Transition Services

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the foundation and central procedural safeguard for implementing the transition service language requirements of IDEA 2004 and provides a foundation to implement the standards of effective transition planning. Transition Requirements: A guide for States, Districts, Schools, Universities,and Families (Storms, O'Leary, and Williams, 2000) was developed with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, to assist IEP teams with the development of effective transition plans in accordance with the transition requirements of IDEA 2004.

Storms, O'Leary, and Williams suggest that the concepts of transition generally involves three major activities:

  1. Coaching every student, along with his or her family, to think about goals for life after high school and to develop a long-range plan to get there
  2. Designing the high school experience to ensure that the student gains the skills and competencies needed to achieve his or her desired goals
  3. Identifying and linking students and families to any needed post-school services and supports

Transition planning is an essential step in preparing students with disabilities to assume adult roles. Transition planning should focus on students' future goals, empowering them to create a personal vision and identifying opportunities to help them meet their current needs as they transition into post-secondary education and training,employment, and quality adult life.

Transition planning promotes the development of education and career plans based on self-awareness and awareness of various career and education options, promotes independence, and establishes linkages to adult services and supports. Students are subsequently able to enter the next system prepared to make informed decisions about post-secondary education, the community, and the workplace.

Quality transition planning promotes the ability in students to advocate for themselves, develop their own IEPs, and be aware of and able to apply the laws that mandate access and accommodations after they leave school, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The successful transition of students with disabilities is the responsibility of all members of the transition planning team and requires considerable collaboration among team members. The roles and responsibilities of team members include the following:

  • Parents must advocate for their children within the educational system and the agency structure, believe in them, and play the role of educator in the home environment.
  • Students must accept the responsibility to be engaged, responsible individuals who attend school regularly, participate in setting goals for the future, and identify how those goals will be achieved.
  • Educators must accept the responsibility to immerse youth in the learning process with a standards-based, contextual learning approach to teaching that includes school-and-work-based learning experiences.
  • Agency personnel must treat each student as an individual and be committed to meeting each student's needs by determining what services the agency might provide and coordinate.

If everyone on the IEP team accepts these transition planning responsibilities, collaborates effectively, and follows through on the agreed-upon transition services, students with disabilities will have a greater chance of leaving school fully prepared and enthusiastic about their futures.

For additional information or assistance, contact the SELPA office at (760)  552-6700