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Domain One

Transition Planning

Transition Planning for students with disabilities and the involvement of their families in the transition planning process is a requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (U.S. Department of Education, 2004).  The law states  Beginning at age 16 (or before if appropriate), an annual IEP must have appropriate measurable postsecondary goals, include transition services and courses of study, and include a statement that the child has been informed of the child’s rights transferring at the age of majority.  (b) Transition services. Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually, thereafter. The purpose of transition planning is to prepare the student to enter postsecondary life.  Transition planning involves:

  • Helping the student discover their strengths, preferences, interests, needs.  

  • A tailored plan to meet the individual needs of each child.  

  • A team approach that includes the student, parents/guardian/family member(s), school personnel, agency representatives and significant others

  • Identifying the student’s vision for life beyond high school

  • Discussing present levels of performance both academically and functionally

  • Identifying age-appropriate, measurable goals

  • Determining necessary accommodations

  • Defining transition activities

  • Determining their course of Study

In all of this planning, it is essential for the student to be part of the planning.  Remember it’s their plan and they have a voice in that plan. Research shows when students participate in the planning process they are more likely to achieve their goals because they take ownership of their goals.  There are three essential questions that need to be discussed in transition planning:

  • What is the students goal in the area of Postsecondary Education or Training?

  • What is the student’s goal in the area of Employment?

  • What is the student’s goal in the area of Independent Living/Community Participation (if appropriate)?

The answers to these questions are included in the transition plan, and guide the development of the students annual IEP goals. Family involvement in the planning process is also essential.  Morningstar, Frey, Noonan, Ng, Clavenna-Deane, Graves, & William-Diehm, (2010) found that the greater students perceived their families' involvement in their transition process, and the more they received instruction on how to become involved in the IEP transition planning process, the greater students' participation in the IEP transition planning process (Martin, & Williams-Diehm, 2013).  In transition planning, families provide important information on the strengths and needs of their children and can offer perspectives on postschool outcomes that fit within the values of their family culture (Landmark, Zhang, & Montoya, 2007).  Further, families provide a "bridge" from school to postschool life, as their support does not end upon high school graduation (Papay, Unger, Williams-Diehm, & Mitchell, 2015).


Steven Covey says to “begin with the end in mind.”  That idea is the heart of transition planning. If the “end” we have in mind is educated employees then transition planning is the beginning.

Domain 1 Competencies











Develop transition IEP’s with measurable postsecondary goals based on the strengths, interests, preferences, and needs of students

Using planning strategies to facilitate input from team members during transition planning

Ensure adequate preparation for students to be involved in transition planning

Promote active involvement of culturally and linguistically diverse families before, during, and after transition planning meetings

Coordinate transition planning meetings with stakeholders

Identify future postsecondary service needs in order to coordinate with relevant postsecondary and community agencies

Include transition goals related to postsecondary education, employment, and independent living in the IEP

Check IEP’s for compliance with federal and state regulations

Develop IEP’s that align with state and local academic standards


Include instructional and assistive technology in the IEP

Positive Personal Profile

“A Positive Personal Profile (PPP) is a way to ‘take inventory’ of all the attributes of youth that will be relevant to their job search, employability, job match, retention and long-range career development.  It is a mechanism for collecting information from a variety of sources, including assessments, observations, interviews, and discussion with the job seekers and people who know them well” (Tilson). The Positive Personal Profile is a tool that has many uses.  For students, it’s a tool that can be used to define and personalize their dreams and goals, talents, values, preferences, work experiences, challenges, interests, learning styles, positive traits, dislikes, support systems,

accommodations, and career ideas all in one place.  For teachers, it’s a tool that can be used in the classroom and to develop transition and academic goals for the student’s IEP.  The PPP that I have included here is for a student who is 21 and residing in a behavioral center as a condition of his probation.  Justin had dropped out of school when he was 17. He was placed in this facility to get his life back on track and have a second chance. As the transition specialist in our district I was asked to work with Justin to develop a transition plan.   

Competencies: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7

(n.d.). Retrieved from


I choose this IEP and Transition Plan because it’s a comprehensive view of John.  I worked with John over the course of several months to understand who he is, and what his strengths, preferences, interests, and needs are.  Throughout our time together, I helped John develop a clearer picture of who he is, what his likes and dislikes are, and where he sees himself in the future.

Competencies: 1.1, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.9

Student Led I.E.P.

Student Led IEP’s are empowering!  If you are searching for ways to increase parent attendance and participation in IEP meetings, or looking for ways for students to be more involved in their education, or seeking ways to increase student engagement or perhaps feeling that students don’t take enough responsibility for their own learning; Student Led IEP’s are your answer.  


Why Student Led IEP’s?

  • The IEP is the most important document developed regarding a student with disabilities at school

  • At the IEP meeting, critical issues are discussed, and important decisions are made...student’s voice is important in those decisions

  • Case manager moves from a leadership role to a facilitative role

  • Student moves from a passive role to a more active role

  • Families become more actively engaged in a discussion with their child, as opposed to the child’s case manager

  • It teaches students to take ownership for their own education and to demonstrate that ownership

  • It give the student opportunity for equal participation and decision making

  • Students know their disability, their rights, and accommodations and develop an understanding of their IEP purpose, process and relevance

  • Students gain self confidence

  • Students develop presentation skills and improve their communication skills

  • Students learn to set goals for themselves and have buy-in on their goals

`Van Dycke (2005) found that students having prior instruction in a program called the Self-Directed IEP had IEP dicuments that were more comprehensive in terms of their preferences, interests, and vision statements concerning postsecondary employment and adult living outcomes compared to teacher-directed IEP (Woods, Sylvester, & Martin 2010). 

Competencies: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4

“Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him.”  Booker T. Washington


                                                                                                “Nothing about me without me”

Indicator 13

Indicator 13 is a compliance indicator in IDEA 2004 and revised in 2009 to include two additional components.  There are eight required elements to be compliant with indicator 13.  IDEA states:

  • Percent of youth with IEP’s aged 16 and above with an IEP that includes appropriate measurable postsecondary goals that are annually updated and based upon an age appropriate transition assessment, transition services, including courses of study, that will reasonably enable the students to meet those postsecondary goals, and annual IEP goals related to the student’s transition services needs.

  • There also must be evidence that the student was invited to the IEP Team meeting where transition services are to be discussed and evidence that, if appropriate, a representative of any participating agency was invited to the IEP Team meeting with the prior consent of the parent or student who has reached the age of majority. (20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B))

Competencies: 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 1.10


Landmark, L. J., Ju, S., & Zhang, D. (2010). Substantiated best practices in transition: Fifteen plus years later. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 33, 165-176. doi:10.1177/0885728810376410

Martin, J.E., Williams-Diehm, K. (2013). Student engagement and leadership of the transition planning process. Hammill Institute on Disabilities. doi: 10.1177/2165143413476545

Moringstar, M. E., Frey, B. B., Noonan, P. M., Ng, J., Clavenna-Deane, B., Graves, P., & Williams-Diehm, K. (2010). A preliminary investigation of the relationships of transition preparation and self-determination for students with disabilities in postsecondary educational settings. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 33, 80-94. doi: 10.1177/0885728809356568

Papay, C., Unger, D. D., Williams-Diehm, K., & Mitchell, V., (2015). Begin with the end in mind infusing transition planning and instruction into elementary classroom. Council for Exceptional Children.

doi: 10.1177/0040059915587901

Tilson, G. Developing a positive personal profile, TransCen, Inc. 1,

Van Dyche, J. L. (2005). Determining the impact of self-directed IEP instruction in secondary IEP documents. Doctoral dissertation. (ProQuest document ID: 862929451).

Woods, L.L., Sylvester, L., & Martin, J. E., (2010). Student-directed transition planning: Increasing student knowledge and self-efficacy in the transition planning process. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 33(2), 106-114. doi: 10.1177/0885728810368056

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