Transition Services


Transition is the process of supporting Youth as they complete high school and prepare for a productive adult life.

An effective transition process is based on individual needs and consists of coordinated activities in the following domains:

  • Education is the process of obtaining and developing knowledge and skills, specifically through formal experiences. Education participation refers to the ability to access and engage in appropriate programs, and\or courses, for life-long learning.

  • Career is a person’s progress in any trade, profession or occupation. Career participation refers to the ability to achieve a satisfactory level of suitable and meaningful work that will provide income and/or personal satisfaction.

  • Community / Independent Living are the places where people live, work and interact. Community participation refers to the ability to access resources including people, places, services and activities and contributing to the maximum extent possible.

  • Communication and Interaction Skills are the processes of giving and receiving information used effectively in appropriate settings.

  • Social Interaction is the ability to competently relate to others, exchange information and accomplish tasks.

  • Recreation and Leisure Activities are the ways people spend their free time. Recreation and leisure participation refers to the ability to access and participate in activities related to sports, hobbies, special interests and/or relaxation activities.

Transition Essentials


When a student with an IEP turns 15, (or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team), a Transition Plan must be developed and updated annually thereafter, for that student.

Beginning not later than one year before the child reaches the age of majority under State law, the IEP must include a statement that the child has been informed of his/her rights under Part B of IDEA, that will transfer to the child on reaching the age of majority.

Transition Services are defined as:

(a) A coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that-

(1) Is designed within an outcome-oriented process, that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;

(2) Is based on the individual student's needs, taking into account the student's preferences and interests; and

(3) Includes- (i) Instruction; (ii) Related services; (iii) Community experiences; (iv) The development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives; and (v) If appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.

(b) Transition services for students with disabilities may be special education, if provided as specially designed instruction, or related services, if required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education.

Transition Services could also include community experiences, vocational evaluation, employment, and other activities involved in adult living.


Transition IEP Members

The IEP transition team involves the participation of many individuals, which may include:

  • The Student

  • Parents/Guardians

  • General and Special Education Teachers

  • Related Services Personnel

  • Counselors

  • Administrators

  • Adult Service Providers, such as from vocational rehabilitation, county services, mental health services and / or post-secondary programs.

  • Employers

  • Post-secondary Personnel

  • Other Personal or Professional Support Networks.

Students, no matter what or how significant their disability may be, are the most important people involved in transition. Students should be as actively engaged as possible in all aspects of their transition process and must specifically be invited to any IEP meeting in which the team will be considering transition service needs or needed transition services. The transition planning process should be done with, not for the student

Including representatives from the adult service system is a critical component of transition planning.  Many public and private agencies that offer adult services have eligibility criteria and waiting lists. In addition, the procedures used in each adult service system differ from school procedures. Some services from these agencies may be able to begin before the student graduates.

A smooth transition to adult services is more likely to occur if representatives from adult agencies are included in the transition IEP as early as possible.

  • If an outside agency fails to provide the service agreed to in the IEP, the school must call a meeting to identify alternate strategies to meet the transition objectives set forth in the IEP.

  • IDEA does not relieve a participating adult agency of its responsibility to provide or pay for any transition services it would otherwise provide to people with disabilities who meet the agency's eligibility criteria.

The Transition Plan

The Transition Plan outlines the path for accomplishing a student's transition from childhood to adult life. It must reflect a student's choices, preferences, and needs in the areas of education and training, employment, adult living arrangements, and community experiences.

IDEA requires that parents and students be involved in all aspects of transition planning and decision making. To be an effective plan, parents, students, educators, and community service providers must work together to support the student in planning for and achieving his or her adult goals.  Furthermore:

  • A statement of transition service needs should relate directly to the student's goals after high school and show how planned activities are linked to these goals.

  • A statement of inter-agency responsibilities should be included as well as needed links to other agency services.

  • The IEP team should also monitor the student's high school program to be sure the student completes all graduation requirements that are identified as appropriate in the student's IEP.

  • Special factors should be considered in the following areas:

    • Behavior that Impedes Learning. In the case of a child whose behavior interferes with his or her learning or that of others, consider appropriate strategies and supports, including positive behavioral interventions, to address that behavior.

    • Limited English Proficiency. In the case of a child with limited English proficiency, consider the language needs of the child as those needs relate to the child's IEP.

    • Braille Needs. In the case of a child who is blind or visually impaired, provide for instruction in Braille unless the IEP team determines that it is not appropriate for the child.

    • Communication Needs. Consider the communication needs of the child, and in the case of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, consider the child's language and communication needs and opportunities for communication with others, along with the full range of needs.

    • Assistive Technology. Consider whether the child requires assistive technology devices and services.

  • The Transition Plan should be updated at least annually, just as with any IEP.


Podcast-Unexpected Journey

In this Episode we share a single mothers journey of how she took the diagnosis of her severely impacted son with autism and used it to advocate and educate families who are uniformed about the resources that are available to them.

Meet Betty Lehman owner of Lehman Disability Planning in Denver, Colorado. She has been a pioneer for helping families and is responsible for passing 14 statutes for families to receive insurance funding for interventions and lifetime care. With a CPA background, Betty is passionate about financial planning for families especially those with exhausted resources. As a Disability Advisor she educates parents on how to extend the quality of life for their child after they age out of funding or are out of the school system.

Appropriate transition services will enable a student to develop the skills he or she needs for independent living in their Adult life. 

Contact us at the THRIVE Center.  We are a resource for parents and other community members to learn more about special education, rights and responsibilities, and the law.