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Section 14

ak dept education

special ed handbook
SECTION 14
SECONDARY TRANSITION SERVICES

The intent of the secondary transition services requirements in IDEA 2004 is to improve the quality of life of young adults with disabilities. The goal is to ensure that every student has access to the services that are necessary for him or her to achieve their desired post-school outcomes and to have services in place before leaving the school setting. Transition planning, as a focus for a student's IEP, may begin at any point in a student's educational life prior to age 16.

There must be a statement of appropriate measurable post secondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments related to:
  1. training,
  2. education,
  3. employment, and
  4. independent living skills, when appropriate.
By age 16, transition services, which include, but are not limited to, courses of study, needed to assist the child in reaching his or her goals must be included in the IEP.

The IEP process should include the active participation of the student in developing a vision or blueprint to prepare him/her for adult life. Using this method, the IEP Team:
  1. Thinks about the student's dreams and goals for the future.
  2. Learns how the student is currently performing.
  3. Identifies what the student will learn and do this year and in the remaining years in school to achieve the dreams and goals for the future.
  4. Identifies the supports and services the student needs for success.
  5. Stays as close as possible to what the student's peers are learning and doing.
Definition of Transition Services

Transition services are defined as follows:
  1. A coordinated set of activities, designed within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the student and facilitates the student's movement from school programs to post-secondary activities, including post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;
  2. Based on the individual student's needs, taking into account the student's strengths, preferences and interests; and
  3. Includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
Note: Transition services may be special education if they are specially designed instruction, or related services if they are required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education.

A Process for Addressing Transition Services through the IEP

The IEP Team must view transition planning as the focus of the IEP by the time the student is age 16. Transition planning is an integral component of the IEP, rather than a single or separate event in the IEP process. That is why the revised IEP forms contained in Appendix D require IEP Teams to identify the student's desired post-school outcomes before proceeding to the other IEP components. The transition statements, LRE sections, related services, participation in general education curriculum, annual goals, short-term objectives/benchmarks, etc. must all be related and integrated.

A recommended IEP meeting process designed to focus and coordinate the IEP planning, discussion, and decision making toward preparation for the adult world is described below. This process recognizes that each step in the discussion, planning, and decision-making builds upon the previous step and has a direct relation to all other steps. This process ties all the IEP pieces together, and results in a coordinated plan that helps students prepare for adult life (see Appendix G for additional information on secondary transition).

Step 1: Identify the student's post-school desired outcomes, goals or vision.
Step 2: Describe the student's present level of academic achievement and functional performance.
Step 3: Design a statement of transition service needs.
Step 4: Design a statement of needed transition services (including, but not limited to, course of study).
Step 5: Determine annual goals and short-term objectives/benchmarks (when appropriate).

Recommended IEP Team Members and Their Roles
  1. Student
  2. Actively participates in all discussions and decisions.
  3. Communicates strengths, areas of needed assistance, academic progress, desired post school goals, and personal preferences and interests.

    Many schools have found that with support and instruction, young adults may effectively lead their own IEP Team meetings.

  4. Parent and/or family members
    1. Provide information on student's strengths, areas where assistance is needed, chores and activities at home, hopes, and concerns.
    2. Is actively engaged and an equal partner in the planning, discussion and decision-making.
  5. Special education teacher
    1. Provides information on the student's strengths, current IEP goals and progress towards achieving desired post-school outcomes, and strategies for effectively teaching the student.
  6. District Representative
    1. Assumes responsibility for allocating resources and making decisions to ensure that the IEP is implemented.
  7. Regular education teacher
    1. Provides insight on courses of study in the general education curriculum that will help the student achieve his or her post-school goals.
    2. Assists in identifying needed modifications and adaptations for access to the general education curriculum and on state and district-wide assessments.
    3. Provides positive behavioral strategies or interventions and suggestions for needed school personnel supports.
  8. Agency Representatives
    1. Provide information about various services provided by the agency, eligibility criteria, and procedures for accessing services.
    2. Assumes responsibility for paying for specific transition services.
Transition Requirements at Age 16

The IEP for each student, beginning not later than the IEP in effect when the child turns 16 (or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team), must include a statement of appropriate measurable post secondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills and the transition services (including, but not limited to, the student’s courses of study needed to assist the student in reaching those goals. The statement of transition service needs is the identification of, and planning for, educational courses (required, elective, modified or specially designed courses as well as other educational experiences in the school or the community) that the student will be taking in each grade after turning 16 years old. The concept is to identify not only the required courses that lead toward graduation or completion of a secondary program, but also to think about, plan for, and ensure that all courses and educational experiences will help the student achieve his or her desired post-school goals (O'Leary, 1998). This statement must be updated yearly.

