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Transition Planning and Services

Angela Oswalt Morelli , MSW

When student reaches age 16, a Transition Statement and Plan (TSP) will be included in with their IEP. The purpose of the TSP is to document the student's goals for postsecondary education, vocational training, job placement, and independent living needs after high school is over. A good transition plan will also discuss a student's social and recreational needs, as well.

serious teen girlIDEA requires that the TSP document the student's own plans, goals, and desires. The TSP is also mandated to include plans for "instruction related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation." This plan helps youth with disabilities take control of their future by helping them create a meaningful and workable plan for achieve their goals for work, social interests, and community participation after school has ended.

College bound youth with mild disabilities may only require limited support with taking college-entrance exams, applying for college entrance, and liaison assistance with their selected college's academic services department (who will take over managing the student's special needs accommodations) to meet their post high-school goals. Other students with mild disabilities interested in vocational training may require assistance enrolling in a vocational program while still completing a high school degree. Youth with more severe disabilities will typically require far more intensive ongoing supportive services, however. Transitional plans need to address student's capacity for independent living along with their suitability for academic or vocational programs, and arrange for ongoing community supports as well when they are needed.

Supported housing is a type of living arrangement designed to set up a "least restrictive environment" living setting for youth (and adults) with more severe disabilities. Supported housing residents maintain a fair amount of independence as they live communally with other similarly disabled individuals. However there are also paid staff members on hand who help supervise and support the residents.

Severely disabled youth may also benefit from additional community supports designed to help them maintain gainful, competitive employment. Students may be helped to connect with a supported employment agency in their community. Supported employment is a model of care that acknowledges a job-seeker's limitations while emphasizing on helping them meet their goals. Supported employment programs provide a wide range of supports that vary depending upon the needs of the job-seeker.

Youth with the most profound disabilities may lack the skills or abilities necessary for independent living and be better suited to a more supervised environment. Families of these children will need to begin planning institutional living arrangements or supports necessary to keep the child at home as they grow towards their majority. According to IDEA, youth can continue to receive free, appropriate education until age 22. After age 22, the public school system is no longer responsible for providing an education to students. However, depending on the individual's disability, he or she may be eligible for receiving other services through the local, county, or state social service agencies.

 

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