Transition Planning for Young Adults


IDEA 2004 not only guarantees a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), but the education and related services are "designed to meet the students' unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living".  602(d)(1)(A)


Transition planning involves preparation for life and starts when the student turns 14.  At the age of 14, the student is entitled to participate and have input at IEP meetings. Furthermore, transition assistance is available through IDEA until the special needs individual reaches age 22.  This preparation includes:

  • Transitioning from school to community
  • Planning for appropriate post secondary education, whether vocational or traditional college
  • Assistance in applying for and gaining employment
  • Skills training in self advocacy and self determination

The student is intimately involved in the transition plan based on his or her interests, capabilities and preferences.  It's no longer the parents driving the entire process; the transition plan for moving past high school is a collaborative process between the special needs student, the parents, and the special education team.  The parties involved use a Transition Planning Form (TPF) to guide the discussion and take into account the individuality of the special needs student.


IDEA also guarantees Age Appropriate Transition Assessments to assess areas of strength, weakness, interests and capabilities.  Transition Assessments can be quite extensive including:

  • Aptitude tests
  • Achievement tests
  • Behavioral assessments
  • Work related temperament scales
  • Career readiness tests

The IEP team works on Post-secondary Goals (after high school) for the special needs student with at least one goal for each of the following outcome areas:

  1. Education
  2. Employment
  3. Independent Living

These three goals are a requirement of a Free and Appropriate Public Education, guaranteed by federal law in IDEA 2004.  The IEP does not stop having an impact when high school is over for the special education student, the services for special needs students continue with Transition Assistance and Planning.


Click on the images below to visit the various stops on the map.



  1. Something's Not Right



   2. Get Your Child Diagnosed


   3. Educate Youself



     4. Get the Help You Need


  5. Prepare for Conflict


    6. Create a Master Plan