Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), transition planning from school to adult life begins, at the latest, during high school. Transition planning is required, by law, to start once a student reaches 16 years of age, or younger, if appropriate. This transition planning becomes formalized as part of the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Transition services are intended to prepare students to make the transition from the world of school to the world of adulthood. In planning what type of transition services a student needs to prepare for adulthood, the IEP team must first consider areas such as vocational training, community employment and post-secondary education for the student. If the IEP team thinks that independent living and community participation are appropriate for a student then these areas should also be considered.

The transition services themselves are a coordinated set of activities that are based on an individual transition assessment that identifies the student’s needs, preferences and interests. Transition services are crucial in supporting students as they plan for post-school goals. Transition plans assist students in meeting their post-school goals, such as: gainful employment, post-secondary education or training, independent living, military, and/or group living. These plans are designed to meet individual needs as they progress through school.

OSEP Indicator 13 Guidance

Percent of youth with IEPs aged 16 and above with an IEP that includes appropriate measurable postsecondary goals that are annually updated and based upon an age appropriate transition assessment, transition services, including courses of study, that will reasonably enable the student to meet those postsecondary goals, and annual IEP goals related to the student’s transition services needs. There also must be evidence that the student was invited to the IEP Team meeting where transition services are to be discussed and evidence that, if appropriate, a representative of any participating agency was invited to the IEP Team meeting with the prior consent of the parent or student who has reached the age of majority. (20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B))

Guidance Documents

Recommendations and best practices for successful student transition. Authored by the Wyoming 2013 Community of Practice in Transition.

Related Links

  • Eye-to-Eye Program
    Eye-to-Eye is a national program that matches high school and college students with learning disabilities (mentors) with elementary, middle, and high school students with learning disabilities in mentor-mentee relationships. Its purpose is for the mentees to gain skills and have a greater understanding of their learning differences; mentees will have increased self-advocacy, increased meta-cognitive skills, and increased understanding and use of asset-based learning strategies. These increases in skills and understanding will in turn improve student outcomes such as achievement.
  • National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC)
    NSTTAC was an OSEP-funded TA Center from January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2014. NSTTAC’s purpose was to provide technical assistance information to State Education Agencies, Local Education Authorities, schools, and other stakeholders to implement and scale up evidence-based practices leading to improved academic and functional achievement for students with disabilities, preparing them for college or other postsecondary education and training and the workforce.  NSTTAC’s resources, including training manuals, lesson plans, and guides are still available on the website.
  • National Technical Assistance Center on Transition
    NTACT succeeds NSTTAC as the new OSEP-funded TA center on secondary transition of students with disabilities.  It will be funded January 2015-December 2019.  The website is currently under construction.
  • Think College Wyoming
    Think College Wyoming offers college experiences for young adults with intellectual disability.  Students enrolled in TCW follow the inclusive individual support model that facilitates access to and participation in college courses.