Photo of professional helping a young woman.

(From TennesseeWorks)

What Does High-Quality Transition Assessment and Planning Mean?

During high school, students, educators, families, and other members of the educational team begin the important task of developing a transition plan outlining the student’s postsecondary goals (see box) along with the educational services, supports, and linkages that will help him or her achieve those goals. Age-appropriate transition assessments are used to help identify which transition services are most essential for a particular student. Each student’s transition plan should be unique and tailored to the individual strengths, needs, interests, skills, and strengths of the student. At the same time, each plan should create a pathway for students to move from high school to valued adult roles, including work.

Why is High-Quality Transition Assessment Planning Important?

Despite the importance of involving students actively in this assessment and planning process (Carter, Brock, & Trainor, in press; Wehman, 2011), many teachers struggle to carry out transition planning in ways that fully engage youth, families, and other professionals in the process. Yet, the planning process itself is critical to transition success. For example, when young people are actively involved in writing their own transition plan, they are developing self-determination and self-advocacy skills. Unfortunately, almost one quarter of youth with an intellectual disability or autism are not even present at their own transition planning and nearly half participate minimally when they are present (Shogren & Plotner, 2012).

How Do I Write a High-Quality Transition Plan?

Although transition planning should begin by age 14 (or earlier), the transition plan is not a static document. Instead, it evolves each year to match the emerging needs and goals of the young person. Opportunities for community-based work experience are an integral piece of the transition plan. Concrete goals and steps towards achieving those goals should be clearly outlined within the plan and based upon transition assessments. Quality transition planning involves the young person in developing their own transition plan. If young people feel as though their voice is included in their transition plan, they may be more likely be committed to the identified goals and steps.

Where Can I Learn More About Transition Assessment and Planning?

The following links include guides, stories, and other resources related to effective transition planning for employment among young people with IDD:

Image of Top Ten List

Kentucky Checklists for a Bright Future

The Kentucky Checklists for a Bright Future offer a one page checklist of the most important things parents and youth ...
Read More
4 young women, including one young woman with Down syndrome, playing golf.

Transition Overview Document

Download the Transition Overview Document [link]. Learn from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and the Kentucky Office of Vocational ...
Read More
EMP 103 course image

KentuckyWorks Module—Transition 103: Endless Possibility – Preparing High School Students with Disabilities for Successful Transition to Employment

EMP 103: Endless Possibility - Preparing High School Students with Disabilities for Successful Transition to Employment This course reviews preparation ...
Read More
Updated KentuckyWorks Module—EMP 101: What We All Need to Know About Transition for Students with Significant Disabilities

Updated KentuckyWorks Module—EMP 101: What We All Need to Know About Transition for Students with Significant Disabilities

Updated EMP 101: What We All Need to Know About Transition for Students with Significant Disabilities Take course for credit ...
Read More
Charting the Lifecourse web image

Charting the Lifecourse Nexus

Charting the Lifecourse [Link] Charting the Lifecourse includes resources, courses, tools, and online and in-person support to help young people ...
Read More
Kentucky Department of Education: Transition

Kentucky Department of Education: Transition

Kentucky Department of Education: Transition [link] Transition is the “exit” out of a child’s secondary school to the adult world ...
Read More
Charting the Life Course: Transition to Adulthood booklet

Charting the Life Course: Transition to Adulthood booklet

Charting the Life Course: Transition to Adulthood booklet [link] Booklet about how to become an adult in many different areas ...
Read More

Specific Examples of Postsecondary Goals

  • Goal #1: After high school, Javier will work full time in food service at a local hospital or nursing home
  • Goal #2: After high school, Lexi will enroll in a community college program to receive training in cosmetology
  • Goal #3: After high school, Mason will successfully complete an apprenticeship program in carpentry
  • Goal #4: After high school, Aydin will work part time as a teacher’s aide at a local daycare
  • Goal #5: After high school, Alicia will enroll in classes in the local technical school