Why is Transition Important

Why is Transition Important?
In its 18th Annual Report to Congress on the implementation of IDEA the Office of
Special Education Programs (OSEP) recognized that while all IDEA requirements are
important, some of its requirements have a more direct relationship to student results than
others. OSEP placed the highest priority on compliance with those IDEA requirements
that have the strongest relationship with improved services and results for students with
disabilities and their families. Those include:
 Statement of needed transition services for students with disabilities beginning no
later than age 16 (and younger if appropriate);
 Student access to the full range of programs and services available to non-disabled
 Education in the least restrictive environment. (LRE)
What are Transition Services?
According to federal and state law, transition services is a “coordinated set of activities
for a child with a disability that is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is
focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a
disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities,
including post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment
(including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services,
independent living, or community participation; is based on the individual child’s needs,
taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences, and interests; and includes
instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment
and other post-school adult living objectives, and when appropriate, acquisition of daily
living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
Transition as a Strategy
The process of an IEP meeting where transition is used as a strategy starts with the
vision of the students! After graduation, where do they want to live? What do they
want to learn? What do they want to earn? (Remember the dreams we had at age 14?
--- the sky’s the limit!) After the vision the team must consider the present level of
performance. This gives the starting point. The Statement of Transition Service
Needs (the educational plan) will include those courses necessary to move students
toward their dream. If students are 16 the statement of Needed Transition Services
(the long range plan for adult life) will be discussed next. These include instruction,
related services, community experiences, employment, postsecondary education, and
if appropriate, activities of daily living and functional vocational assessment. (Please
note: IEP’s are no longer required to justify if these areas are not addressed) With
transition as a strategy, annual goals and short term objectives will then be developed
based on students’ long-range plans for adult life. The end result will be a more
“outcome oriented” process that will provide the linkages necessary for students with
disabilities to successfully enter the adult world.
Student Participation
As students approach adult life it is critical for them to be aware of their support needs.
Students pursuing either a college program or the world of work must choose to
identify that they need support, and they must be able to articulate what those needs are
based upon their disability. Remember, at age 18 “adult rights” pass to them. As adults
they make the decisions regarding whether to disclose their disability. College and
work settings, while required to provide appropriate support if needed, do not have to
provide accommodations if they are unaware that they are needed.
Students in transition must participate actively in all IEP discussions. They should
learn what their support needs are, and how to articulate their needs effectively. This is
critical to the process. Why? It’s their life that is being planned!! Without their input
the process is incomplete.