Transition from School to Adult Life Families, Parents and/or Support Persons for
Students with Disabilities, Ages 14 - 22
Transition planning is a great opportunity for you and your son, daughter or the student you are supporting to take a leadership role in setting goals and directions for the future.
- begins at age 14 in Illinois and continues until the student graduates or reaches age 21
- prepares students for life after high school
- helps students plan for and choose high school courses
- helps students decide what skills they need to develop to live and work in their community after high school
- gives students the opportunity to explore work and career options while still in high school
- helps students and families make connections with education and training programs, colleges, agencies and support services for after high school to continue working toward goals
- helps students and the entire IEP team learn about student interests, what works and doesn't work in their lifestyle, their skills and talents, and who can help in achieving specific student goals
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004 defines what must happen in transition planning. To learn more about transition in the new IDEIA, go to any of the following links:
Secondary Transition in IDEA 2004 (May 2005)
This document from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education highlights the changes from IDEA 1997 to IDEA 2004 regarding transition services. This document does not address any changes that may be made by the final regulations.
IDEA Information from NICHCY in English and Spanish
NICHCY, the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, has pages with information about IDEA 2004 in both English and Spanish. Both pages include background information on IDEA 2004 and links to the text of the statute, draft regulations, and OSEP-reviewed materials on the law.
IDEA 2004 -- Wrightslaw
The authorization of any new law brings differing interpretations and questions. The purpose of this page from Wrightslaw is to help you find answers to your questions and learn to do your own legal research. It includes the following sections: Law & Regulations, Guidance from the Department of Education, Articles, IDEA News, and Publications & Reports. http://www.wrightslaw.com/idea/index.htm
How Can Families, Parents and Guardians Help Begin Planning for the Future?
Parents, families and guardians can assist the transition planning team by helping to find answers to the follow questions:
What are the student's...
- Long-range employment and life goals?
- Interests and talents?
- Learning styles?
- Positive personality traits?
- Social skills?
- Work experiences (paid, volunteer, at home, at school, in the community) and where might he/she like to work?
- Specific challenges and strategies for dealing with them?
- Needs for accommodations and support?
- Options after high school (college, trade school, military, employment, living arrangements, healthcare, recreation, etc.)?
Effective transition planning is the result of teamwork over the course of the student's time in the education system.
Don't wait until graduation or age 21 to think about what your student wants to do or he/she may:
- sit at home with nothing to do
- be stuck in a "dead end" job
- wait...and wait...and wait for services from adult community service agencies
- spend his or her days at a job training workshop earning far less than minimum wage and have little assistance in finding a "real" job
DO provide support and mentoring to assist your student to make a plan for him or her self. DO ask your family, friends, neighbors, school teachers and counselors to help you along the way. Do use links here to get started.
Networking for Success
It is important to apply for benefits such as SSI or Medicaid before turning 18, and to get connected to adult service providers if supports will be needed in life for vocational, residential, transportation or other needs. Finding out what various options are should be part of your transition plan, so you can be set when leaving school with whatever supports or services you need as an independent adult. While in school, your IEP and team can spell out what assistance you may need, but once out of school, it will be up to each individual to make known what their special needs are whether on a job site or in college.
Supplemental Security Income (Part 1 of 3): A Bridge to Work
This parent brief is part 1 of a 3-part series on supplemental security income. This brief gives parents of youth with disabilities practical information about how youth can use Social Security work incentives to facilitate a gradual transition from dependence on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to partial or complete financial independence. Social Security work incentives allow a recipient of Supplemental Security Income to earn wages while maintaining SSI cash benefits and Medicaid. Background information, definitions, and specific financial criteria for using SSI work incentives are included. http://www.ncset.org/publications/viewdesc.asp?id=937
Supplemental Security Income (Part 2 of 3): So You Have Decided to Apply
This parent brief is part 2 of a 3-part series on supplemental security income. The brief is tailored for parents of youth with disabilities and provides a detailed description of the process for applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The brief outlines four elements, including a) the process of making an appointment with a Social Security Administration representative, b) the specific steps in applying for benefits, c) criteria that the Social Security Administration uses to determine an applicant's eligibility, and d) information about the evaluation conducted if the Social Security Administration cannot initially make a decision about your child's eligibility. http://www.ncset.org/publications/viewdesc.asp?id=938
Supplemental Security Income (Part 3 of 3): Your Right to Appeal
This brief guides parents through the Supplemental Security Income appeals process, providing information about why many applications are denied, how the decisions are made, and how applicants can respond effectively. The brief provides detailed information about the four levels of appeal and discusses three case studies. http://www.ncset.org/publications/viewdesc.asp?id=1150
Age of Majority: Preparing Your Child for Making Good Choices
(May 2002) NCSET Parent Brief
This brief stresses the importance of involving young people in setting their own high school goals and planning for their transition to adulthood. It outlines significant considerations parents face in helping their children reach the age of majority, including development of decision-making skills, understanding transfer of rights, and issues related to guardianship.
