Throughout life, families and children experience many transitions. As children reach three years of age, they transition from early intervention (birth-3) to special education services (3-21). Families are faced with moving from family focused services within the child’s natural environment to preschool programs that are child focused. They go from having an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) to and Individual Education Plan (IEP).
This process can be overwhelming for families, thus it is important for the transition process to begin at least six months before the actual date of transition. Throughout the transition process there needs to be open communication between the family and all team members. The team should focus on the individual child’s needs throughout the transition planning process.
The transition process provides time for the new school or program to prepare and best meet the child’s needs. It allows time to reduce fears of the unknown as well as minimize the stress the family may experience. The transition process provides opportunities for families to be equal partners throughout the process. By beginning early, it prevents interruptions in services to the child. During the transition process, families can build new relationships with staff and become involved in the new school. Lastly, the child is supported during the transition process to adapt to their new environment (Minor, n.d.).
Below is a collection of considerations and strategies for families and educational teams of children with combined vision and hear loss and additional disabilities to assist in supporting a successful transition from early intervention services to preschool programs and from preschool programs to elementary school.