Transition services are crucial in supporting students as they plan for post-school goals. Transition plans assist students in meeting their post-school goals, such as: gainful employment, post-secondary education or training, independent living, military, and/or group living. These plans are designed to meet individual needs as they progress through school.
Transition Services must be addressed on the student's IEP no later than the beginning of the student's ninth grade year or upon turning 16 years of age, whichever comes first, or younger, if determined appropriate by the IEP team, and updated annually.
The IEP team must actively involve the student in developing his or her IEP. If the student does not attend, steps must be taken to ensure that the student’s strengths, preferences, interests, and vision are considered as part of the IEP development. The IEP will clearly outline what the student wants to do when he or she has completed high school, how they want to live (e.g., independently, with family, in a group home), and how they want to take part in the community (e.g., transportation, recreation, etc.).
When IEP meetings involve transition planning, the school district must invite a representative of any other agency likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services. If the agency representative did not attend, the IEP team should document their input. Agencies include, but are not limited to:
A statement of interagency responsibilities and linkages is included in the IEP, when appropriate.
The IEP must include an appropriate measurable post-secondary goal based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills.
To assist schools in developing appropriate and meaningful transition plans for young adults with disabilities that not only assist the young adult in meeting his or her postsecondary goals, but also help maintain compliance with federal regulations, there are several resources available. The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC), a United States Department of Education (USDE), Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) funded center, has developed several resources to aid IEP teams in developing transition plans.
The school district must provide a Summary of Performance (SOP) to students who are graduating from high school with a regular diploma, or to students who are leaving high school due to exceeding the age of eligibility for a free appropriate public education (This includes students who are eligible for special education through 21 years of age). The SOP includes a summary of the student’s academic achievement and functional performance, progress toward meeting post-secondary goals, and recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting post-secondary goals. Mention of any modifications or accommodations that will enable the student to meet his or her goals is instrumental in continuing the student’s success.
Procedural safeguard rights associated with IDEA transfer to the student at the age of majority, which is 18 years of age. The student’s IEP team should inform the student and parent on or before the 17th birthday that this change will occur. Change of rights may also occur when a student gets married or becomes legally emancipated. The IEP team must plan ahead, and assist the student and the parent in understanding and preparing for the transfer of rights that will occur.