Parenting Postsecondary Students with Disabilities: Becoming the Mentor, Advocate, and Guide Your Young Adult Needs
(March 2002) NCSET Parent Brief
This brief focuses on the importance of involving parents in the transition from high school to the post-secondary environment, and provides concrete recommendations to help parents learn to mentor and advocate for their post-secondary youth. The brief includes parent resources and references.
See Spanish Version of this Parent Brief. http://www.ncset.org/publications/viewdesc.asp?id=2127
Self-Determination: Supporting Successful Transition
(April 2003) NCSET Research to Practice Brief
Volume 2 , Issue 1
This brief outlines research on self-determination suggesting that youth with disabilities who actively direct their own lives are more likely to successfully transition into adult life. In addition, the brief addresses development of self-determination skills and student-led Individualized Education Program meetings. Also included are descriptions and contact information for several self-determination curricula and helpful Web links.
Supporting Dynamic Development of Youth with Disabilities During Transition:
A Guide for Families (March 2004)
NCSET Information Brief
Volume 3 , Issue 2
This brief offers concrete, useful information about adolescent development to guide families in supporting youth with disabilities. It also provides the compassionate perspective of a parent of a youth with a disability regarding the transition process. Finally, the brief offers a list of further resources.
Person-Centered Planning: A Tool for Transition
NCSET Parent Brief
This brief provides a concise description of person-centered planning and an explanation of the benefits of this process. The brief also provides action steps for implementing person-centered planning, references within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that support the process, and a list of additional resources. http://www.ncset.org/publications/viewdesc.asp?id=1431
See Spanish Version of this Parent Brief. http://www.ncset.org/publications/viewdesc.asp?id=2126
Illinois Lifespan Advocacy Information and Referral
Part of Illinois Lifespan's advocacy toolbox to help a young adult create a vision and use current information and resources to pursue their dream. 1-800-588-7002
Illinois State Board of Education, Special Education Services Division
Illinois Interagency Coordinating Council
The Illinois Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) was established in 1990 by the Interagency Coordinating Council Act, 20 ILCS 3970 to facilitate collaboration among state agencies and improve outcomes for youth with disabilities. The ICC is charged with: gathering and coordinating data on services for transition-age youth with disabilities; providing information, consultation, and technical assistance to state and local stakeholders; assisting state and local stakeholders in establishing interagency transition agreements; conducting an annual statewide evaluation of student transition outcomes and needs; and providing in-service training to consumers in developing and improving awareness of transition services. Establishing interagency linkages can be of enormous benefit to students planning to transition to adulthood. The ICC Website provides vast amounts of transition-related resources.
Visit the site at:
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET) coordinates national resources, offers technical assistance, and disseminates information related to secondary education and transition for youth with disabilities in order to create opportunities for youth to achieve successful futures.
National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability
Link to detailed questions and answers in separate sections for youth and families to guide the transition from a young student to a young adult who is taking charge of his or her own life and actively pursuing interests.
Family Center on Technology and Disability
Formed by United Cerebral Palsy Associations and partner organizations to provide assistance to programs and organizations to respond to the technology needs of parents and families of children and youth with disabilities. This site includes information on model programs, success stories, links, and more.
