The transition planning process is driven through the development of a comprehensive IEP
for each student. One of the greatest difficulties in the provision of quality transition
services is that transition goals and objectives have not, traditionally, driven the
development of an IEP. Transition planning in many instances, remains an “afterthought”.
Ask yourself a simple question: If we are to prepare students to successfully transition
to the responsibilities of adult life, how can we accomplish this without knowing
where the student is going?
Understanding, defining and clarifying post-school dreams, visions and outcomes will give
teams the foundation to begin to develop transition goals and objectives that reflect what
skills a student will need to achieve his/her goals.
We need to re-think our approach at IEP meetings – TRANSITION PLANNING MUST
The transition component of the IEP must address the targeted post-school outcomes in
each of the domains noted in IDEA: post-secondary education, vocational training,
integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education,
adult services, independent living and community participation. The post-school outcome
areas mandated under IDEA can be consolidated into the domains of:
Employment/Post-secondary Education
● Independent Living
● Community Participation
Employment: ~What kind of work would you like to do?
~What kind of training will you need for that work?
~What kind of environment would you enjoy working in?
~Will you need any supports on the job?
Post-secondary Education: ~Are you interested in pursuing higher education after you
leave high school?
~Have you investigated the types of colleges/universities that
would match your interests/needs/environment?
~What supports will you need to succeed in a postsecondary, academic environment?
Independent Living: ~Where would you like to live (with your family, on your own,
with a friend/roommate)?
~What kinds of skills will you need to make it happen
(cooking, cleaning, using transportation)?
~How will you take care of your health needs?
~How will you manage financially?
Community Participation: ~Will you be able to travel to work and leisure activities in
the community?
~Will you be able to access the services that can help you?
~Do you have hobbies and interests outside of school? Will
they be enough to fill your leisure hours as an adult?
~How will you be able to find friends and maintain
relationships with friends and family?
Once you have the answers to some of these questions, you can begin to develop a
framework for what life after school will look like for this student. You will also have
a better idea of what skills, experiences, and educational experiences must be integrated
into the student’s IEP.
The following section contains an explanation and samples of the “Age 14 Statement of
Transition Service Needs” (completed at the annual review following the student’s
13th birthday).
The intent of beginning transition planning at an earlier age is as follows:
● At age 13 – 14, many students are making the transition from middle school to high
school. During this critical period, the law intends that schools begin to discuss
long-term transition goals and the appropriate “courses of study” a child must
participate in at the high school level, in order to be prepared to meet these goals.
● Schools should be well prepared to discuss all course options that students and
parents should consider. This would range from college preparatory course,
vocational-technical schools, career academics, school –to-career programs or a more
functional program.
● The annual statement of transition service needs should be broad enough to include
the major components of study and the program and service needs that a student
will need to begin achieving their long-term goals.
An example of a Statement of Transition Service Needs might be:
(The student) expresses an interest in pursuing post-secondary education upon graduation
From high school. (The student) needs to enroll in the college preparatory course at high
school and receive the necessary academic support in order to maintain passing grades.
Specific training should occur in the areas of study skills, time management skills,
organizational skills and self-advocacy skills.
(The student), expresses an interest in seeking full-time competitive employment or
technical skills training upon graduation from high school. (The student) needs to
investigate the vocational training opportunities available at an area vocational/technical
school. (The student’s) IEP needs to address how he/she will participate in vocational
assessments, career exploration and job training throughout his/her high school career.
(The student) will be entering a supported employment situation upon graduation from high
school. (The student’s) secondary program must include a wide range of community-based
career exploration and training opportunities, independent living skills training, and
opportunities for social/recreation activities.
● The age 14 statement of transition service needs will be developed at the IEP meeting
before the student enters high school. It would then make sense that specific
objectives under the applicable component of the IEP (Employment/Post-secondary
Education, Independent Living, and Community Participation) also be developed at
this time.
The following section also contains an “Objective Bank” that can assist you in identifying
potential areas of skills training for a student. While not exhaustive, it should provide you
with some good ideas of the types of opportunities the student will need in order to enhance
their independence as an adult in whatever post-school environment.
