Your IEP Transition Plan

In addition to the support that you can get from your family, friends, and mentors, if you have a disability, are under 21, and are in high school, you can get additional help that can make becoming an adult easier.

Guidance counselors are available to all students. These school counselors can help students prepare for college or think about their other options after high school. It is important for you to know your high school guidance counselors and to ask them for help and advice when you need it.

Students with disabilities in special education have an additional support called an “Individualized Education Program” (IEP).

Individualized Education Programs

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law that supports education for children and young people with disabilities under the age of 21 until they finish high school. One of the most important things this law requires is that you have an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

An IEP is an educational plan designed specifically for each student who is receiving special education services. No two IEPs are alike. The IEP is created with input from parents, teachers, staff members at the school, psychologists, and the student. It includes information on the student’s current performance, goals and evaluations, and on what specific services the student will need as they reach adulthood.

This group of people that supports you and helps you figure out what you need is called your “IEP Team.” You and they will regularly meet to make sure that things are progressing well for you.

What is transition?

When we talk about “transition” for teenagers, we’re talking about the changes in your life as you stop being a child and become an adult. The transition from childhood into adulthood is one of the most difficult periods in your life, but if you get prepared for it, it can also be one of the most exciting times.

IEP Transition Planning

After you begin high school, you and your IEP Team will prepare a “transition plan” for you, an official plan that is part of your IEP and should include information about everything you need in order to be successful after high school. This plan is especially important because once you graduate, your IEP Team will no longer be there to help you. So the IEP transition plan has to be designed to help make sure that you learn the skills you need to lead an independent life after high school.

When You Enter 9th Grade

The creation of your IEP transition plan is in stages. It will begin when you enter 9th grade. One of the first things you’ll need to think about is what you want to do after high school, which can include the options introduced in this article, like getting more education or getting a job.

Once you’ve set your goals, your IEP transition plan should be filled in to include all of the classes, training, and support you need to get ready to achieve them. Don’t worry about changing your goals in the future, you can update your IEP transition plan as necessary!

When You’re Two Years Away from High School Graduation

When you are two years away from graduating from high school, you can invite Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) to help you with your IEP transition plan. If you’re blind, you’ll invite State Services for the Blind (SSB) instead of VRS.

It’s easy to invite them to help you, because most high schools have a vocational rehabilitation officer who works at the school. It’s also important to ask them for help. These agencies help people with disabilities of all ages get employment training and find jobs — all for free. They can help you with various services related to counseling, training, job skills, and job placement.

Your IEP Transition Plan Ends When You Graduate

Your IEP, including your IEP transition plan, will end when you get your high school diploma.

After You’ve Graduated

Once you have your high school diploma, you may still qualify for services from Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) or State Services for the Blind (SSB). These state offices can help you with a wide variety of counseling, training, job skills, and job placement services. However, you will not automatically receive these services. You will have to apply and you may be placed on a waiting list before you can meet with someone.

You can also get help with your job search at WorkForce Centers. You don’t need to have a disability in order to get services at a WorkForce Center, so if you don’t qualify for services through VRS, or if VRS puts you on a waiting list, you can go to a WorkForce Center and get support to find a job.

You can read more about VRS and WorkForce Centers in DB101’s Programs that Support Work article.