Transitional Planning in Special Ed: Start Early When Determining and Preparing for Life After School

December 1, 2011

Parents and guardians of special-education students often misunderstand the rights that state and federal law affords such students, particularly in the area of transitional planning. Transition services are those designed to prepare children for education beyond high school, employment, and independent living, and must be included in the first individualized education plan (IEP) in effect when a child turns 16 years old (typically developed when the student is 15.)

Federal and state laws dictate that school districts provide transition planning to special-education students between the ages of 14 and 22. These services are in furtherance of the free appropriate public education (FAPE) that special education students are entitled to receive.

The IEP process for a student receiving transitional services is much like that of any special education student; however, it differs in one critical area — once a student reaches the age of 14, he or she must be invited, though is not required, to participate in the IEP process. The key to effective transition planning is…

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by: Melissa R. Gillis

Healthcare News
December 2011

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