Goal: Student will acquire the skills to successfully transition to a two-year or four year
____ Student will enroll in academic classes that will prepare him/her for the educational
challenges of postsecondary education.
____ Student will meet with guidance counselor/special education teacher to discuss
academic requirements of pursuing a college degree.
____ Student will demonstrate skill in developing a positive school profile and resume that
will be used in the college application process.
____ Student will participate in at least one extracurricular activity in order to develop
nonacademic aspects of learning.
____ Student will describe their disability in terms of learning strengths and weaknesses.
____ Student will attend postsecondary options, fairs, events, and group sessions provided
by the school.
____ Student will participate in the traditional standardized tests necessary for acceptance
to postsecondary institutions (PSAT’s, SAT’s. etc.).
____ Student will complete the paperwork necessary to take the SAT’s with
____ Student will schedule a visit with the Disability Services Coordinator for at least two
colleges/universities to determine the levels of services available.
____ Student will describe the accommodations/modifications available to them in
postsecondary settings.
____ Student will explain the difference between protection under special education law
(IDEA) and Sections 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the American with Disabilities
____ Student will ensure that all evaluation data required by postsecondary institutions
has been conducted and is within three years of graduation.
____ Student will receive direct skills training in becoming a self-advocate:
____ Learn whom to ask and when to ask for assistance.
____ Practice describing what is needed in order to become a successful student.
____ Develop and practice negotiation skills to help get what is wanted/needed.
____ Develop strategies for seeking assistance.
____ Discuss disability needs in the context of seeking accommodations.
____ Student will practice needed postsecondary education strategies:
____ Time management
____ Test preparation
____ Study partner/study group
____ Note-taking techniques
____ Special study locations
____ Stress reduction techniques
____ Test anxiety reduction activities
____ Student will develop the skills to organize their work with efficiency.
____ Student will develop strategies to enhance their study skills.
____ Student will determine what testing; evaluation data is required by a postsecondary
institution in order to receive needed accommodations.
____ Student will research resources within and outside the college to find support:
____ Determine if they are eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation Services.
____ Research private tutoring, if necessary.
____ Research Personal Care Assistance services, if necessary.
____ Student will submit a resume and postsecondary list of options to their guidance
counselor by September, Grade 12.
____ Student will write a personal essay in the fall of Grade 12.
____ Student will investigate availability of financial aid and complete paperwork.

Goal: Student will complete a series of activities in order to prepare him/her to transition
to competitive or supported employment.
____ Student will complete a series of formal and/or informal vocational assessment
____ Career Interest Inventory
____ Learning Style Inventory
____ Student Interview
____ Parent Interview
____ Values/Maturity Inventory
____ Achievement Test(s)
____ Psychological Test(s)
____ Student will define interests and abilities related to potential career and job
____ Student will develop a career portfolio to compile all vocational related materials.
____ Student will complete a minimum of two job reports on occupations of interest.
____ Student will complete a series of formal and/or informal vocational assessment
____ Student will participate in ____ career trips to area businesses.
____ Student will participate in ____ school-based opportunities to hear guest speakers
form career fields of their choice.
____ Student will identify primary and secondary career goals comparing the qualifications
necessary for success in such occupations with his/her own abilities.
____ Student will increase knowledge of general labor laws re: the employment of minors
(e.g. work permits, hours of work, minimum wage and jobs permitted for minors).
____ Student will demonstrate skills necessary to effectively locate, apply, interview and
maintain employment.
____ Student will identify attitudes and behaviors necessary for job success.
____ Student will apply decision-making strategies to job-related issues.
____ Student will develop a personal resume.
____ Student will define transition goals related to competitive or supported employment
postsecondary education and training, independent living, and community
____ Student will meet with adult service representatives to initiate referral process.
____ Student will meet with adult service representatives at least two times per school year
to prepare for transition.
____ Student will discuss job-related concerns and transition planning issues in
vocational counseling sessions.
____ Student will complete ____ job shadowing experiences related to expressed interests.
____ Student will successfully complete ____ school supervised work experiences.
____ Student will demonstrate positive work habits and attitudes in school-based
vocational settings.
____ Student will participate in ____ community based internships in a career field of
____ Student will demonstrate positive work habits and attitudes on community based
vocational training.
____ Student will complete ____ community based job training experiences.
____ Student will self evaluate work behavior in community based vocational settings.
Goal: Student will demonstrate self-advocacy skills in order to communicate learning style,
academic and behavioral needs.
____ Student will complete a learning style inventory and be able to describe learning
____ Student will communicate to others the strengths and weaknesses of learning style.
____ Student will review the modifications/adaptations page of his/her IEP.
____ Student will communicate with teachers to seek help, clarify instructions or
requirements of academic tasks, and make them aware of accommodations.
____ Student will learn skills to begin to facilitate his/her PPT.
____ Student will identify impact of behaviors on self and others and how it affects
____ Student will assess accuracy of assignments and tests by reviewing for errors and
making necessary revisions.
____ Student will accept the consequences of being unprepared for class by discussing
such consequences and developing a strategy to avoid such problems in the future.
____ Student will demonstrate the skill of obtaining information from teachers regarding
tests, quizzes, projects, etc.
____ Student will develop and carry out a plan for making up work missed due to absence.
____ Student will accept responsibility for utilizing resource period services to meet
classroom objectives.
____ Student will discuss specific topic behaviors (positive or negative) and their effect on
academic classes and/or social performance of self.
____ Student will seek guidance/direction when facing new or difficult situations.
____ Student will appropriately confront topics/issues which are uncomfortable, with
____ Student will plan and implement alternative solutions for school problems as they
occur with adult guidance.
____ Student will face academic and social situations positively and appropriately and
discuss feelings regarding these situations.
____ Student will accept praise and/or criticism from peers or adults and utilize this to
change social and behavioral outcomes.
Goal: Student will demonstrate organization and study skills in order to participate
successfully in academic classes.
____ Student will self-monitor homework by maintaining an assignment note pad that lists
all assignments and dates due.
____ Student will monitor long-term assignments by breaking down assignments, setting
up blocks of time for completion of each part, recording and monitoring progress.
____ Student will show preparation for class by reporting to class on time with necessary
materials for class.
____ Student will complete assigned tasks by following oral and written directions.
____ Student will complete assigned tasks by beginning within a reasonable amount of
time and finishing within a specified time frame.
____ Student will work towards effective task completion by remaining on task, ignoring
distractions and working independently for a specified period of time.
____ Student will assess accuracy of assignments and tests by reviewing for errors and
making necessary revisions.
____ Student will demonstrate understanding of concepts presented in class by applying
study skills (e.g. note taking, outlining, summarizing).
____ Student will gain understanding of class content by identifying key words, taking
notes and using compensatory devices as needed.
____ Student will actively prepare for tests and quizzes by applying strategies (e.g.
visualization, graphic organizers, outlining, attending extra help sessions, etc).
____ Student will demonstrate improved organizational skills by keeping class work and
notebooks orderly.
____ Student will demonstrate self-advocacy skills by planning with classroom teachers for
academic and behavior needs.
____ Student will accept the consequences of being unprepared for class by discussing
such consequences and planning how to avoid such problems in the future.
____ Student will improve test-taking skills by acquiring and applying strategies.
____ Student will prepare for more active participation in classes by previewing and later
reviewing topics of study.
____ Student will independently seek assistance in classes by choosing a classmate,
checking thoroughness of notes and clarity of assignments.
____ Student will increase retention of material read by applying strategies for
approaching the reading of content materials (scanning, skimming, note taking,
outlining, summarizing).
____ Student will accept academic responsibility by utilizing resource periods and working
with staff to meet study skills objectives.
____ Student will self-monitor assignment completion by prioritizing tasks and breaking
down assignments into workable units.
____ Student will complete research projects by setting a time line for completions,
locating primary and secondary sources, taking notes from these sources, citing
sources, organizing by sub-topic and presenting report in oral or written form.
____ Student will access the reading component of classes through the use of recorded
materials as needed.
____ Student will employ compensatory strategies in setting goals in content classes,
creating strategy to improve recording of assignments, developing strategy to improve
grades, monitoring time spent on specific subjects and following through on the use
of these particular strategies.
____ Student will improve memory strategies by acquiring and applying a variety of
memory techniques.
____ Student will improve note taking skills by acquiring and applying strategies for
written and oral sources.
____ Student will independently arrange conferences/extra help sessions with teachers.
____ Student will complete assignments on time and according to designated criteria by
recording assignments, budgeting time appropriately, being prepared by having all
necessary materials, and by seeking help when necessary.
____ Student will earn a passing grade in academic courses by participating in in-class
discussions/activities, utilizing various study skills and actively preparing for
____ Student will accept academic responsibility by attending classes on a regular basis,
participating in class discussion and activities, completing assignments according to
stated criteria, and following class behavioral guidelines.
Goal: Student will acquire the necessary daily living skills to allow for independent
functioning in a variety of environments (home, vocational, and community).
____ Student will maintain well-groomed appearance and proper hygiene.
____ Student will perform appropriate first aid for minor cuts, burns, and insect bites.
____ Student will identify personal medical management needs (prescription, over-thecounter medicine, directions and safety of use).
____ Student will verbalize information about the need for regular exercise and proper diet
to maintain healthy bodies.
____ Student will identify steps necessary to ensure a safe environment, such as obtaining
appropriate assistance during emergencies, dealing with strangers, having
appropriate ID and knowing when and how to use it.
____ Student will maintain a bedroom by making a bed correctly, hanging up and placing
clothes neatly in closets/drawers.
____ Student will maintain a clean bathroom – based upon specific teacher criteria.
____ Student will maintain a clean kitchen – based upon specific teacher criteria.
____ Student will maintain a clean living room – based upon specific teacher criteria.
____ Student will apply and expand knowledge of meal preparation skills, clean up, food
storage, and safety in the kitchen – based upon specific teacher criteria.
____ Student will demonstrate use of household appliances – based upon specific teacher
____ Student will demonstrate appropriate skills in laundering – based upon specific
teacher criteria.
____ Student will perform necessary organizational techniques, such as calendar use,
scheduling, and record keeping.
____ Student will expand time management skills as they related to home, work, and the
____ Student will, through role playing, demonstrate appropriate telephone etiquette,
usage, 911 emergency calls, 411 operator assistance, and personal safety.
____ Student will apply and expand knowledge of written correspondence including
telephone messages, letters, lists, etc., based upon specific teacher criteria.
____ Student will, based on a dollar amount, choose and purchase a meal in a restaurant
or cafeteria.
____ Student will demonstrate proper etiquette, procedure, and social conversation when
in a community-based upon specific teacher criteria.
____ Student will, based on a given dollar amount, locate and purchase appropriate items
in a store for meal preparation, clothing purchases, household and personal needs –
based on specific teacher criteria.
Goal: Student will acquire the necessary skills to access the community with independence
(and/or specified level of support).
____ Student will participate in ____ extracurricular activity/clubs in the school and
____ Student will participate in ____ sports program in the school/community.
____ Student will be assigned a Peer Mentor to support him/her in recreation/leisure
activities in the school/community.
____ Student will read and follow directions, maps, signs and transportation schedules.
____ Student will receive additional tutorial support to pass the written driver’s license
____ Student will learn the skills to access public transportation.
____ Student will participate in community-based training to learn skills related to:
____ Shopping
____ Going to a Restaurant
____ Establishing a checking and saving account and completing transactions
at a bank.
____ Utilizing the Post Office
____ Student will demonstrate an understanding of proper etiquette in a variety of
social/community situation.
____ Student will register to vote (if age 18) and learn the skills to use the voting machine.
____ Student will learn the skills to access appropriate medical care (calling doctor to
make appointments).
____ Student will identify leisure activities that they can enjoy in their free time.
____ Student will identify appropriate community resources that could support them after
high school.
____ Student will complete an application for federal/financial assistance, if appropriate
(SSI, SSDI, Title XIX), with assistance from staff and family.