What is Transition?
All students leave school to create their adult lives. "Transition" describes that critical transformation, and includes the education, legal information, planning, and community connections our special education students need in order to achieve those adult goals.
The transition process prepares students with disabilities for adult life by focusing on the specific areas of post-secondary education, employment, community participation, and when appropriate, independent living skills.
What are Transition Services?
Transition services are intended to be a coordinated set of activities, provided by the school and, when necessary, community agencies, to students with disabilities to promote successful movement from high school to adult life.
Transition services are part of a results oriented process that is focused on improving both the functional and academic needs of a child with a disability.
When Does Transition Planning Begin?
Federal rules and regulations require that transition planning for students with disabilities begin no later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child is 16, and updated annually thereafter. However, it is considered best practice to begin transition planning as early as when a student is 14, and in some cases earlier, as they begin to transition from the middle school to the high school.
Who is Involved in the Transition Planning Process?
Transition Services and measurable post-secondary goals leading to a student’s post-secondary vision, must be identified in a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) , beginning with the first IEP in effect when the student turns 16. Therefore, the IEP team, including the student, parents, teachers, and when appropriate outside agencies, are involved in transition planning. Student and parent participation are integral to the success of achieving positive transition outcomes.
It is important to keep in mind that transition planning should not necessarily be limited to the IEP Team, rather it is a partnership involving students with disabilities, their families, school and post-school service personnel, local community representatives, employers, and other invested stakeholders. Successful transition requires collaboration of many individuals and agencies. However, consent to invite outside agencies must be obtained from the parent and/or the student, if they have reached the age of majority, prior to inviting community agency members to the IEP meeting.
What Does Transition Planning Include?
Transition planning includes the development of appropriate measurable post-secondary goals based upon age appropriate assessments related to training, education, employment, and where appropriate, independent living skills. These goals should reflect the student’s strengths, preferences, and interests. In determining such goals, the IEP team (including the student) must determine what instruction and educational experiences will help prepare the student for a successful transition from secondary education to post-secondary life. Age appropriate transition assessments might include such things as interest inventories and other assessments that can help identify an individual’s strengths, interests, and preferences.
In addition to appropriate measurable post-secondary goals, there must be development of a statement of the transition services (including course of study) that are needed to assist the student in reaching those goals. The statement of transition services should relate directly to the students post-secondary goals.
What is the Age of Majority?
Under Michigan law a child reaches adulthood upon their eighteenth (18th) birthday. When they turn age 18, all educational decision making rights their parents(s)/guardian(s) have, will transfer to the child.
The school district must discuss the impact of the transfer of rights at least one year before the student’s 18th birthday, with the student and parent(s)/guardian(s). For some students, a court may appoint a legal guardian that will continue to have authority to make decisions about their educational program. In this case, educational decision making will not be transferred.
The Student Rights Handbook serves as notice to the student and parent(s)/guardian(s) regarding the transfer of rights. When the student turns age 17, they and their parent(s)/guardian(s) must receive notice that rights will transfer when the student turns 18. When the student turns 18, they and their parent(s)/guardian(s) must receive another notice that their rights have transferred. Notice of this transfer of rights will also be given in the IEP paperwork.
What Happens Upon Completion of School?
For a student whose eligibility for school is ending due to graduation or age, a local education agency shall provide the child with a summary of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations on how to assist the student in meeting the their postsecondary goals. This is known as the Summary of performance.