Transition, IEP, and Planning
Preparing for the Transition IEP
Planning for the successful transition of your child is complex. There are many issues to be addressed, time is short and the stakes are high. It takes the cooperation and involvement of parents, students, professionals and agencies. Working together, successful transition from school to adult life can occur, and perhaps more importantly, the quality of life for all involved can be enriched. For this reason, your primary responsibility is to be involved and to help provide the experiences for your child to learn new skills. Involvement is often time-consuming and challenging. Yet at the same time, it can be rewarding and presents many payoffs.
Tips for Involvement
There are several things you can do for and with your child to make a successful transition from school to work.
For your child
- From an early age assign your child specific jobs and chores around the house. We all must perform duties around the house to help the family function in an effective manner. Your child with a disability is no different. If an allowance is involved, payment should be made based upon the successful and timely completion of assigned duties.
- Support the school’s efforts in securing and using community-based training sites. One way to support your school’s effort in providing appropriate training is to make sure your child attends school on a regular basis. In addition, once your child is in school regularly, you can assist the school by letting your friends know of the school's attempt to find community training sites. Perhaps they have a business or know of a business owner who would be willing to let his or her business be a training site. Perhaps another friend would donate an apartment to teach independent living skills.
- Contact your local adult service agencies and Department of Mental Health (Regional Office) to find out about services each provides.
- Find a job outside the home for your child to do after school, on weekends and during the summer. Getting your child accustomed to following a schedule, being on time, and being around other people are valuable skills to have in the years after school.
- Make sure that vocational training in specific jobs is built into your child’s IEP. Experiencing training in real jobs in the community has been demonstrated to be the most effective method of providing vocational training, especially to students with more severe disabilities. By the time your child is in his or her last year of school, a large portion, if not all, of the school day should be spent in vocational training in the community, hopefully in a position with wages.
- Teach your child about his or her disability and the accommodations he or she needs. In order to be able to self-advocate, your child will need to know how his or her disability impacts the ability to succeed in meeting long-range goals. Your child also will need to know what kinds of support or accommodations that are needed to function.
With your child
Before the IEP, the student can:
- Learn about his or her learning styles, interests and explore options that may be available after graduation
- Create or add to a transition portfolio with employment history, volunteer experience, sample applications, employer evaluations, references, resumes, test results, names of agency representatives who have helped, etc.
- Understand the IEP process and terms used
- Personally invite others to the IEP meeting
- Learn to lead the IEP meeting
- Write out questions he or she may want to ask during the meeting