The IEP Team must also consider, at a minimum, the following areas: instruction, related services, community experiences, employment, and post-school adult living objectives. If it is determined appropriate, then the statement must also address daily living skills and the need for a functional vocational evaluation. While the IEP Team may determine that a student does not require services in all transition planning areas, this decision should be made based on the individual needs of the student after carefully considering each planning area. A brief description of each planning area follows:
  1. Instruction – use of formal techniques to impart knowledge. Typically provided in schools, but could be provided by other entities in other locations.
  2. Related Services – transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education.
  3. Community Experiences – services provided outside of the school building, in community settings or other agencies.
  4. Employment/Other Post-School Adult Living Objectives – services that lead to a job or career, and important adult activities. Services could be provided by schools or other agencies.
  5. Daily Living Skills (when appropriate) – activities adults do every day. Services could be provided by schools or other agencies.
  6. Functional Vocational Evaluation (when appropriate) – assessment that provides information about job or career interest, aptitudes and skills. Assessments could be provided by school or other agencies.
(Adapted from: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Transition Requirements, A Guide for States, Districts, Schools and Families, 1996)

Assistive Technology

The provision of assistive technology devices and services may play a part in the transition of students from school to adult environments. Assistive technology services may include training and technical assistance for professionals, employers or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of individuals with disabilities.

The IEP Team should consider the existing technology needs of the student and any future technology needs in the adult environment. Transition planning should include strategies for acquiring new assistive technology devices to replace needed technology that is the property of the school district.

Agency Responsibilities

The transition planning process should help the IEP Team identify the interagency responsibilities and/or linkages needed to assist the student in transitioning to adult living and working environments. Adult service providers should be involved actively in the planning process, and the IEP should show evidence of anticipating the future services that the student will need.Agencies working as part of the IEP Team determine who bears the cost of necessary transition services. The IEP transition statement should include the interagency linkages necessary to communicate the shared responsibility for transition services between the District and all appropriate agencies and/or providers.The school district does not have the sole financial responsibility and is not to be held liable for failure of another agency to implement transition services outlined in the IEP that are the designated responsibility of another agency. However, if a public agency fails to provide agreed upon transition services, the District is responsible for reconvening a meeting of all participants on the IEP Team to identify alternative strategies to be implemented to meet the transition objectives that were included in the student's IEP.Alternative strategies might include identifying another funding source, involving another agency, or identifying other district-wide or community resources that can be used to meet the student's identified needs. If an agency fails to provide or pay for special education or related services, including transition services, the District must, without delay, provide or pay for the service and may then claim reimbursement.

Interagency Cooperative Agreements

Each district must develop and implement written referral procedures for students who require transition services from other agency service providers. These procedures include:
  1. Disseminating information about agency services and eligibility criteria to appropriate staff, students with disabilities and their parent/guardian;
  2. Providing agencies with lists of students to be screened for eligibility for agency services in accordance with confidentiality policies; and
  3. Providing agency service providers with educational histories, evaluations, and current IEPs on students referred for services in accordance with confidentiality policies.
Each district is encouraged to develop interagency agreements and annual implementation plans that detail specific activities to be undertaken by the District and other agency service providers in order to refine and improve the transition process. EED has developed a statewide cooperative agreement with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) that districts are encouraged to base local agreements upon with their local DVR provider.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is an important factor to consider as the IEP Team expands to meet the individual needs of students. The invitation to the IEP meeting is one way to provide all participants with notification of who will be included on the planning team.

If information contained in the records of a student with a disability is to be released to an agency other than another educational agency, the school district must ensure that written consent is provided by the parent and/or student prior to the release of any confidential information (see Appendix E for sample Authorization for Release of Confidential Information form).

Program Completion


High school graduation is considered a change of placement for a child with a disability. The District's responsibility for providing special education and related services ends upon the granting of a regular high school diploma or when the student is no longer eligible for services due to age. A properly prepared transition plan should indicate the proposed date for termination of special education services. An IEP meeting should be held at an appropriate time before the student graduates or special education services are terminated. Parents must be provided with written notice, including their due process rights, and have access to due process hearing procedures.

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