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Transition is the passage from one stage of development to another. We all face transitions throughout our life. Here, transition refers to preparing the student with disabilities for the passage from high school into the adult world. All students, of course, will not have the same goals or dreams for adult life. Possible outcomes might be post secondary education, full or part time employment (including supported employment), living in a home independently or with assistance, having satisfactory personal and social relationships, and/or becoming involved in the community.  

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments (IDEA 1997) of 1997 states that the purpose of the legislation is “to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and independent living.” The student, parents, educators and community service providers must work together to support the student to plan for and reach these adult goals.

What is the goal of transition planning?

The goal of transition planning is to assist students with disabilities as they prepare to leave school and move to:

  • post-secondary education
  • vocational training
  • integrated employment (including supported employment)
  • continuing and adult education
  • adult services
  • independent living
  • community participation
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Transition planning includes:

  • Helping students to identify their interests, preferences and needs.
  • Identifying possible post-school outcomes for each student (such as career direction, further education or training, independent living, community access, leisure and recreation skills, needed support services).
  • Developing a coordinated set of activities that will help each student reach these outcomes.
  • Preparing the student and parent to assume responsibility for accessing services and requesting needed accommodations in the community (called self-advocacy).
  • Linking students and parents with opportunities and experiences in the employment/business community.
  • Linking students and parents with further education and training options.
  • Linking students and parents with adult support service providers.

Transition Planning Guide