Transition Planning – Overview

Transition planning is an activity that helps to prepare youth for adulthood. It is important because it helps to get the most of our school experience. Transition planning can help young people with disabilities learn to make decisions and take responsibility for themselves. With the goals that are established through planning, youth with disabilities, families, and people working in the school system will have a clear direction on what is important. Transition planning will also provide opportunities for meaningful experiences, both inside and outside school.

There are a number of key elements to successful transition planning. These include:

  • Transition planning is usually a process that evolves over a number of years (and should start by grade 9 at the latest).
  • Planning is more effective when a “team” of people are involved. Transition planning usually involves the student and his or her family, teachers, guidance counselors, individuals who may be involved in providing services to the student either during or after high school, other family members, friends and people from the community.
  • Transition planning is also a process that respects student choice. The process itself should actually help a student gain a sense of control over his or her own planning and decisions.
  • Transition planning is a process that takes a broad view of a person’s life.Planning can involve areas such as work, leisure activities, relationships, confidence building, and living in the community.
  • Transition planning attempts to identify the goals the person wants to achieve in his or her life once he or she leaves school. For most people, getting a job will be a main goal.
  • Transition planning involves the selection of school and work activities and experiences that will help achieve goals. As much as possible, these experiences should be selected by the individual student.
  • Transition planning must coordinate school learning, work experiences, and potential services prior to the student leaving school. Bringing the different pieces together before the student leaves school will help to ensure that there is continuity between the school years and life once school is finished.
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