Transition IEP

Transition planning is a formal process that helps students with IEPs figure out what they want to do after high school and how to get there. It’s required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

IEP transition planning is more than just a hopeful exercise or brainstorming session. During planning, the student will work on specific goals and also receive services to help achieve those goals. The purpose of transition planning is to help students with disabilities prepare to be independent young adults.

Writing IEPs

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 that will be necessary for the student to be successful.

  • COACH students and families to think about long-range goals.
  • DESIGN 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.

Creating and implementing a strong transition plan with appropriate supports for students will help to create a strong foundation for students to reach the goal of college, career, and life readiness. Graduation is more likely to occur when post-secondary goals are established within a transition plan.

TSLP Technical Assistance (TA) Guide for Transition in the IEP – Developed by TSLP to assist high school special educators in writing transition plans.
Indicator 13 Checklist – The goal of Indicator 13 is to monitor the percentage of youth, 16 years and older, with an IEP that includes an appropriate transition plan. This checklist is completed during accountability reviews to determine compliance with Indicator 13.
Indicator 13 Quick Tips – Offers tips to write compliant transition plans that correlate with Indicator 13 checklist.
iTransition South Dakota – This questionnaire app is intended to serve as a guide to South Dakota students (ages 14 & older), parents, and educators on transition planning. A downloaded document can serve as a “tool” for students to take to their IEP meetings.

Transition Assessments
Where is the student presently?
Where is the student going?
How does the student get there?

Transition assessments need to answer those questions. Conducting a transition assessment is the ongoing process of collecting data on the individual’s needs, strengths, preferences, and interests as they relate to:

  • Employment
  • Education/Training
  • Independent Living


Assessment data serves as the “common thread” in the transition process and forms the basis for defining goals and services to be included in the IEP. Transition assessment information is truly the “foundation” of the student’s transition IEP.

Assessment Toolkits

Guidance and Suggestions on Transition Assessments: This document identifies transition assessments with descriptions and links to commonly used transition assessments in South Dakota.
NTACT-C Age Appropriate Transition Assessment Toolkit: The toolkit gives an overview of the purposes and process of transition assessment and provides guidance for selecting and using formal and informal assessments to help students and families plan for their future after high school.
Northeast Indiana Cadre of Transition Leaders Transition Assessment Matrix: This site allows you to choose the area of Employment, Education/Training, or Independent Living, that you wish to explore transition assessments for. After choosing an area, you then choose the appropriate grade level(s), and disabilities area(s) that are most similar to the needs of the student(s) you are assessing. The site will then generate types and kinds of transition assessments that would fit areas identified in your search.
QuickBook of Transition Assessment: TSLP developed this transition assessment book in 2006.  Nationally known transition experts refer to the document on a regular basis.
Transition Assessment Review: Discover transition assessments to use with students that will facilitate transition planning.

Adult Agency Involvement

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act) requires that in addition to parents, the student, and the school personnel, that other agency representatives participate in the transition process as needed. A representative from any other agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services needs to be invited to the student’s IEP meeting. Prior to inviting an outside agency, school personnel must receive written consent from the parents or the student who has reached the age of majority.

Specific Roles of Adult Service Agency Representatives:

  • Provide information about their services and assist in identifying supports the student will need for success in adult life.
  • Provide a unique perspective of helping IEP team members to understand adult issues in receiving services that may not be considered by the school or family.
  • Collaborate with the IEP team to plan and support the student’s dream for the future.
  • Be innovative and creative in developing supports and services to best support the individual with a disability in meeting his/her dreams.

SD Adult Service Agencies –  A list of South Dakota Adult Service Agencies along with contact information for each agency.
Consent to Invite – State document used to receive parental consent prior to inviting an outside agency.

Young Adult Transition Programs

If determined by an IEP team, a student with continued transition service needs is eligible to receive transition services through time of age-out, which is June 30th following the student’s 21st birthday.

Numerous “formalized” programs are being developed around South Dakota to assist students in receiving the needed transition services. However, many school districts are “thinking out-of-the-box” and developing individualized programs for students in their district who will be in need of services through “age-out.” If you need any assistance in developing these programs, contact your regional Transition Liaison.

Quality Indicators for 18-21 School Programs

Young Adult Transitions Program through ADVANCE: Offers students and youth with disabilities the training opportunities and services to achieve competitive and integrated employment, as well as live, participate, and have a meaningful role in their communities.

Augie Access: A comprehensive transition and post-secondary program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

DWU/Lifequest Program: A post-secondary 2-year certification program for transition students with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Pathways to Life: A transition to adulthood program for 18 to 21 years old’s with mild to severe disabilities.  An individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed and followed for the student’s progress.

Teachwell Transition Programs – Helps qualifying young adults ages 18-21 gain the extra skills they need for employment and independent living.

Transition Tips For Parents
Transition Resources