In general, transition refers to the process of passing from one stage or place to another. It includes getting ready, actually moving, and then settling into the next stage or place. Transitions occur for every student: from elementary school - to middle school - to high school - to post-secondary activities. For students with disabilities, these transitions require thoughtful and deliberate planning. Individualized Educational Programs (IEP) based on each student’s unique needs are developed to meet his/her needs and to prepare for the next stage in his/her school career.
The Virginia Department of Education in the State Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia (2010) defines Transition Services as “A coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that is designed within an outcome-oriented process, that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. Transition services for students with disabilities may be special education, if provided as specially designed instruction, or related services, if they are required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education” (34 CFR 300.29).
Post-secondary Transition is the process of moving from high school to the world of work, college and/or job training. Planning and preparing for this transition begins when a student is still years away from separating from the school and the process takes on many different forms depending on the interests, skills and needs of the student. Post-Secondary Transition includes more than addressing the academic or educational needs of a student; it also applies to the training, vocational skill development, and independent living skill development required for a person to be an independent, contributing member of society.
The Transition Plan is an integral part of the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) for each student who has been found eligible for special education and related services under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Transition Plan will be developed and reviewed annually beginning at the age of 14 (or sooner, if appropriate) and will reflect the student’s current goals after completion of high school in the areas of education, employment and independent living. Transition assessments will be used to assist the student in identifying preferences and interests for transition planning and relevant outside agencies will be involved in the IEP process as appropriate. The overall goal of the transition plan is to provide an outline of the steps that need to be taken to provide students with disabilities with school experiences related to the established transition goals and to prepare for the transition from high school to adult life in the community.
Transition activities are experiences that support the student’s attainment of post-secondary goals. Transition activities vary and may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Self-Determination/Self-Advocacy Skill Development
- Vocational Evaluations & Trainings
- Career Awareness / Skill Development
- Employment & Continuing Education Exploration
- Resumes, Job Applications & Interviewing Skill Development
- Internships/Apprenticeships/School to Work Programs
Academic and Career Plan Development
- Diploma Options Counseling
- Independent Living Skills Development
- IEP Training
- College Planning Support
- Connections to Community Resources/Adult Services