During an Individualized Education Planning (IEP) meeting, the special education teacher was talking about “transition planning” for my fourteen-year-old daughter who has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities. My daughter is just in 8th grade. Isn’t this too early to talk about what to do after high school?
We all know the old saying about prior planning and its relationship to performance. Transition planning allows a teenager with special education needs to get a “head start” on the future. The process involves beginning to focus upon, act upon, and make plans for the future, so that, upon completion of high school, there is an existing framework for what is to happen next.
There are many facets to transition planning, and it is as individualized as the rest of your child’s IEP. Transition planning may include job skills, such as learning how to operate a time clock, or how to ride a bus to work. It may include investigating and visiting colleges, trade schools, or community college programs. Transition planning should include some information about community services that can aid individuals with disabilities as they move toward a more independent lifestyle.
You can get information on transition issues by calling the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Resource Center (MODDRC) at 800-444-0821. You can also review the MODDRC web site at www.moddrc.org - look under "Info on Specific Disabilities" and select the topic "Transition".
Michelle Reynolds, Director of the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Resource Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Wednesday, April 14, 2010