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Special Education Transition Planning

Making the transition from high school to adult life, whether it be to college or the workplace, can be a stressful time for any child. Parents of children who are under the protection of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) should be aware of the resources available to ease these students into their post-secondary lives. Under the IDEA, students with individualized education programs (IEP’s) must be provided with transition services. Your family should also be provided information and resources on agencies and organizations that can provide support after your child leaves high school. The transition process is usually comprised of a team of individuals whose overall goal is to determine your child’s strengths, skill sets, and long-term goals. Once that determination is made, the team then sets forth a plan to get there.


The earlier the transition planning process starts, the better. Parents should be aware that at the very least, the process must start within the same year that their child turns 16.

Types of Assessments

A primary focus in the beginning of transition planning is in the area of assessment. Transition assessments cover four core area: including independent living skills, community involvement, self-determination, and employment exploration. Assessments must be ongoing to provide data the transition team needs to create appropriate transition goals and objectives. The assessments are meant to capture data in regards to a student’s strengths, needs, preferences, and interests in regards to the following:

  • Current employment
  • Future employment
  • Education
  • Daily living
  • Personal life
  • Social environment and interactions


If the district fails to provide appropriate transition planning or offer an appropriate program, an out-of-district program may be needed. There are a number of programs that provide students with a an appropriate from high school to adult life. Information gathered from comprehensive assessments will help determine an appropriate program needed to enable your child to live independently, be employed, and/or go on to higher education after high school. Transition programs offer students a supervised environment while providing them with the ability to take classes or participate in vocational training, as well as practice independent living skills like banking, shopping, cooking, and more. Data collected from the transition assessments provide the foundation for creating a plan specifically dedicated to your child’s needs.

Piper Paul Law’s Knowledge of Transition Planning

There is nothing more anxiety-producing than the unknown. The move from secondary education to real life can be scary for both you and your child. Yet every child under the protection of the IDEA has certain protections, rights, and resources to assist them in determining their future. Knowing what the educational system is required to provide, when it should be provided, and the type of program that must be provided can make a major difference in your child achieving a successful independent life. Piper Paul law stands by your side from the beginning of the transition process until its completion to make sure your child is provided every protection offered under federal and state law.


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