Writing Effective Transition Plans and Goals in Ieps

When people think about high school they often think about planning for the future, yet many high schools fail to focus on preparing all students for life after high school. In fact, students with disabilities are often not taught the skills that they need to succeed upon leaving high school (Thomas, 1996). Too many schools focus more on academic skills and especially now because of the No Child Left Behind Act. However, activities for students with disabilities should focus more on providing them with career preparation skills and life skills that enable them to work alongside others. Many students with disabilities who leave high school are ill prepared to get along in the workforce and often suffer from depression and other difficulties (Council for Exceptional Children, 2011) However, when schools effectively address transition and transition activities in an IEP a student is more prone to experiencing success upon graduation.

Writing an effective transition page in the IEP requires teacher knowledge about the student in question.  Teachers need to know the students’ needs, likes , interests, wants and abillities.  This is crucial in effectively writing a transition plan in the IEP.  However, when doing so, IEP teams must be sure to include all individuals vested in the success of the student, which includes the student as well.  Consequently, one of the most important skills a person with disabilities can acquire upon leaving high school is employability skills. However, this is one area where many schools ill prepare students and in the end the student often is left to depend on others. Schools that have effective employment training have produced more independent adults  (Thomas, 1996). Effective secondary schools realize the need for providing these skills to students with disabilities.  Tranisiton plans will focus on giving students with disabilities opportunities to interact with others in work situations so that they can handle themselves in these situations after they leave school. By incorporating these plans of transition into an IEP you essentially prepare students to learn invaluable skills such as working with other people, responsibility, independence, and even certain academic skills.

The second area of consideration for wiriting effective transition plans focuses on adaptive living skills of the student.  Adaptive living skills are those things that people face everyday: learning how to cope with life and our environment. Although tasks such as cooking, cleaning, dressing oneself, and interacting with others often present no problems for an ordinary person, for the student with a learning disability they may cause frustration. In turn this frustration leads to displays of behavior. When this happens in a workplace or other public place it could be devastating to them. That is why incorporating this transition goal into the IEP is essential to their success.  They need exposure to situations in order to be able to overcome them later on (Council for Exceptional Children, 2011).

The third area of transition planning is academics. Learning disabled students are not at grade level and because of this the task of many schools is to try to get them on grade level or as close to it as possible. However, in doing so they fail to realize that what the learning disabled student needs are functional skills. These students often are not prepared for certain life skills and later on this leads to them needing to depend on others to do it for them. Students with learning disabilities do need to acquire a certain academic skills, but what they need differs from one person to the next. One of the areas which schools should promote is functional academic skills like practical math: adding, subtracting, keeping a checkbook, using money, and learning how to shop. Measuring skills also are very useful for the learning disabled student because it involves learning how to cook (Thomas, 1996). Schools need to develop classes that teach these skills and hands on experiences is often the best way to go.

Finally, the plan should focus on what skills the child already has, the functioning level of the child, and what supports the child needs to succeed. Agencies need to be identified and parents and the student need to be active participants in the process. It is important that effective secondary planning focus on specific need areas and that they subsequently address how and what supports will be provided (NICHY, 2011). Schools can provide information as to what agencies are available for the child and link the child with those agencies before he graduates. It is important that schools prepare the student because of the frustration the student experiences when faced with new possibilities.