Transition Planning is the process in which students with disabilities work with their family, school, post-school service personnel, community agencies and employers to develop a plan which will help them adjust to their next step in life. Students typically start the process at age 16, however may do so earlier if needed.
During the transition planning process, it is important to keep in mind that students with disabilities have different levels of impairment and capabilities; requiring the plan to be flexible to meet a variety of needs. It is also important to be aware of available resources and services that will help develop an individual’s transition plan.
Transition planning is a part of the annual Individualized Education Program Team meeting. The transition process starts by assessing the student's strengths, weaknesses, interests and needs. An example of a commonly used transition assessment is the Enderle-Severson Transition Rating Scale (ESTR). By using this starting point, a path begins to emerge that can be developed into a plan. The plan will address the key areas of a student’s life:
- Post-Secondary Education/Training (What additional education or training does the student want to pursue after high school?)
- Career/Employment (What kind of work does the student want to do after they finish high school?)
- Adult Living (Where does the student want to live as an adult? What does the student need to be independent?)
- Community Participation (What activities and hobbies does the student want to do as an adult?)
Looking ahead, the next step is to examine the student’s roadblocks. Creating short term goals empower students to become involved and contribute as an equal partner in the Transition/Individual Education Program Team (IEPT) planning process. By identifying their strengths and available resources, students can remove many roadblocks and create attainable goals.