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The point at which your son or daughter leaves school can be a very exciting time but also a period of uncertainty. Most parents of a student with a disability have questions about the future, including how will my son or daughter find and maintain employment, access transportation, live in the community, and use public resources. All of these topics are likely to be topics of discussion during the transition planning process.
Transition planning is the process of assisting a student with a disability in preparing for and successfully moving from school to adult life roles in the areas of employment, education/training, and adult/community living. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires transition planning for all students with IEPs to begin no later than age sixteen (16) years old. However, due to the importance of early planning, North Carolina law requires this process to begin no later than age fourteen (14) years old. Effective transition planning is a cooperative effort between the student with a disability, his or her parents/guardian, the school, and community-based service providers. Your son or daughter’s IEP will include a section where the transition planning process is recorded. The Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) will be included in your son or daughter’s annual IEP and will be a written record of your son or daughter’s is a part of is recorded. Components of the ITP and transition planning process include:
Since transition planning often requires future use of community resources and agency services, it is important that transition planning actively include community agencies early in the process. Potential services will be explored at your child’s IEP meetings. Your written permission or the written permission of your child who has reached the age of majority is required before the school can invite a representative(s) from a community-service provider(s) to attend an IEP meeting. If your child is currently receiving services from a community-service provider or you know of a provider who could possibly provide assistance to your child as s/he moves towards life after high school, you are welcome to bring representatives from those agencies to an IEP meeting where transition services are being discussed. (As a courtesy, however, please notify your son or daughter’s EC Case Manager so the School is able to locate a meeting space that will accommodate the additional participants.)
The transition from school to adult life is a normal process and represents a major step from adolescence to adulthood. All students typically need some assistance as they transition from high school and this is especially true for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities need support to make a more seamless and smoother transition into adult life. The school has a responsibility to assist to you and your son or daughter during this time of transition.
As parents, you are an important participant in the transition process. Your involvement is needed in order to make this process a success. At times the process may be frustrating, stressful, discouraging, and time consuming; but it is always important. Durham Public Schools is committed to making this important transition as smooth as possible and look forward to working closely with you and your son or daughter. Remember, it is a cooperative requiring all members of the team to work together to help make the transition a positive one for your son or daughter.
Please contact Sarah Laughhunn, DPS Transition Specialist, at 919-560-2689 for more information.