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Course 7: Transition Planning

Transition planning is planning for the future. PL 101-476 Section 300.29 of IDEA states that transition services should be comprised of a coordinated set of activities that is based upon an outcome-oriented process that promotes movement from school to post-school activities. These activities include but are not limited to: home-living, getting a job, career advancement goals, academic goals, getting around in and connecting to the community, managing money and having satisfying personal and social relationships.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed in 1990 as PL 94-142. IDEA reauthorized the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (PL- 94-142), which mandated a free and appropriate public education for all children regardless of disability. Amendments to IDEA were signed into law (Pl 101-476) on June 4, 1997. The purpose of IDEA and its amendments is to strengthen academic expectations and accountability on behalf of the nation's 5.8 million children who have been identified as having a disability. IDEA (PL 101-476) requires transition services for all children with disabilities and ensures that education is designed to meet each student's unique needs and to prepare them for employment and independent living.

For more information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 refer to:

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act


For more information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 refer to:

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997


Transition planning is to be based upon the student's needs and takes into account his or her preferences and interests and should include instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school activities for adult living. When appropriate, transition planning may address the acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. In New York State the Individualized Education Program (IEP) serves as the coordinated set of activities. There is no separate transition plan developed. Thus, the IEP should reflect the student's interests, desires and needed supports in relation to each of the critical areas of transition.

For more information on Transition Planning refer to:
National Council on Disability


Individualized Education Program (IEP)

In New York state, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the formal plan that schools are required by law to use to map out the goals, objectives and the time-line needed for students to achieve individualized educational outcomes and to plan for transition from school to adult life. The IEP should address each of the areas of transition (home, employment, career advancement, community connections, post-secondary school education, instruction, etc.), and should also assess and address

  • the interests, needs, skills and capabilities of the student
  • outcome statements that are reflective of the student's preferences or dreams for the future
  • achievement made toward attainment of outcome statements
  • the identification of necessary resources required to insure appropriate learning experiences
  • the inclusion of community resources and related services
  • participation in the least restrictive environment with an eye on participation in the general education classroom whenever possible
  • placement within environments that support and promote on-going personal growth and development

Since the IEP drives the educational programs, activities and services for each student who has been deemed eligible within the school system to participate in the IEP process, it is very important that the student plays an active role in determining his or her long-term adult outcome statements. The IEP process is a series of linked, or coordinated activities that are governed by the outcome statements.

For example, if a student states as a vocational goal the desire to be a teacher, the IEP needs to reflect educational activities and programs that support movement toward the stated vocational outcome of being a teacher. Annual goals, benchmarks, programs, services, modifications, etc. are then to be established in support of the post-school outcome statements.


Individualized Education Program(IEP) Cycle

For more information on the Individualized Education Program in New York State refer to:

New York State Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID)

The Link Between Transition Planning and Person-Centered Planning

There is an unmistakable link between person-centered planning and transition planning if transition planning is carried out in the manner intended by current legislation. The goals of person-centered planning are to:

  • assess the unique interests, skills, preferences, needs, and capacities of a person
  • identify opportunities to experience and to make contributions within environments that support those interests, needs, preferences, skills and abilities of the person
  • establish a vision for the future and clarify lifestyle preferences
  • develop a plan for moving toward the vision and preferred lifestyle
  • identify and establish a network of relevant support necessary to move forward
  • expand and enhance opportunities for community involvement/participation
  • support on-going personal growth and development

The goals of transition planning are to:

  • the interests, needs, skills and capabilities of the student
  • outcome statements that are reflective of the student's preferences or dreams for the future
  • achievement made towards attainment of outcome statements
  • the identification of necessary resources required to insure appropriate learning experiences
  • the inclusion of community resources and related services
  • participation in the least restrictive environment with an eye on participation in the general education classroom whenever possible
  • placement within environments that support and promote on-going personal growth and development

For more information on the connection between person-centered planning and transition planning visit:

New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council