Middle & High School Transition Planning
Parents of youth with disabilities should begin thinking about transition (planning for adulthood) as early as possible. Although the formal process of transition planning doesn’t begin until high school, it is helpful to begin thinking about it much sooner.
When a youth reaches the formal transition age (16 in most states), the IEP must contain specific transition goals, plans, and services related to his or her interests and needs. Families are a required partner on the IEP team and play a valuable role in helping support youth as they work to attain their dreams for adulthood.
Today, with many flexible postsecondary education options available, youth with disabilities will want to begin their search early to find the program that best fits their interests and needs. It is helpful for families to begin considering admissions requirements and skills required to help ensure their youth is on track for their desired program.
To successfully transition to the world of work, youth should use the school years to explore careers and engage in meaningful work experiences. Parents can help by becoming aware of community resources that help support employment, and advocate for social skill and work skill development through targeted activities listed in the IEP.
Transition Planning Resources
- The Guideposts for Success: A Framework for Families Preparing Youth for Adulthood
- Documents to Keep for Youth Transitioning to Adult Life
- PACER’s Mapping Your Dreams series, a series of booklets exploring key areas of transition for youth with disabilities: community, education, employment, home living and recreation.
- Transition Planning for Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities: Information for Families and Teens
- Ten Tips That May Help Ease Your Child's Transition to Adulthood
- Transition to Adulthood: Where Do We Start
- Community Resources and Partners - Who is Able to Help?