuant to a supported decision-making agreement

                under chapter 1357, Estates Code

    4.  Appropriate postsecondary education options, including preparation for postsecondary-level coursework  

    5.  An appropriate functional vocational evaluation 

    6.  Appropriate employment goals and objectives

    7.  If the student is at least 18 years of age, the availability of age-appropriate
         instructional environments, including community settings or environments that prepare the student

         for postsecondary education or training, competitive integrated  employment, or independent living,           

         in coordination with student's transition goals and objectives.   

    8.  Appropriate independent living goals and objectives

    9.  Appropriate circumstances for facilitating a referral of a student or the student's parents to a
         governmental agency for services or public benefits, including a referral to a governmental agency

         to place the student on a waiting list for public benefits available to the student, such as a waiver program, 

         established under Section 1915(c), Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 1396n(c))

    10. The use and availability of appropriate:

          (A) supplementary aids, services, curricula, and other opportunities to assist the student in developing 

                decision-making skills and

          (B) supports and services to foster the student's independence and self-determination, including a supported

                decision-making agreement under Chapter 1357, Estates Code. 





    Texas Parent to Parent - Facing Transition Video: