Moving from school to adulthood…

Did you know that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that transition services for children who receive special education services begin at age 16—or younger if appropriate?

Take advantage of this window of opportunity. Get involved proactively in creating a plan to help your child or student experience possibilities for a meaningful life as an adult.

What your sons, daughters, or students do after high school, where they live, and how they take care of themselves should all be addressed several years before the end of high school. Areas to include in planning include:

  • Strengths/Interests
  • Needs
  • Health
  • Finance
  • Recreation
  • Relationships with other people
  • Transportation
  • Communication

Regardless of whether future plans include college, paid work in the community, volunteer work, or activities at home, your child or student deserves to experiment with a range of options on his journey to life beyond high school.

By law, a young adult is entitled to special education services until:

  • the student graduates with a regular diploma;
  • based on a reevaluation the student is no longer eligible for special education services; or
  • the student has reached the age of 21 on or before August 31 and therefore is no longer eligible for special education services.

After leaving the school system, things change:

  • The individual must initiate services (i.e., no one is required to find the person to offer services);
  • The individual must prove her eligibility for services with various adult service agencies (e.g., Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Developmental Disabilities); and
  • There likely will be a waiting list for services.

Have you begun to think about these issues? Has your child or student’s team begun to plan for this developmental stage?

To help you in planning, download our checklist of major topics that need to be addressed in the child’s or student’s transition plan (part of the IEP process). Remember—these topics must be addressed by a student’s 16th birthday.

It’s never too soon to begin planning for transition.

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