HomeLearning DifficultiesHealth & DevelopmentLife After High School

Transition Planning for Students With IEPs

Page 2 of 3

By Kristin Stanberry

What Transition Services Are Available for a High School Student with Learning Disabilities (LD) and an IEP?

At the high school level, transition services for students who have LD and an IEP are available through their special education programs and general education programs. Special education staff provides assistance with counseling, identifying vocational interests, educational and vocational planning, goal setting, pre-vocational skills training, academic support, and linkages to specific programs and services.

Other transition-related services that are available to all high school students include guidance counseling, career center services, work experience education, academy programs, and career education vocational courses. Check with your child's special education teacher and/or your school district's office of student personnel services to see which specific programs are offered.

Who Should Participate in IEP Meetings where Transition Planning is Discussed?

All transition planning meetings should include the student, family members, teachers, and other school staff. According to IDEA, anyone else involved in the student's transition plan must also be invited. This might include representatives from school-to-work transition programs, local social service agencies, counseling programs, medical care providers, and advocates.

Parents are key players in the transition planning process. You know your child better than anyone else and can share plans and ideas you and your child have discussed concerning his future. You can help by contributing information about your child's life and experiences outside of school. It's important to include your teenager in these discussions and encourage him to advocate for his own needs and wishes.

What is the Role of a High School Student in Transition Planning?

A student needs to begin thinking about what he wants to do as an adult before his first transition planning meeting takes place. This is his chance to take an active role in planning his education and make school relevant to his future. This is the time for the student to propose dreams and set goals for reaching them. It is an avenue to prove what he can accomplish, to identify things he enjoys and feels competent doing, and to set himself on a path of his choosing. At the same time, he should be realistic about how he'll need to accommodate for his learning difficulties while pursuing his education and vocation. In general, the transition plan can emphasize a student's abilities rather than his areas of difficulty.

Some steps a high school student can take to prepare for the transiton planning process include:

  • Using his school's career center to identify his interests and find out what education and training are required.
  • Completing interest inventories to identify his interests, skills, abilities, and aptitudes as they relate to employment.
  • Doing volunteer work or entry-level jobs in his field(s) of interest.
  • Observing and interviewing adults who perform the type of work that interests him.
  • Visiting training institutes and colleges to learn about entrance requirements; this will help your teenager choose the necessary classes in high school. For example, students interested in forestry need to take science; engineers need advanced math courses; actors need drama courses, and graphic artists need art as well as computer design classes.

Kristin Stanberry is a writer and editor specializing in parenting, education, and consumer health/wellness issues. Her areas of expertise include learning disabilities and AD/HD, which she wrote about extensively for Schwab Learning and GreatSchools.


Comments from readers

"Cut and paste the part of the article that pertains to students and care givers and make a brochure "