Transition Services

What is the purpose of transition services?

Transition services are implemented into the IEP by at least the age of 16, sometimes they are started earlier if deemed necessary by the IEP team. Transition generally has three major goals:

  • To help provide students, as well as their families, develop a long-range plan for achieving his or her desired post-high school goals.
  • Plan the students high school experience to ensure that the student gains the essential skills needed to achieve his or her goals.
  • Link students and families to any needed post-school services, supports, or programs before the student graduates from high school.

For all students, starting at age 16 (or younger, if appropriate) the IEP team must:

  • Girl on swingInvolve the student in his or her IEP development, if the student is unable to attend the meeting steps should be taken to ensure that the student’s preferences and interests are considered.
  • The IEP must be based on the student’s needs, preferences, and interests.
  • Determine the student’s future goals. These goals could include college, technical college, vocational training, integrated employment, adult services, independent living, as well as community living.
  • Annually review the student’s transition service needs adjusting them as needed to achieve these goals.
  •  Develop a statement of needed transition services.
  •  In a state that transfers rights at the age of majority, beginning at least one year before the student reaches this age under State Law, the student’s IEP must include a statement that the student has been informed of his or her rights that will transfer to the student.

Services for Adults

Several agencies may provide services for adults living with a disability. These may include: vocational rehabilitation agency, social security administration, medicaid waiver programs and agencies, and others.

Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (VRA)

Each state has a vocational rehabilitation agency and these agencies are funded by federal and state money. The vocational rehabilitation agency helps individuals with disabilities find employment and possibly learn skills to help them become employed. Vocational rehabilitation services can often begin as early as age 16 and continue for a limited number of time after high school. Their services are based on the individual’s rehabilitation plan. Students may or may not be eligible for VRA services. The VRA may do testing to determine if you are eligible for services. You may find it helpful to read your state’s vocational rehabilitation manual to learn details about eligibility and opportunities provided by VRA.

Learn More About Transitioning From High School to the Real World

Other Transition Services Resources

Parents’ Suggested Timeline for Transition from School to Life

Graduation and Beyond: Beth’s Story

SERI Transition Resources

Transition Coalition

Center for Change in Transition Services

Western Regional Resource Center – Transition Requirements

Transition Services for Students with Disabilities as Required by the IDEA

National Center on Secondary Education (NCSET)

National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY)

Page content created by Jackie Haley and Nancy Atwood.