Secondary Transition


The transition from high school to college or the workplace is an exciting time for any student. But for students with disabilities, this period is marked by additional questions and concerns. 

What is transition planning?

Transition planning covers everything from academic and nonacademic coursework to employment and training opportunities, as well as decisions about where to live and what to do for fun and socialization. One of the goals of transition is to help youth better understand their disabilities, and to participate in the choices that determine their future. 

Transition does this by connecting students with teachers and other caring adults, support services and experiences that build skills and help them reach their goals. Successful transition is based on family values, priorities and culture, with a focus on individual strengths, interests, preferences and needs. 

Transition planning includes four key components:

  • Employment. What does your child want to do to earn a living and become a productive member of society? How can the schools prepare the student for these goals? Are these goals realistic?
  • Postsecondary education and/or training. Where will my child acquire the skills needed to meet these goals? How will they pay for this education or training? What agencies will assist in meeting these goals?
  • Independent living. Is my child capable of living independently as an adult? What skills does the student need to live as independently as possible?
  • Community participation. How will my child be involved in the community? What about recreation, church activities and other organizations? Can they get around in the community independently?

Your child’s school will discuss transition planning at each meeting where the annual Individual Education Program, or IEP, is developed. Your involvement—and that of your child—is important to this process. 

Learn how you can help in developing a transition plan.