This issue of Inspiring Possibilities includes helpful family-friendly resources about transition planning in high school for youth with disabilities including back-to-school resources to start the year strong. View Online.
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Between issues of Inspiring Possibilities, you can stay up to date on the latest family-friendly, transition-related news, information, and resources via our National Parent Center on Employment and Transition’s Facebook page. In addition to helping you stay informed, we also celebrate the successes of individuals, the broader disability community, and living in an inclusive community. Join us on Facebook!

Middle and 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. For tips and tools as students head back to school, check out PACER's Middle and High School Transition Planning Learning Center as well as a quick video about Understanding Measurable Postsecondary Goals in the IEP.

PACER Resources about Transition Planning

Among the many PACER resources available in our Resource Library, there are specific tips and tools to consider during the transition planning process. Whether families are beginning their transition journey or are ready for a refresher, the following guides are good places to start:

Back to School from is a helpful website for families of students with learning and attention issues of all ages. Two recent articles for back-to-school success offer individualized support and ideas for families:

  • Start School Strong – Input your child's grade, whether you're interested in supporting academic, social or organizational skills, and if your child has a plan in place. Then explore tips, tools, and videos personalized for your needs.
  • Back-to-School Tips from Understood’s Founding Partners – How can you help your child thrive in the new school year? National non-profit organizations in the field of learning and attention issues offer 9 tips for success.

Introducing Your Child to the School Community Using a “Student Snapshot”

As the expert on your child, you have valuable information to share with the people who will interact with your child during the school day. Use this Student Snapshot (pdf) as a way to share information such as likes, dislikes, strengths, challenges, and goals. This can be a great way to start the school year on a positive note especially with new teachers and staff that will be interacting with your child.

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Transition Guide

In May of 2017, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services re-published their Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities (pdf). This document is meant to ensure that all students and youth with disabilities are equipped with the skills and knowledge to be engaged in the 21st century workforce. The guide includes four main sections:

  • Transition Planning: Opportunities and Programs to Prepare Students with Disabilities for Success
  • Transition Services and Requirements: IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act
  • Options After Leaving Secondary School: Education and Employment Goals
  • Supporting Student-Made Decisions: Preparation for Adult Life

Guideposts for Success

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability’s Guideposts for Success offers a framework to assist with the successful transition to adulthood. Youth with disabilities and their families can use the Guideposts in developing any individualized plans, such as Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE) and other service plans. The five Guideposts include: school-based preparatory experiences, career preparation and work-based learning experiences, youth development and leadership, connecting activities, and family involvement and supports.

PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment® provides quality information and resources for families of young adults with disabilities on transition planning, civil rights, work-based learning, career accommodations, higher education, financial aid, and much more! Whether just starting the transition planning process or searching for information on a specific topic, is a comprehensive source of information designed to support families’ varied needs.
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