Under the requirements of IDEA (the Individual’s with Disabilities Education Act), schools must begin the planning for a student’s transition on the IEP that will be in place when the student turns 16. This means the planning must begin when the student is 15, if he or she will turn 16 during that year. Many of us who work with students with disabilities believe this is really on the late side and that this planning should actually begin much earlier—probably by middle school age.
The process for transition is specified under the law and must include documentation that the student’s interests, abilities and desires are taken into account. This means your son or daughter must have the opportunity to provide input into the plan by letting the school staff know what he or she wants to do past graduation. You, as the parent of the student, are also a crucial part of the team and should be included in the planning and process as the student moves toward graduation.
There is a requirement that other agencies be involved in this planning—chief among them would be Rehabilitation Services and also providers of services to adults with disabilities. It is also wise to have your parent center representative present during these meetings to provide you with continuing information regarding the process, and also with regard to holding the various players accountable for their roles in transition. If you do not have a parent center representative, please call us at 479-927-4100 and ask for the Family Support office, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff of the Northwest Arkansas Community Parent Resource Center (including original content as well as curated links to various authors around the web.)