Transition planning requires that at age 16 (or younger if deemed appropriate by the IEP team), a long range plan for post school adult life be developed that includes a coordinated set of transition activities.  The IEP must actively involve the student, family, and representatives from whatever post school services, supports or programs will be necessary in order for the student to be successful.

Some of the key components of transition planning include:

  • Coaching students and families to start thinking about long-range goals
  • Designing the high school experience to ensure the student stays in school and is prepared for post-school goals
  • IDENTIFY and LINK students to any needed post-school services, supports or programs before they leave the high school setting.

A coordinated effort is needed to implement an effective transition to adulthood for students with disabilities. No one agency or school can provide all the services a student might need. However, the school has the ultimate responsibility and authority for ensuring a free, appropriate public education (FAPE).

To identify a coordinated set of activities, think about…

  • What services, supports or programs does the student need now?
  • What services, supports or programs will they need to achieve their goal?
  • Have we linked the student to needed post-school services BEFORE they exit the school program?

Transition planning should be based on the individual student’s needs, taking into account their strengths, interests and preferences. The IEP must include appropriate measurable post-secondary goals based on transition assessment, and transition services, including  courses of study, that are needed to assist the student in reaching those goals.

There should be a direct relationship between:

  • The student’s desired post-school outcomes,
  • The classes and services the student will be taking while in school, and
  • The long range plan for post-school adult life.

The goal for schools and IEP teams should be to help students “find their dreams”, and provide opportunities for students to discover for themselves what they can do, or could possibly do with further education or training. With proper transition planning and outside agency involvement, students with disabilities should have all the connections made for their post-school plans PRIOR to leaving high school with a signed diploma or from aging out of services.



If you have any questions, feel free to contact your Regional Transition Liaison