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Article of Interest - Transition

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Tips for a Successful Transition

Oakland Schools

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What is the time-line for transition planning?


Tips for a Successful Transition

Planning for the future of your child with special needs is an ongoing process. What is perhaps most difficult to consider is that the child or teen you see before you today will grow to become an adult with capabilities and needs in the areas of work, housing, personal finances, transportation, recreation, friends and the many other areas we all face as adults. Here are some beginning tips and thoughts:

  • Schedule a Future/Person - Centered planning meeting

  • Educational programs and transition do not just happen to you and your family. You are invited and encouraged to be part of the planning process sot that you child can leave school and successfully join the adult community.

  • The degree to which parents are involved in their child's transition is directly related to the success of that transition.

Transition Planning Time-Line: Student/Family Activities

GOAL: To have a functional life plan which encompasses all domains of transition to adult life.


4 to 5 Years Before Graduation (Age 12 - 14)

2 to 3 Years Before Graduation (Age 15-16)

Last Year of High School (Age 18 - 26)

Become oriented to the transition process

Select high school vocational options and attend training

Age 18 - selective service registration for males

Career prep activities/pre-vocational

Research post-high school vocational and recreational interests

Make post-high school education training choices and arrangements for training

Select/review high school coursework

Work on housing and finance independence skills

Prepare financial plans

Job shadowing

Learn about leisure and adult living options and opportunities for participation in the community

Participate in community activities: recreational and civic

Do vocational and recreational interests search and evaluations

Work development experiences

Attend specific vocational training

Plan and work on independence skills/personal adjustment skills

Community based work sites

Supported employment placements work-study/Co-op placements

Do the parent/student questionnaires (see the RESOURCES section of the Oakland Schools website)

Enroll student in drivers training, if appropriate

Agency referrals completed, review transition profile

Begin transition profile

Review transition profile

Finalize post-secondary employment options with assistance of rehabilitation services (if necessary)


* Age 17 - age of majority notification. Review transition profile

Register to vote


Transition Check List

The following is a check list of transition activities that you and your son or daughter may wish to consider when preparing transition pans with the IEP team. Your student's skills and interests will determine which items on the checklist are relevant. Use this checklist to ask yourself whether or not these transition issues should be addressed at IEP transition meetings. The checklist can also help identify who should be part of the IEP transition team. Responsibility for carrying out the specific transition activities should be determined at the IEP transition meeting.


Four to five years before leaving the school district:

  • Identify personal learning styles and the necessary accommodations to be a successful learner and worker

  • Identify career interests and skills, complete interest and career inventories, and identify additional education or training requirements

  • Explore options for post-secondary education and admission criteria

  • Identify interests and options for future living arrangements, including support.

  • Learn to communicate effectively your interests, preferences and needs

  • Be able to explain your disability and the accommodations you need

  • Learn and practice informed decision making skills

  • Investigate assistive technology tools that can increase community involvement and employment opportunities

  • Broaden your experiences with community activities and expand your friendships

  • Pursue and use local transportation options outside of family

  • Investigate money management and identify necessary skills

  • Acquire identification card and the ability to communicate personal information

  • Identify and begin learning skills necessary for independent living

  • Learn and practice personal health care

Two to three years before leaving the school district

  • Identify community support services and programs (Vocational Rehabilitation, Easter Seals, Community Mental Health)

  • Invite adult service providers, peers and others to the IEP transition meeting

  • Gather more information on post-secondary programs and the support services offered and make arrangements for accommodations to take college entrance exam

  • Identify health care providers and become informed about sexuality and family planning issues

  • Determine the need for financial support (Supplemental Security Income, state financial supplemental programs, Medicare)
    Learn and practice appropriate interpersonal communication and social skills for different settings (employment, school, recreation with peers. etc.)

  • Explore legal status with regard to decision making prior to age of majority

  • Begin a resume and update it as needed

  • Practice independent living skills, eg., budgeting, shopping, cooking and housekeeping

  • Identify needed personal assistant services, and if appropriate, learn to direct and manage these services

  • Know your disability and keep documentation

One year before leaving the school district

  • Apply for financial support programs (Supplemental Security Income, Living Services, Vocational Rehabilitation and Personal Assistant Services)

  • Identify the post-secondary school/program you plan to attend and arrange for accommodations

  • Practice effective communication by developing interview skills, asking for help, and identifying necessary accommodations at post secondary work environments

  • Specify desired job and obtain paid employment with supports as needed

  • Take responsibility for arriving on time to work, appointments and social activities

  • Assume responsibility for health care needs (making appointments, filling and taking prescriptions, etc.)

  • Bring documentation of your disability with you to apply for community services

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