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One of the goals of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is to include transition planning services for all special education students at age 16. Transition planning is mandated through IDEA 2004 which serves to help students begin the process of preparing for post-school activities including, postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment and adult services. A timeline will help you stay focused on achieving each step.
The law states transition planning should begin no later than 16 years old or before. It is recommended transition planning should begin by age 14 since services are different in the adult services world including long waiting list depending on where you live and what services are available.
14 Years Old
- Transition planning should begin no later than when your child is 14.4- It is the law in most states.
- Begin to research agencies who provide services for individuals with disabilities
- IEP meeting should focus on the student’s needs, interest in preparation for adulthood
- Research various aspects of transition services
- Begin to explore recreation activities
15 Years Old
- Develop a vision statement
- Transition goals should be part of the IEP
- Begin to discuss home services
- Attend information fairs that offer information on future planning including residential, guardianship and employment
- Start planning an independence plan at home where possible
16 Years Old
- Transition goals at the IEP meetings should be updated.
- Confirm how long students will attend high school- 4 years or until age 21
- Start the process of getting referrals to your state agency
- Begin researching adult services and programs. Some waitlist can last for years
- Initiate application to adult service agencies
17 Years Old
- Confirm a graduation date
- Update transition goals in the IEP
- Begin to invite adult service providers to IEP
- Begin to investigate guardianship information and the process
18 Years Old
- Adult eligibility should be completed
- Apply for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Medicaid.
- Visit adult providers programs
- Attend job fairs if appropriate
- Establish legal guardianship if necessary
- Explore future planning
18-21 Years Old
- Refine vision statement
- Revise and update IEP goals
- Invite transition coordinator your child’s IEP meeting
- Explore and obtain necessary funding for adult programs
- Ensure there is a plan for medical/health coverage
- Confirm all support services are in place.
Below is a free transition printable planning checklist. Feel free to download the PDF.