Transition Services

As most adults know from their own experience, the period known as adolescence is probably the most difficult and unsettling period of adjustment in one's development. It is a time filled with physical, emotional, and social upheavals. Until a child leaves secondary school, a parent experiences a sense of protective control over the child's life. This protective guidance normally involves educational, medical, financial, and social input to assist the child's growth. When the child leaves this setting, a parent undergoes a personal struggle in "letting go." There is always a certain amount of apprehension associated with the child's entrance into the adult world, as the greater responsibility for adjustment now falls on the child and the parent's role diminishes.

For the child with a disability, this developmental period can be fraught with even greater apprehension, for a variety of reasons. Depending on the nature and severity of the disability, special education professionals and parents may play more of an ongoing role in the child's life even after he or she leaves secondary education. Historically, parents and their children have spent years actively involved in Individual Educational Plan (IEP) development and meetings, transitional IEP (ITEP) development, and Committee on Special Education (CSE) meetings concerning educational and developmental welfare. Depending on the mental competence (the capability to make reasoned decisions) of the child with disabilities, some parents may have to continue to make vital decisions affecting all aspects of their children's lives; they need not shy away, thinking that they are being too overprotective if they are involved in the child's life after the child leaves school. On the other hand, the parents of children not affected by diminished mental competence should use all their energies to encourage the child's steps toward independence.

Since planning for the future of a student with disabilities can arouse fear of the unknown, a parent may tend to delay addressing these issues, and instead focus only on the present. It is our belief, however, that working through these fears and thinking about the child's best future interest will ensure a meaningful outcome. Regardless of the nature and severity of a disability, parents will be exposed to a transitional process during the child's school years that will provide a foundation for the adult world. This transitional process will include many facets of planning for the future and should be fully understood by everyone concerned each step of the way. Planning for the future is an investment in a child's well being and the purpose of this section of NASET  is to help you understand all the aspects of this important time.

If you are a special education professional or professional, working with students 14 and older than you will need to be fully informed of all the areas involved in the transition phase. While you will not be directly involved in many of these areas, you can assist the parent through awareness, information, and support. Knowing what students and parents must face in order to successfully transition into adult life is a crucial part of special education for children ages 14-21. NASET hopes this section will provide that education and awareness.

Table of Contents

Overview of Transition Services
Why you need to be informed and what important role Transition Services plays in your student’s life.
Types of Services Covered under Transition Services
General overview of services and experiences your student may be entitled to have during this period of transition.
Transition Planning: A Team Effort
Provides ideas and information on how students, families, school personnel, service providers, and others can work together to help students make a smooth transition.
Disability Population Receiving Transition Services
Definition, characteristics, and educational implications for all individuals entitled to Transition Services
Transition Services on the IEP
Describes the core of transition planning what the law requires and how that plays out in the real world.
Self Determination
What it means and how to help your student develop self determination
Record Keeping During the Transition Service Phase
Be prepared as you can in this phase of your student’s life and ensure the best possible transition and guarantee of services. This section will guide you through the types of records and information you will need to gather.
Vocational Assessments
This section will provide you with the first stage information in dealing with your student’s preparation for work. You will find the different types of evaluations, and what to expect and ask for in this process.
Employment Planning
Learn about the different types of employment opportunities available to your student and what is required for each area.
Social and Sexual Issues During Transition
Here you will find expert advice on dealing with these two very sensitive issues.
Travel Training
Looks at training people with disabilities to use public transportation safely and independently. It answers such questions as: What are the essential components of a successful travel training program? What specific skills do travelers need? What issues arise with specific disabilities such as physical, cognitive, or visual impairments?
Recreation and Leisure Activities
Looks at the importance of recreational activities for individuals with disabilities and the many options available
Assistive Technology
Looks at the importance that assistive technology plays in the lives of individuals with disabilities and the thousands of available types of technology available.
Residential Placement Options
Looks at the various residential care facilities available when your student ages out. It will also provide information on how to plan, when to plan, and who to contact to ensure placement at an appropriate time.
Post Secondary Education
Provides you with all the information and planning suggestions you will need if your student plans to attend college. You will also be able to look up college programs geared especially for individuals with disabilities and what is required for admission.
Financial and Health Insurance Issues
Here you will find expert suggestions on dealing with all financial and health issues surrounding individuals with disabilities. Here you will find information on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security Insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance, Food Stamps etc.
Legal Issues in the Transition Phase
Here you will find expert help in understanding estate planning, trusts, wills, and any other legal concern you will need to be aware of to protect your student as they transition into adulthood.
Tables, Charts, Statistics, and Other Important Links
Here you will find a list of charts, tables, statistics and other important links dealing with transition services and individuals with disabilities during the transition phase.

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