A site focused around the issues of children and youth with special health care needs. Families throughout the United States that have children with special health care needs, as well as caregivers, professionals, and friends provide content. The site provides breaking news, data and research, and quick links.
National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)
The National Center on Educational Outcomes provides national leadership in the participation of students with disabilities in national and state assessments, standards-setting efforts, and graduation requirements. This Web site provides information about NCEO, its projects, research findings and online publications, and other related resources. The Special Topic Areas lead you to additional information, including topic-specific publications that you can download.
National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
The National Council on Independent Living is a membership organization that advances the independent living philosophy and advocates for the human rights of, and services for, people with disabilities to further their full integration and participation in society. Every state has one or more Centers for Independent Living, and many have programs specifically geared toward supporting and supplementing transition planning that takes place in the school. They can also assist with the transition from school to adult life through additional programs offered through the Centers. To get more information or find your local Centers, visit this Web site:
National Youth Employment Coalition
NYEC is a non-partisan national organization dedicated to promoting policies and initiatives that help youth succeed in becoming lifelong learners, productive workers, and self-sufficient citizens. This site contains information on legislation, best practices, and leadership development, as well as a host of projects and initiatives.
National Youth Leadership Network (NLYN)
The National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN) is dedicated to advancing the next generation of disability leaders. The NYLN: promotes leadership development, education, employment, independent living, and health and wellness among young leaders representing the diversity of race, ethnicity, and disability in the United States; fosters the inclusion of young leaders with disabilities into all aspects of society at national, state, and local levels; and communicates about issues important to youth with disabilities and the policies and practices that affect their lives.
Social Security Administration (SSA)
This is the official Web site of the Social Security Administration. Contains information on all programs, online services, benefits information, research and data, applications online, gateways to information for special populations, and more.
Illinois Department of Human Services
The mission of the Department of Human Services (DHS) is to assist Illinois residents to achieve self-sufficiency, independence and health to the maximum extent possible by providing integrated family-oriented services, promoting prevention and establishing measurable outcomes in partnership with communities. Within DHS, their Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) helps high school students who have disabilities plan for their futures after high school graduation through Transition and STEP (Secondary Transitional Experience Program) programs. There are counselors located in all local offices and transition specialists who work with individual schools and school districts to identify eligible students for the Transition and STEP programs. Prior to graduation from high school, referrals are made to adult service providers within the offices. Services can also be received by phoning, email, or entering the local office. Physicians/local schools/service providers may also make a referral on behalf of the individual with a disability. For additional information and to find your local office, click the following link www.dhs.state.il.us/drs/
This Web site provides information, resources, and research about work and disability issues. The site includes a listing of research, projects, an online store, training information, a free e-newsletter, and more.
YouthActionNet seeks to connect, inspire, and nurture present and future young leaders. Their goal is to provide a virtual space where young people can share lessons, stories, information, and advice on how to lead effective change. It is a space where youth can get up-to-date information, resources, and tools to strengthen their work. The International Youth Foundation developed YouthActionNet in consultation with a task force of eight young leaders from Australia, Germany, Kosovo, Mexico, Palestine, the Philippines, Uganda, and the United States. Sponsored by the Nokia Corporation, YouthActionNet is part of the global Make a Connection program.
The Youthhood site includes informational content, interactive activities, an online magazine, and a wealth of other opportunities for youth to connect what's important to them to their learning experiences.
Searchable database on postsecondary education programs that support students with intellectual disabilities and other information. Also includes resources and a discussion board for students.
College Funding Strategies for Students with Disabilities
Article with options for paying for college, including scholarships, loans, and other means.
Many capable individuals with disabilities face challenges as they pursue academics and careers. They are underrepresented in many rewarding career fields, including science, engineering, business, and technology. DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) serves to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. It promotes the use of computer and networking technologies to increase independence, productivity, and participation in education and employment.
This site contains information for parents of children with disabilities and special health needs including feature articles, directory of schools, camps, and products & services.
Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs).
Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) are authorized in Part D of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and are funded by the U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.
A Workbook for Your Personal Passport
The Personal Passport can help an individual with a developmental disability advocate for the things that are important to him/her and learn ways to share that with others in a meaningful manner.