What Are Transition Services?
Transition services are available for students eligible for special education and 504 services. They are meant to create a smooth pathway for a young person to move from high school to a successful adult life. Transition services can include work-based learning, internships, career exploration, self-assessments, workplace readiness, and counseling.
Why Is Transition Important?
Transition planning confirms a plan is in place for taking the “next step”. These services help students with disabilities and their families think about life after high school.
Who Provides Transition Services For Students With Disabilities?
- Your student’s school
- Vocational Rehabilitation Services: Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) and the Division of Services for Blind (DSB)
All entities collaborate to provide transition services to your student.
Answers to some of your common questions regarding Transition.
How Do I Request a Transition Meeting?
Reach out to your student’s case manager or the special education director to request a team meeting.
How are Transition Services Different if you Have an IEP or a 504 Plan?
If your student has an IEP and is between the ages of 14-21, you can contact your student’s school and Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS)/Division of Services for the Blind (DSB) about getting Transition services. Both the school and ARS/DSB should be involved and coordinate services. If your student has a 504 plan or has a disability but does not have an IEP, you can contact ARS/DSB directly. They will be responsible for providing Transition services if your student does not have an IEP.
What is a Transition Consent Form?
This consent form allows the school to invite any public agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for Transition services such as ARS or DSB. The federal regulations require the school to invite a representative of a public agency (ARS/DSB) if the public agency is responsible for providing or paying for Transition services. §300.321(b)(3)(b)(1).
Who Should Be Involved in Transition Planning?
A strong team includes:
- Parent(s) – ask about a Transition plan for your student
- Student – identify your student’s strengths, interests, preferences, and needs
- School – The school is required to help determine what services and supports your student needs
- Vocational Rehabilitation Services (ARS/DSB) – The service providers collaborate with the parents, student, and the school to determine next steps for transition.
- Any other outside agency that does/can provide support to your student in the process. These can include: Wraparound, Assistive Technology, Occupational Therapy etc.
What Should a Plan Consist of?
The transition plan must have age-appropriate goals related to:
- Independent living skills
What are Pre-Employment Transition Services?
Pre-employment Transition Services are provided to students with disabilities who have IEPs and who are still in high school.
- Services can consist of job exploration counseling and work-based learning experiences, which may include: in-school or after school opportunities, or experience outside the traditional school setting (including internships), that is provided in an integrated environment in the community to the maximum extent possible.
- Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in postsecondary educational programs at college.
- Workplace readiness training to develop social skills.
- Develop independent living skills and needed resources.
- Instruction in self-advocacy.
- Pre-employment Transition Services do not include training or education for an employment goal. That would require the completion of an Individualized Plan Employment (IPE) through ARS/DSB.
Does a School Provide Long Term Transition Services?
Transition services are focused on the student’s needs, preferences and interests. Transition services start with transition planning (ideally at age 14). Your student can continue to receive Transition services until they earn his/her regular diploma or through the end of the school year in which they turn 21. The IEP team must discuss the types of Transition services needed and how long those services will be provided.
When Should the School District Hold Meetings About Transition Planning?
A school must review a student’s Transition services at least once a year at their IEP meeting. These services must be based on the student’s needs and not just what the school has to offer. A Transition plan should be in writing.
My Student is over 14 and I Just Learned About This Resource. Is it Too Late to Start?
It is never too late to start the Transition planning process. Contact your student’s case manager and formally request a meeting to discuss your students Transition needs with the team.
My Student’s School Says to Wait Until My Student is a Senior to Start This Process. Should I Wait?
Transition planning must start no later than age 16. You can ask the school to start sooner. It is good to start early for students with significant disabilities as well as students that are at risk of dropping out.
The VR Agency (ARS/DSB) Assigned to My Student’s IEP is Not Helpful. What Are My Rights?
Contact Disability Rights Arkansas and ask to speak with an advocate.
- Learn about the Transition process and what it means for your student.
- Obtain a Release and Consent Form for VR involvement. The school should provide this document.
- Invite the Transition specialist or coordinator to join in the IEP.
- Begin to explore your student’s interests and goals.
- Determine appropriate VR agencies.
- Outline a Transition goal.
- Follow transition planning statements outlined in the IEP.
- Get the student a Social Security card, if they don’t have one already.
- The school is required to invite your student to their IEP meetings.
- IEP teams should be reviewing and updating your Transition Goal.
- Graduation plans must be a part of all IEPs for students 16 and over. Students in special education may attend school until the end of the academic year in which they turn age 21. Students may participate in graduation and still be eligible to continue receiving special education services, as long as they have not received a signed diploma.
- Begin job training at school sites or in the community.
- Explore part-time and summer employment options, if appropriate.
- Evaluate the need for disability-related benefits and Medicaid vs. competitive employment and employer insurance.
- Make graduation plans or certificate of completion and attendance, if appropriate
- Notify VR agencies for students with and without IEPs by the fall of the year before they graduate
- Complete your student’s assessment including cognitive, assistive technology, and other related areas by the age of 18, if they plan to register with the Division of Development Disabilities (DDD-CMH).
- Register to vote if teen will be 18 by the day of the next election.
- Begin exploring health care financing.
- Take college entrance exams and complete applications, if appropriate.
- Notify student of rights that will transfer to him/her on reaching the age of majority at least one year before the student reaches the age of majority.
- Meet and tour adult service agencies and select appropriate service providers. Note that places usually cannot be held this early, but it may be worth identifying appropriate agencies.
- Research different models, such as day habilitation, supported vocational, and community-based day support.
- For graduating students planning to attend college, student contacts campus student disability services to request accommodations, prior to the start of school.
- Initiate eligibility process with adult service agencies. Learn the process specific to your state.
- Begin voting in elections.
- Investigate SSI/SSDI Work Incentives.
- Assessment should be completed for both vocational and assistive technology.
- Students should be able to define the accommodations they need for vocational or post-secondary placement.
- Begin voting in elections.
- Investigate SSI/SSDI Work Incentives.
- Notify student of rights that will transfer to him/her on reaching the age of majority at least one year before the student reaches the age of majority
- If your student is continuing to attend a public-school program after age 18, eligibility ends at the end of the school year in which the student turns 21.
- Can sign up for Developmental Disability (DD) services through Community Mental Health at any age, the earlier the better
What is the Next Step?
Transition Advocacy Tips
If you have questions or concerns about your students access to Transition services, contact DRA.
"*" indicates required fields
- Be involved in every step of the Transition process.
- Keep everything in writing. Follow up on conversations with written confirmation.
- Keep a Transition folder with all important documents.
- Ask for copies.
- Always work towards a solution and address any problems that come up.
- Attend information sessions on Transition services hosted by your school, community, or outside agencies.
* Transition is defined differently by different agencies. Schools, particularly with regard to students eligible for transition who receive special education and related services, define transition age between 14-21 or younger if more support is necessary. Meanwhile, Arkansas rehabilitation services defines pre-employment transition as including school-age youth between 16-21, or youth with significant disabilities between 16-24. Regardless, you should communicate with both your school and Arkansas Rehabilitation Services regarding transition supports and planning.