Although the primary provisions of IDEA focus on the delivery of services for students with disabilities who are in pre-school and school environments, increasing concerns have been raised about whether those students will have the knowledge and skills required to be successful in various post-school environments. As with most students, those with disabilities will find themselves in one or more different post-school environments, depending upon their abilities and interests. They may enroll as students in higher education programs such as colleges and technical or vocational schools. Others may directly enter the workforce. Some may be in supported employment environments or community-based assisted living facilities. All will be required to be able to function as independently as possible in their homes, stores, recreational facilities, public transportation facilities, places of worship, and other settings.
Consequently, it is important that school personnel examine the needs of students with disabilities and work collaboratively with them and their parents or guardians to plan and implement education and related services to ensure that such one is prepared to enter the post-school environment that is most appropriate. This process is known as providing (I missed part in the copying here.)
In response to the above issues, IDEA has three specific mandates related to transition services that must be addressed as part of the IEP planning for each student:
Beginning at age 14, IEP teams must identify the transition service needs of each student under each component of the student's IEP that focuses on the student's course of studies. This would include, for example, participation in a vocational education program for those who might be preparing to enter the workforce directly from school or advanced placement courses for those who may be planning to attend college. In addition, such transition needs must be reviewed and updated annually.
Beginning at age 16, a specific statement of needed transition services must be prepared for each student for whom an IEP is developed. That statement should include, whenever appropriate, a description of the various agencies that should be involved in such services, the various responsibilities of each, and the interagency linkages that might be required. It should be noted that this statement can be developed prior to the student's 16th birthday if it is deemed appropriate by the student's IEP team.
When a student reaches the age of majority, certain rights that their parents had are transferred to them. Beginning at least one year before the child reaches the age of majority under the State Law, students with IEPs must be issued a statement about the rights that they have under IDEA and any that will transfer to them when they meet that age of majority. [Additional information is provided about the transfer of parent rights in the IDEA tutorial on that topic.]
Following are two examples related to the provision of transition services. As you read each one, reflect on the requirements of IDEA that were described in the previous section and indicate whether the school district is in compliance with the law.
Josh is entering his senior year in high school and is in the academic track commonly used by students who are preparing for college careers after graduation. He is enrolled in several Advanced Placement classes. Shortly after obtaining his driver's license late in his junior year, he was in an automobile accident that left him unable to walk. He uses a wheelchair and has partial use of his dominant arm. When he returned to school, he was referred for special education services. Members of his IEP team recommended that he be provided with a laptop computer that he could take to class for notetaking and for preparing reports. They concluded that learning to use the computer would enable him to participate in the remainder of his high school courses and contribute to his goal of being successful in college.
Is the school in compliance with the IDEA requirements for the delivery of transition services for Josh?
Carla is a student with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities. She is 13 years of age and is in an ungraded middle school program that provides a variety of activities that enable her to obtain direct instruction on needed topics. She also has opportunities to interact with age-equivalent peers. Her IEP team concluded that Carla may eventually require an initial placement in a supported employment environment upon completion of her school career. Subsequently, they established a series of goals that would be targeted toward transition to such an environment. Those goals related to the development of skills associated with interpersonal relationships, grooming, remaining on task, and following instructions. It was specified that those skills be developed within the context of a community-based instructional program.
Is the school in compliance with the IDEA requirements for the delivery of transition services for Carla? (Click on your decision.)
Requirements for transition services are located in Section 614 of IDEA which covers Evaluations, Eligibility Determinations, Individualized Education Programs, and Educational Placements (d)(1)(A)(vii).
Requirements for transfer of parent rights are located in Section 615 of IDEA which covers Procedural Safeguards (m).