Transition planning works best when the student is involved, since the student is the most important person involved in the transition. The IEP team must specifically invite the student to attend any IEP meetings in which the team will be considering transitional needs.
Family members and other adults are also important in this long-term planning. Teachers, administrators, therapists and support agencies who work with the student and family may also have valuable information to add.
A successful transition plan sets realistic goals for the student, regardless of their goal of attending post high school education, continuing through the age of 22 or getting a job directly out of high school. It is okay to set bold goals; however make sure the steps you take now will enable your child to reach those goals.
Think outside the box! Imagine that your student’s goal is to live independently after high school. A good transition goal might be for the student to learn the skills to find an apartment, fill out an application, understand a budget, and the process of paying bills. But think bigger! Can your daughter do her own laundry? Can your son manage a bank account? Your child will need to buy groceries, know how to cook basic foods, ask for help, and know what to do in case of an emergency. Will the student drive to the store? Walk? Take the bus and need to learn bus routes? These are all valuable skills that can be addressed through a transition plan.
Encourage your student to:
- Think about long-term IEP goals and what he/she needs to do to reach them.
- Read his/her IEP and transition plan.
- Tell the teachers if the student wants to lead their own IEP meeting (they can ask for help!).
- Learn about his/her disability, and how to ask for reasonable accommodations.
- Practice job interviews and/or asking for accommodations.
What you can do:
- Help your student understand his/her disability and how to ask for the supports he/she needs.
- Suggest that the student’s have responsibility at home.
- Discuss the student’s medical needs with him/her.
- Introduce your child or student to adult role models with disabilities and other coaches or mentors.
- Talk to any agencies that you are already working with and look into identify new possible resources to help your student transition.