Transition Domains for Special Education

Instructor: Lori Sturdivant

Lori has a specialist's degree in Instructional Leadership/Mild Moderate and currently serves as the Lead Teacher for The University of Southern Mississippi's Autism Project.

This lesson will help you create the transition planning part of your student's Individual Education Plan. You'll explore the components that are required in the transition plan, then you can test your knowledge of transition plans with a brief quiz.

What is a Transition Plan?

The transition plan is a required component of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) that should begin no later than 16 years of age, or earlier in some states. This domain of the IEP provides a comprehensive action plan to help the student transition from high school to postsecondary activities. This can include college, employment, military, assisted living, and so forth. The transition plan is created by the IEP team, and the student should play as active a role as possible in the planning process.

Transition Domain Components

The following criteria are required components of the transition domain. Let's explore each of these criteria to help you create the best transition plan for your student.

Postsecondary Goals

One section of the transition domain is postsecondary goals, which are goals that the student will pursue upon exiting high school. These goals must also align with the annual IEP goals and should be listed in the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) statement.

The goals should focus on training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills. The goals must be both measurable and appropriate:

  • Measurable: The transition plan establishes specific criteria for measuring progress towards reaching the goal. It answers the question: How will I know when the goal has been attained? For example, Johnny's goal is to obtain a job working with animals upon exiting high school. The transition domain for this states: Johnny should have job shadowing and/or internships at a animal clinic or a retail store, like PetSmart. This can be measured using time cards or evaluation from a supervisor.
  • Appropriate: The transition plan must be suitable for the student in question. If Johnny is a student with a significant cognitive delay and is on a certificate track, it would not be appropriate to say, Upon exiting high school, Johnny will apply to the local university and take a course load of 15 hours during the fall semester.

Transition Services

Transition services are activities and services that prepare IEP students for meeting their postsecondary goals. The activities chosen by the IEP team must be based on what the student needs, what the student prefers, and what the student is interested in.

It should include instruction, related services, community experience, development of employment, and other post-school adult living objectives. If appropriate, it may incorporate acquisition of daily living skills. Let's take a look at what these components may consist of:

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