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Section 1

ak dept education

special ed handbook


On December 3, 2004, President George W. Bush signed into effect, Public Law 108-446, what is otherwise known as the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Improvement Act (IDEA).  It took the U.S. Department of Education almost two years to develop new federal regulations.  On August 14, 2006, these new regulations were published.  The new regulations took effect 60 days later on October 13, 2006.

IDEA builds on the concept that every student with a disability is entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE).  FAPE provides special education and related services to students with disabilities at the public’s expense, free and without charge. 

An important component of IDEA 2004 was the directive that every eligible student has appropriate, measurable postsecondary goals.  These goals are based upon age appropriate assessments that are related to training, education, employment, and where needed independent living skills.  A statement of needed transition services is to be incorporated into the students Individualized Education Program (IEP). 

Transition Services Definition

Transition Services are defined in 34 CFR 300.43 as a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that:
  • Is designed to be within a results oriented process, that is focused in improving academic and functional achievement of a child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;
  • Is based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences, and interests; and includes:
    • Instruction;
    • Related services;
    • Community experiences
    • The development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives; and
    • If appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocational evaluation.
Transition services for children with disabilities may be special education, if provided as specially designed instruction, or a related service, if required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.

Transition Individualized Education Program

Transition services are to begin not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updating annually, thereafter.  It states that the IEP must include:
  • Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to trainings, education, employment and where appropriate, independent living skills; and
  • The transition services (including course of study) needed to assist the child in reaching these goals.
Age of Majority

Beginning no later than one year before the child reaches the age of 18 which is referred to as age of majority, the IEP must include a statement that the child has been informed of his or her rights.

Transition services IEP Team participants

When transition services are being discussed, the following things must occur:
  • The public agency must invite a child with a disability to attend the IEP Team meeting if the purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of the postsecondary goals for the child and the transition services needed to assist the child in reaching those goals.
  • If the child does not attend the IEP Team meeting, the public agency must take other steps to ensure that the child’s preferences and interests are considered.
  • To the extent appropriate, with the consent of the parents or a child who has reached the age of majority, the public agency must invite a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transitions services.
The parent or LEA have the discretion to invite other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate.

Team Attendance

A member of the IEP Team is not required to attend an IEP Team meeting either in part or in whole if the parent of the child with the disability and the public agency agree, in writing that the attendance of this member is not necessary because the members area of curriculum or related service is not being discussed or modified in the meeting.

A member of the IEP Team may be excused from attending the IEP meeting in part, or in whole, when the meeting discusses or is going to modify that members area of curriculum or related service if the parent and the public agency in writing consent to the excusal of the member and the member submits in writing prior to the meeting to the parent and the IEP Team, any input into the development of the IEP.  This must be done prior to the meeting.

Parent Notice

If the purpose of an IEP meeting is to consider transition services needed for a special education student, the meeting notice must indicate:
  • That the purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of the postsecondary goals and transition services for the child.
  • The agency will invite the student.
  • Identify any other agency that will be invited to send a representative.

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