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May 2, 2023 in Down Syndrome

How to plan students with disabilities transition from school to adult life

Raising children with disabilities is not an easy task, especially when helping them transit from one step to another. Human beings encounter different transition stages while they grow and some are challenging, for example adolescents’ life, when they have to transition to adulthood. This stage can be more challenging with special needs children and those with disabilities. As these children transition to adulthood, they move to a system with fewer services and support. Under federal law, individuals with disabilities are protected by the Disabilities and Education Act which gives students with disabilities the right to free and proper education that prepares them for further education, employment, and adulthood.

But what is transition? Transition is all about how to help a child or an adolescent move from school-based services to life after school. Transition services under federal law are a coordinated set of activities for students designed within a results-oriented process promoting movement from school to post-school activities, including vocational education, integrated employment, post-secondary education, community participation, and independent living.

The transition should be based on the student’s individual needs while considering their interests, strengths, and experiences. For a proper and successful transition, there is a need for a proper plan for this transition. Planning provides a framework for identifying long-range goals, services, and strategies to help these children as they snake the shift.
When to start the transition planning
Transition can be so scary to both the kids and their caregivers, but the important thing is to be ready by preparing ahead of time and understand the kind of support you are likely to get. Any child that qualifies for special education under IDEA should have an IEP that gives the annual details and annual goals and supports needed to meet those goals.
Generally, the planning for transition should begin at 14 years, and this time, the IEP must reflect the post-school goals. At 14, the IEP should include a statement of transition service requirements. The transition needs to describe the course of study and allows the IEP team to consider various educational experiences in the community and school to help students achieve their post-school goals.
When the transition services should start
Transition services should start as soon as the child turns 16. In this school year, the IEP should have a statement of required transition services. This includes a description of a coordinated set of strategies and activities that will lead to the anticipated post-school outcomes. Activities and strategies to be included in the statement of needed transition services

  • Community experiences
  • Daily living skills
  • Post-school adult living objectives
  • Functional vocational evaluation
  • Instruction
  • Related services

What a parent can do to plan for students with disabilities to transition
It is not only the parent of a student with disabilities transition, but also family members can take action in this plan. Here are the best ways families can help plan for a student with a disability to transit effectively.

  • Attending meetings involving transition planning
  • Taking part in transition assessments
  • Supporting the adult child’s self-advocacy and determination at an early stage.
  • Availing relevant information to the team about your disabled child regarding the medical and social information and the truth about your guardianship and financial issues.

What a disabled student can do in planning for their transition
While the parent will be in the frontline helping their disabled student to transit effectively in their adult life, the student will have a role to play. However, the parent or guardian can help these students go through what they can do. Here students can do the following.

  • Monitoring and recording every experience they face or encounter related to adult activities at home, school, or in the community. Such activities could be recreational, leadership roles, jobs, and internships.
  • Setting objectives and goals related to learning and exploration
  • Sharing your passion as well as needs with others
  • Enabling yourself to accommodate what is more helpful for your abilities
  • Leading your transition and IEP planning groups
  • Designing a resume

Achieving a successful post-school outcome is everyone’s goal and wish. However, the successful transition from childhood to adulthood for students needs proper planning depending on support services needed in adult life and the disability of the child. As the planning for transition starts, the roles of various stakeholders, including students, families, and special education educators, start to change taking different directions.

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