Loren has a B.S. in History and a M.S. in Special Education. She works actively in the education field.
What is an Individual Transition Plan?
An Individual Transition Plan (ITP) is a plan developed for special education students that will help them set goals and transition successfully into post-high school life. This plan is part of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which is a plan created for all students identified as needing special education services in the classroom setting. Both the IEP and the ITP are mandated through a set of laws called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. This act outlines and describes what considerations need to be taken into account when educating students with special needs.
While an IEP is created as soon as a student has been identified as needing Special Education services, the Individual Transition Plan is not included in the IEP until a student reaches transition age. This age differs by school district. Some schools choose to start transition planning with students as soon as they begin high school, and include the ITP in all high school IEPs. However, under IDEA, the ITP must be included the first IEP created after the student turns sixteen. The transition plan has to include several different parts. The first part is a statement of student goals and plans for after high school. This can include going to college, a vocational program, or a plan to begin working or mastering life skills after high school. The second part is how the student plans to achieve those goals and what services the school is going to provide to assist the student in achieving the goals.
For example, John Smith is a tenth grader at ABC High School who has just turned sixteen. His plan after graduation is to become an auto mechanic. John's ITP would include this goal, along with his plan to attend a local technical college after he graduates high school. John's special education case manager writes into his ITP that John will take automotive shop classes his junior and senior year of high school and that John will spend time shadowing an automotive technician.
This ITP has John's goals clearly written, and outlines the services that will be provided to help John transition out of high school and into a local technical college. Let's take a look at how John's plan was created.
Creating a Transition Plan
ITP planning occurs during a scheduled Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting, where the following team members are present:
- The child's parents/guardians
- At least one regular education teacher
- At least one special education teacher
- A school administrator
- A school support services provider, such as a guidance counselor
- A translator, if needed
- The child, when appropriate
The meeting begins by reviewing the child's current IEP and annual goals. Then, the Special Education teacher should ask the child about his or her goals after high school, such as plans to attend school or start working, where they plan to live, and how much independence they would like to have.
After determining what the child would like to do after high school, the Special Education teacher should lead a conversation about how to best help the child get to their goals. This might include choosing specific high school courses, creating a plan for visiting colleges or technical schools, or working on independent living skills such as cooking and managing money. The special education teacher will then write these supports into the ITP and track the child's progress on these goals. If a student is unsure of what they want to do after high school, or have several interests, the initial ITP might include goals that help in the career exploration field- such as visiting colleges, job shadowing, or taking a wide range of classes.
Tracking the ITP Goals
Just as annual academic goals are monitored in a child's PPT, the Special Education case manager will monitor ITP goals in the PPT annually. At each annual PPT after the ITP is created, the case manager will check in with the student to see what progress is being made. In John's case, his case manager may check in to see how his automotive classes are going or talk to John about how his job shadowing is going.
If a student's goals or plan changes, the ITP must change as well. For example, if John decides that he would rather go to a four year college than become an automotive technician, the ITP plan must change to accommodate John's new plans.
An Individual Transition Plan (ITP) is a plan designed to help students sixteen and older transition smoothly from high school to higher education or the workforce. The ITP is part of a student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that is created to help track and monitor student goals as they relate to their Special Education Services.
The ITP is created at the first Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting after the child turns sixteen. This meeting is the annual meeting held to review student goals and any needed support services. This is mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which outlines Special Education laws.
The ITP should include both the child's plan or goals for after high school and the supports that will be put in place by the Special Education teacher to help the student achieve their goals.
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