Transition Planning & Services

It is often overwhelming for parents when the annual review for their child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) starts to focus more on life after school.  For students on an IEP, the school is required to have a transition plan in place when the child turns 14 years old.  Section five of the IEP, “Postsecondary Transition Services,” becomes an essential area to focus on at the end of middle school or beginning of high school.  More than 30 years of research has provided a playbook for how to limit, if not eliminate, unnecessary segregation.  School Districts are taking affirmative actions to ensure that students have a meaningful opportunity to make informed decisions to work in integrated job settings after leaving school.

Transition planning is, simply, developing both a formal plan to help kids on IEPs figure out what they want to do after high school, and the steps and/or activities to get them there.  

Section five, “Postsecondary Transition Services,” is broken down into three different subsections: Postsecondary Training and Education, Competitive Integrated Employment, and Independent Living (as appropriate).  Each of these three categories must have measurable goals, age appropriate transition assessment results (including students’ strengths, needs, preferences, and interests), courses of study, and transition services/activities. 

Postsecondary Training and Education:

Enrollment in one or more of the following:

  • Community or technical college
  • College/University
  • College Preparatory Program
  • A high school completion document or certificate class (e.g. Adult Basic Education, GED)
  • Short-term education or employment training program (Vocational Rehabilitation, military)
  • Vocational technical school, which is less than a two-year program

Postsecondary Training and Education Possible Goals:

  • After high school, student will improve his/her social, self-advocacy, and self-care skills by attending instruction at a center-based adult program 
  • After graduation, student will participate in a center-based program designed to provide rehabilitative and vocational training with medical and therapeutic supports.  
  • Upon graduation, student will enroll in courses at Columbus State Community College.
  • Upon graduation, student will enroll in courses at The Ohio State University.

Competitive Integrated Employment

Competitive Employment:

Work in the competitive labor market that is performed on a full-time or part-time basis in an integrated setting:

  • At or above minimum wage
  • No less than the usual wage paid for the same or similar work performed by individuals who do not have a disability

Supported Employment

Competitive work in integrated work settings, or employment in integrated work settings:

  • In which individuals are working toward competitive work
  • Consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual

Supported Employment (continued)

For individuals with the most significant disabilities:

  • For whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred; or 
  • For whom competitive employment has been interrupted or intermittent as a result of a significant disability; and
  • Who, because of the nature and severity of their disability, need intensive supported employment services.

Possible Employment Goals

  • After high school, student will enroll in a four-year college to obtain his/her undergraduate degree in special education, to become a middle school special education teacher.
  • Upon graduation, student will enroll in the Ohio Media School, to pursue his/her goal of becoming a production manager/director.
  • Upon graduation from high school, student will be a self-employed electrician.
  • Immediately, after graduation, student will receive job-development services from vocational rehab or a community rehabilitation program and will participate in technologically supported self-employment or volunteer work within one year of graduation.  

Independent Living

Skills or tasks that contribute to the successful independent functioning of an individual in adulthood (Cronin, 1996) in the following areas:  leisure/recreation, home maintenance and personal care, and community participation. 

Possible Independent Living Goals:

  • After high school, student will play basketball in the recreational league at the YMCA
  • After high school, student will assume responsibility for a share of rent cost by saving money earned at work and following a budget set by student and his/her parents.  
  • After graduation, student will independently prepare for work each day, including dressing, making his/her bed, making his/her lunch and gaining access to transportation. 
  • After graduation, student will live with his/her brother in an apartment.
  • Student will live in a group home and utilize public transportation to participate in his/her classes and job shadowing experiences.  

By beginning with the end in mind, students have the opportunity to create high school plans that are relevant and have the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills that form the foundation for postsecondary activities.  At the secondary level, the transition section drives the development of the entire IEP.  The postsecondary goals provide the direction.

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