Transitioning to Adulthood
- Can Students with Disabilities be successful in life?
- What is transition planning?
- What is the process for transition planning?
- What areas does transition planning cover?
- Are there any in-school transition practices that will predict post-school success?
- What agencies/services are available in the community to help with transition?
Absolutely! We see it happen all the time! It usually doesn't just happen automatically though; it requires direct instruction, early planning, and consistent improvement. This idea must be an absolute fundamental belief of parents and educators: they can be successful and have great transition outcomes with the right training and support, and it is up to us to help guide them there. Our goal is not "just to get them graduated."
For example, there have been many famous people with a variety disabilities who have contributed to society. Some of them include Albert Einstein, Tom Cruise, Walt Disney, Temple Grandin, Agatha Christie, John Denver, Winston Churchill, Charles Schwab, Vincent van Gogh, and many others. Even if we don't know it, we have all been impacted by someone with a disability making a contribution.
From a practical standpoint, it is important for a person to come to terms with their disability, to understand how it affects them, and to learn how to compensate. This should be done age-appropriately and in a positive manner. The following resources can help:
Transition planning is a focus on helping students transition from high school to real-life activities, such as employment, further education, and independent living. It is required by federal Special Education law. The state SPED webpage also has guidelines and resources about transition planning. In Davis School District, transition planning on the IEP officially begins in 7th grade, but age-appropriate transition activities can be done by parents and teachers much earlier! Transition planning is done by the IEP team (including the parents/guardians) and should take into account the student's strengths, interests, preferences, needs, and the family's cultural values.
Transition Process at a Glance: A simple graphic organizer that explains the transition process for students in special education, and how it should influence other parts of the IEP.
Transition Assessment: The first (and perhaps most important!) step in Transition Planning it to conduct assessment. Actually, assessment can and should occur repeatedly to help students, families, and educators to make informed decisions about necessary services. The assessments don't only have to be formal, standardized tests; they can also include surveys, observations, interviews, assignments, skills practices, etc. However, as show by this humorous video, transition assessments are not predictors of the future; they are to give information about interests, strengths, and weaknesses, so that a person can make goals and a plan on how to accomplish them. Assessment is not just a hoop to jump through, it should be the driver for the rest of transition planning. There is no perfect assessment, just know what kind of information you want and find a way to obtain it!
Below are just a few ideas for transition assessment:
- UtahFutures.org : provides a variety of assessment tools on personality, job skills, job-matching, budgeting skills, and many more. Students create log-ins that will store their information (log-in based on school information; speak to counselor if you have questions).
- Transition Interview Template: can be used to guide an interview with a student
- Employment Related Questions and Student Dream Sheet from the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC)
- Learning Style survey from Multiple Intelligence theory ( MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES WORKSHEETS )
- Auditory-Visual-Tactile learning style survey (gallatin College What Type of Learner Are You? ) with explanation and resources for each learning style
- Another Learning Style Survey from North Carolina State University (as well as an Index of Learning Styles and strategies for each Learning Style )
- Other transition assessment information from NSTTAC can be found on this page about age appropriate transition assessment
- O*NET Interest Profiler: This interest survey provides results in Holland's RIASEC Career Choice theory (realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, conventional). This theory links personality type to working environments.
Transition activities can fit within the following three areas:
This domain covers the skills a person needs to function independently in life, and may include such areas as cooking, transportation, budgeting, safety, technology, housing, time management, social, etc.
This domain covers skills necessary for many levels of employment (i.e. competitive, self-, customized, supported, sheltered). These skills may be in areas such as career exploration and matching, applying, being on-time, following directions, associating with colleagues, etc.
This domain covers skills and preparation needed to attend a variety of post-secondary education settings (universities, community colleges, technical school, military, etc.). These skills may be in areas such as choosing a major, class selection, assignment completion, test-taking, organization, study skills, etc
Obviously, there is a lot of overlap between and among domains. For example, a student going into employment will need certain independent living skills to succeed on the job. Also, a student going to a college will still need job skills to support themselves through school or when they get out of school.
Yes! The following table* shows practices that can have an effect on 1-, 2-, or all three areas. (No "X" in an area doesn't mean that it can't be a predictor; it just means that it isn't research validated yet.) Educators and families can use this info to help prioritize transition planning.Click on the link below for more information about specifics definitions and research.
|Paid Employment/Work Experience||X||X||X|
|Exit Exam Requirements/High School Diploma Status||X|
|Inclusion in General Education||X||X||X|
|Program of Study||X|
*Information taken from the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center
What agencies/services are available in the community to help with transition?
There are a number of agencies and organizations in the community to help students with disabilities through the transition process! They may provide a variety of services, including help with work skills, job placement, independent living, post-secondary education, funding, etc. (see list below!).
However, their services are often based on specific eligibility (different for each one) rather than entitlement as part of a free appropriate public education. So, it becomes the student's/parent's responsibility to make contact and coordinate services with them. It is usually helpful to make this contact early (late jr. high or early high school) to help facilitate the process, especially if there is a waiting list. With student/parent written permission, some of these agencies may be invited to attend an IEP meeting (talk to the case manager for more specifics).
Transition Fair: Each year we hold a fair to bring multiple agencies to one spot for one night! Check out information from our previous Transition Fairs, including attendance, pictures, and comments from families, educators, and agency presenters. Also, watch for more information on our upcoming fair!
List of Outside Agencies (Updated January 2016) Agencies and organizations who support the transition process. Many of these attended our most recent Transition Fair. This list includes a description of the agency, the disabilities they serve, and the areas of transition they assist with. (If you are a listed Service Agency and would like to make a change to this information, please contact Adam King at 801-402-5156.)
Vista Education Campus: information on Vista Education Capus (VEC), where many of our post-high school transition programs are housed (STAR, STEPS, STRIDE, MAPS).
SPED at DATC: information about potential services available to students in Davis School District high schools and post-high programs who are receiving special education services.