& Transition Planning
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This topic provides information on strategies to support student,
family, and professional participation in developing a student's
Individualized Education Program (IEP) and transition plan.
Transition is about planning for life! It includes planning for
academic and non-academic courses and learning experiences, employment
and related training opportunities, community living, and leisure activities. A goal of transition is to help youth understand their disability and choices to determine their future. One way transition does this is by connecting youth to teachers
and other caring adults, support services, and experiences that
build skills and help them reach their goals. Transition is based
on family values, priorities, and culture, and is focused on an
individual youth’s interests, preferences, and needs.
"Transition services" is a term used in the Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA) that defines a coordinated set of activities
that may address, among others, the assessment, planning process,
and educational and community experiences for youth with disabilities
as they turn 14. The intent of transition is to create opportunities
for youth with disabilities that result in positive adult outcomes. For youth, this may involve:
- engaging in the general education curriculum
- building self-awareness, self-identity, self-esteem, and self-determination
- utilizing the community for supports
- socializing and developing long-term relationships
- participating in activities both at school and in the community
- engaging in leadership and involvement in the transition planning
For adults, this may involve raising expectations for youth outcomes and assessing youths' interests, preferences, and needs.
The involvement of youth and families in transition planning is important so that youth
can begin to understand themselves and then identify a team of caring
adults who will support their journey. In American culture, the primary
rite of passage for all youth is graduating from high school. The
beginning of adulthood is celebrated at this time with an expectation
that youth will develop an increasing independence and autonomy
and move on to further education, meaningful jobs, and finding their
own places to live, friends, companions, and life
in the community.
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the document used
to facilitate an individualized planning process during the transition
years (14-21). The IEP must include a youth’s present level
of educational performance, his or her transition service needs,
and measurable annual goals. In addition, the IEP must include any
interagency responsibilities, accommodations or modifications, and
a statement of the special education and related services to be
provided to the youth for the youth to be involved and progress
in the general curriculum. Since the IEP is one of the tools used
to measure compliance with IDEA, comprehensive and ongoing support
is important for teachers and others who are responsible for implementing
NCSET Education Principles
The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET) has developed a set of education principles and indicators that not only help frame transition, but also are applicable to all youth and their future planning. These principles and indicators were developed from a broad range of disciplines and perspectives and are useful not only for analyzing or evaluating policies, practices, curricula, and interagency collaboration, but for developing efforts in these areas and for planning system improvement.
Education principles and indicators developed by NCSET include:
- Vision and Mission: All youth benefit from
a caring and supportive learning environment that helps them to
reach their highest potential in school, the community, at home,
and in life.
- Leadership and Accountability: All youth benefit
from effective leadership and responsive schools.
- Teaching and Learning: All youth participate
in a variety of learning opportunities that help them to achieve
high academic standards and that reflect the knowledge and skills
needed for full participation in adult life.
- Learning Environment: All youth benefit from
caring and dynamic learning environments within the school setting
and the community at large.
- Partnerships: All youth experience and benefit
from supportive teams made up of caring adults and their peers.
- Youth and Family: All youth and their families
are encouraged and supported to be involved with developing policy,
curricula, and evaluation methods that will raise expectations
and improve the quality of education and individual student
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