Transition Portfolios

Transition Portfolios are a tool to organize information about students in their transition years and keep track of their independent living skills.

Transition Portfolios are a tool to organize information about students in their transition years. There is no single format or template that works for all individuals, although the use of photos and simple, clear text works best.  In general, the more significant the additional disabilities are that the student has, the more extensive their portfolio should be.  If a student needs assistance with self-care and needs support for communication, then a detailed portfolio is especially important.  

In general portfolios should be told in the first person from the student’s point of view and should use friendly, non-clinical language.  Each member of the team may wish to create a page or pages, so that, for example, the speech language pathologist develops the section on Communication, the O & M instructor creates a Mobility section, etc.

Sections of portfolios should include whatever information is most important regarding a particular individual, and the sections will change according to each person.  The transition portfolio may include the following:


Cover of Transition Portfolio Include at least one image of the student, their name, the name of the school and the date.

Table of contents

Table of Contents

Page 2 of Table of Contents

It is helpful to have a detailed Table of Contents, so that it is quick and easy for others to retrieve the information.

All About Me

All about me

This section can include information such as an overview of the student’s family, favorite foods, songs, preferred activities, likes & dislikes, and important people in the student’s life.

It could also include helpful hints for working with the student, information about the individual’s learning style, and personal contact information for key people in the student’s life.


girl talking into a microphone

This section includes information about the individual communicates and can include recommendations, such information about augmentative or alternative communication systems (AAC) and prompts, as well as suggestions for language-based activities.

It may also be helpful to include a social script about meeting new people or a social story about calling people.  This could include information about the types of conversations the individual enjoys having, as well as prompts about how to engage in a communicative exchange.

Environment and Set Up

a student's room

This section includes information on how to arrange the physical environment to optimize success and independence. This may include special accommodations or modifications, a specific seating arrangement, a way to organize materials, or specific prompts. Ideas of pages to include:

  • Drinking
  • Mealtime
  • Meal Prep
  • My Room
  • Pre-Vocational Activities



This section should cover anything of special concern, such as allergies, seizures, medications, protocol if the individual is choking, g-tube feedings, etc. It can also include information about stretching, fitness and exercise. Information about vision and hearing can be included here too, if it does not appear in the introductory sections.


mobility tips

This section includes information on how the individual moves safely and as independently as possible from one location to the next.


equipment chart

This section can include any information on special equipment, including adapted devices, assistive technology or other items that

Self-Care and Other Routines

washing hands

The level of detail in this section will depend on the needs of the individual student.  The greater assistance the student needs, the more detailed this section should be.  For students who are independent in their self-care needs, this section might include information about more advanced routines, such as clothing management, caring for electronics and assistive device, etc.

More on Independent Living:

By Charlotte Cushman

Brendan working in a factory.

Creating Vocational Portfolios for Adolescents with Significant Disabilities


Transition Talks series kick-off: Overview of Transition Planning

three people looking at a sign post with arrows pointing in different directions.

Eight things I’m glad my TVI taught me about transition