In Texas, transition becomes a part of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) at age 14.
From this point forward, all IEP decision-making should reflect your child’s transition goals. Once your child knows what they want to do after high school, you, as part of the ARD committee, can help them decide how to get there.
There are three components of transition:
Talk to your child about their dreams for the future in each of these areas.
Todd’s parents helped him start exploring his goals when he was in junior high. Here's how:
First, they looked at employment goals.
Initially, Todd thought he wanted to be a veterinarian. When his parents asked him why, they discovered he loved animals and wanted to take care of them. They helped him explore animal-related jobs. He decided he would enjoy working at a pet store. As a Plan B, he would like to have his own pet-sitting business. Keep in mind that goals can be flexible.
Together, they looked through the course catalog and selected classes that—taken with modifications—would help him learn more about animals. He also decided to join the FFA club, where he would (with natural supports) learn to care for and show a rabbit.
Second, they explored Todd’s goals for continuing education.
Some options they considered:
Which of these options would best prepare Todd for a job at a pet store or running a pet-sitting business?
With the help of the ARD committee, he decided on attending a certificate program at a local community college to help him learn basic office skills. He and his parents looked at the website and saw that he would need a certain reading level as a prerequisite for the Office Skills program. Therefore, reading goals were added to the IEP.
Finally, they explored Todd's independent living goals.
These goals should describe where your child wants to live after high school and how independent they will be.
Todd wants to live in the garage apartment at his parent’s house—so, what will he need to learn to live by himself?
His parents decided that cooking, laundry, and self-care needs are things that can be worked on at home with services through his waiver program.
With thoughtful transition planning, you can help your child make the most of their high-school years. Tomorrow will be here before you know it!
For more information on transition, check out the Transition to Adulthood section of this website.
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Sam Allen has high-functioning autism. He was recently recognized as a Student Success Story at the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education (TCASE) annual conference.