Transition planning: What do you need to know?

Transition planning is the process of preparing to move from high school to adulthood. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) mandates that transition planning begins no later than age 16; in Massachusetts, the starting age for mandated transition activities begins at age 14.  

Transition services and the preparation for adulthood start at birth and continue through every stage of growth and development. Early planning is a helpful way to ensure that the student, family, school, and community are well-prepared.

The resources we’ve put together here are designed to support you and your student on this journey.

Comprehensive, person-centered transition planning is important, because it:

  • Identifies strengths, needs, and preferences of the individual across multiple settings: school, work, home, and community
  • Involves a coordinated set of activities designed to be results-oriented
  • Promotes self-determination and a person-centered process
  • Identifies the student’s post-secondary goals through age-appropriate transition assessments
  • Is the driving force of a student’s individualized education plan (IEP)

Understanding the IEP process

To get you started, we’ve developed a full guide to understanding, building and executing on a transition-focused IEP. Visit our Transition IEP guide and other resources for insight into:

Talking the talk

Our glossary will help you familiarize yourself with some of the most common transition-planning terms you’ll encounter on your journey.

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Building the plan

As you approach the IEP process, you’ll have questions. We have the answers to help you craft a powerful, personal plan for your student.

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Nailing the details

There are many elements to a strong, successful IEP – and we have resources that help you dig into the most critical things to think about.

Let’s consider your student’s goals

We have resources to support your student’s transition goals after high school: services, assessments, and action items appropriate for each pathway.

Post-secondary education: college and alternatives

Inclusive employment, vocational and career training

Community participation and independent living

A Family that’s been there

“Don’t expect all your ducks to be in a row right away. It takes a village—and time!”

One family has learned how to be open to their daughter trying out new things after she completed high school. Meet Jill and her mom, Brenda.

Jill is continuing to learn through college experiences, while still making time to be with her friends and have fun as a young adult.

Brenda says, “It’s so easy to think you must have everything prepared right off the bat. One of the things I wish we had known when we were thinking about transition is that we didn’t have to have all the ducks in a row on day one.”

Get in touch. Stay in touch.

Need help? Have questions?

If you need help at any age or any stage along the post-secondary transition journey, we’re here to help.

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