The special education and IEP process can be stressful and confusing. Many parents turn to a special needs advocate to guide them as they seek services for their child. But how can you find the right advocate?
Unlike attorneys, anyone can call themselves a special education advocate. And while there are training programs for advocates, there’s no formal licensing or certification. That’s why it’s important to do your research before hiring someone. Click here to read the rest of the story
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.
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