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Transition Components of the IEP

Please note the page/ website you’re currently using has replaced as of August 14, 2020.

So what role does a student’s special education program have in preparing for Life After High School?

In this session we will discuss the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which guarantees students with disabilities get the support and services they need to receive a free and appropriate public education. In Colorado these services are available until the age of 21 or until the students graduate with a high school diploma.

Federal law requires students have a written transition plan included in their IEP by the age of 16. Keep in mind that here in Colorado, it’s required by age 15. This plan must define their areas of interest and life goals as well as the skills they need to achieve those goals after high school.

Let’s explore the importance of transition planning as part of the IEP process.

When your student turns 15, the Individualized Education Program process begins to include discussions about life after high school. These transition components of the IEP focus on the development of three post-secondary outcomes: education and training, career and employment, and all other aspects of adult independent living.

  • Appropriate curricula tailored to meet Education and Training goals might include:
  • career and technical education courses,
  • instruction in functional reading and mathematics, or
  • support in identifying and gaining access to accommodation based on their disabilities.

Examples of transition services related to Career and Employment could include:

  • instruction in interview skills and resume writing,
  • unpaid work experience such as working in the school store or library,
  • volunteer activities outside of school, or
  • credit for paid work after school.

Regardless of whether students will live alone or with friends after high school, transition services can provide lessons and practice activities to help them develop Independent Living Skills, like shopping for groceries on their own using a list; preparing meals; cleaning and doing laundry; and accessing public transportation to get to work or the local recreation center.

The IEP should consider your student’s goals for the future when determining an appropriate high school curriculum. The team, including you and your student, will work together to assess and identify the student’s strengths, skills and preferences.

Take time as a family to discuss what your student’s dreams are for their future. Do they want to work full-time or part time? Do they like working with people, or data, or machinery? If they go to college, what do they want to study? Where do they want to live? How will they get from place to place? Adult friends, neighbors, pastors and scout leaders can also help these young people explore new ideas and develop personal goals as they get older.

An important and fundamental part of the transition IEP planning process is making connections to various community resources that are available for students and their families. Including information on things like recreation options and how to attain support from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, Social Security, and Medicaid, can help ensure continued support once they complete high school. The IEP planning session should be about all types of services and supports that are available to the young adult.

In addition to helping your student make connections to official agencies and sources of support, remember that you too are an important resource during this transition period. Help your student to become comfortable with public transportation by using it as a family. Invite him or her to visit your place of employment to learn how people make a living. Make appointments with local disability service coordinators at the community college to better understand what college supports might be available when needed. Ask your student’s teacher for contact info and online resources as you acquaint yourselves with the vast resources available throughout you community.

Click here for helpful tips about the IEP Process...

The transition components of the IEP are reviewed each year starting at age 15 and continuing until the termination of public education services. In Colorado, school districts can continue to provide services beyond four years of high school, and based upon continued work in addressing the post-secondary goals. It is important to take advantage of the transition components of the IEP to set the student up for success in their life after high school.

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This content was created by the Jeffco Transition Alliance Group (or TAG).  TAG was a collaboration among The Arc – Jefferson, Clear Creek & Gilpin Counties, the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center (DDRC) and Jeffco Public Schools. In partnership and with grant funding from DDRC, a series of family-focused trainings were delivered in past school years to equip students and their families in navigating a successful transition in their Life After High School. Due to family and community feedback the information was converted to self-guided learning.

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