Secondary Transitions

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))

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