In Texas, transition becomes a part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) when your child turns 14, but I recommend that you begin planning for transition when your child prepares to enter middle school.
Think about what you and your child want their life to look like after high school, including continuing education and employment. You have to know where you're going before you make a plan to get there.
The first step is to help your child figure out what they enjoy and are good at doing. Have them explore different job options. There are many fun ways to do this, such as:
Ask your child what he or she wants to do—and don’t forget to ask “why?” You may discover that your child wants to be a firefighter because they like big trucks or wants to wear a uniform, not because they want to fight fire.
It is good to know why your child is interested in a certain career so that you can explore all options. No matter your child’s ability level, you can find something that they enjoy and are capable of learning how to do.
Get creative! If your child loves basketball but doesn’t have the skills to be a professional athlete, maybe they would enjoy a job as a coach’s assistant or working in a sports store.
Share your findings with the Admissions, Review & Disability meeting (ARD) committee as you work together to develop your child’s transition goals. Keep these transition goals in mind as you develop the IEP and plan your child’s high-school career. Make sure the classes they are taking are purposeful.
Don’t forget that transition goals aren’t set in stone. Your child may change his or her mind several times before graduating. Their goals can be changed at any time to accommodate for that.
Transition doesn’t have to be scary. The earlier you and your child begin planning, the better prepared you will be for the future.
Visit this website for additional information on transition.
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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.
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