Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), transition is a time for preparing for and moving from school to work and community life. This is an important rite of passage for all young people and a significant milestone for youth with disabilities.
Transition services describe a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that are designed within an outcome-oriented process to promote movement from school to postschool activities. These activities may include postsecondary education, vocational evaluation and training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living through the acquisition of required skills, or community participation. They are based on the individual student's needs, taking into account his or her preferences and interests.
Transition services must be part of a visually impaired student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) by age 16. Transition services can be provided by schools in cooperation with vocational rehabilitation (VR) under memoranda of understanding between state education and VR agencies. Under these cooperative relationships, visually impaired teens can also receive skills training; participate in after school, weekend, and summer programs; and gain work experience training from private or public agencies for the blind and visually impaired.
The Youthhood is designed for young adults and their teachers, parents, and mentors as a dynamic, curriculum-based tool to help young adults plan for life after high school. The site addresses youth directly, providing them with an informative yet nonjudgmental place to learn about themselves and how to prepare for the future.
Professionals working with youths can use the site as a curriculum to help them set goals and plan for the future. The Youthhood includes informational content, interactive activities, an online magazine, and a wealth of other opportunities for progressive learning.
The Youthhood is a project of the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET), which coordinates available national resources, provides technical assistance, and disseminates information related to secondary education and transition for youth with disabilities in order to create opportunities for them to achieve successful futures.
Policy Guidance from OSERS
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) provides policy guidance to school districts and other interested parties on the proper execution of the transition provisions of IDEA. It provides the following guidance on the involvement of students with disabilities in the IEP process:
For IEP meetings involving transition services, there are additional requirements. The Part B regulations provide that the public agency must invite a student with a disability of any age to attend his or her IEP meeting if a purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of either the student's transition services needs, the statement of needed transition services for the student, or both. In these situations, if the student does not attend the meeting, the public agency must ensure that the student's preferences and interests are considered. If another agency would likely be responsible for providing or paying for needed transition services, the public agency must ensure that a representative of that agency is invited to the meeting.
The catalog produced by American Printing House for the Blind contains a wide variety of materials on both the expanded core curriculum and on careers and transition, including the Transition TOTE system: Navigating the Rapids of Life, (Wolffe and Johnson, 1997).
AFB's Bookstore stocks materials on topics such as social skills training and information about a variety of careers, described in Jobs to Be Proud Of (Kendrick 1993), and Career Perspectives (Attmore, 1990). AFB Press also publishes Skills for Success: A Career Education Handbook for Children and Adolescents with Visual Impairments, (Wolffe, 1999).