Transition for Students with Disabilities

Transition Planning

Transition planning is a process used to assist a student with a disability in moving from the school into adult life. It is a cooperative effort between the school, the student, family and community agencies. Laws require transition planning for all students with a disability, beginning at the age of 16.

What is a Transition Plan?

A transition plan is the section of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) that outlines transition goals and services for the student. The transition plan is based on a high school student's individual needs, strengths, skills, and interests. Transition planning is used to identify and develop goals, which need to be accomplished during the current school year to assist the student in meeting his post-high school goals.

When Should Transition Planning Begin?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires the first IEP that will be in effect when the student turns 16 years of age, include a discussion about transition service needs. A statement of those needs, based upon his transition assessment and future goals, must then be written into his IEP. IDEA mandates that the annual IEP meeting focus on more specific planning and goal setting for the necessary transition services. Factors to be included are: academic preparation, community experience, development of vocational and independent living objectives. The agreed upon plans must then be documented in the student's IEP. IDEA 04 also requires that a statement of the student's transition goals and services be included in the transition plan. Schools must report to parents on the student's progress toward meeting his transition goals.

The IEP team may begin discussing transition services with the student before he turns 16, if they see fit. If the IEP team has not begun to focus on transition planning by the time the child turns 16, it is important to initiate that process.

Transition Resources

A resource guide of local and state community agencies and resources that are available to students and parents.

A guide for students to use as they work to develop a transition plan for life after high school.

Transition Links

Michigan Transition Services Association is dedicated to providing support to our members who assist students and young adults with disabilities as they transition through school to achieve their post-school goals.

The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET) coordinates national resources, offers technical assistance, and disseminates information related to secondary education and transition for youth with disabilities in order to create opportunities for youth to achieve successful futures.