IDEA and Federal Law stipulates that the age of 16 is the age that transition must begin.  Nevada Statutes, however, require that if a student is to be 14 within the year of the operating IEP, the transition process must begin.  What are your thoughts about this?  Are there benefits to starting transition 2 years earlier?  What are they?  Any negatives about the difference?  


04/04/2012 21:39

I feel that 14 is a good age for students to begin their transition plans. I also think that it could even begin at an earlier age. Getting students familiar with what a transition plan is and what it means for them could and should begin by the sixth grade. Students making a change from elementary school to middle school go through a lot to coup with this change and it would be better for them if they had a transition plan to help them into this process. There are many benefits to starting it at this age, such as preparing the students for a significant change in their educational setting. It can help alleviate some of the stress that can be associated with going into middle school. It also helps the students with understanding what is going to be expected of them in middle and high school. I think that a transition plan should be in place for every sixth grade even if they are general education and not special education. I do not see any negatives with this type of transition plan, because it would be created by the student, his or her parents and teachers. It would give the student the opportunity to fully understand what these changes are going to be like before they are placed in the middle school setting.

04/05/2012 20:51

I agree that starting the transition process at sixth grade is a very good idea. The students are transiting from elementary grades to junior high school. They begin to have choices for classes they will take. If they start learning to be self advocates in the junior high school grades then when they transition to high school they will be a lot more comfortable being a self advocate. They will understand the process. The student will have more time to explore what they want to do when they leave high school. I agree that every student needs to have a transition plan in place for transition from elementary grades to junior high school . There is a lot of stress for students when they make the transition from elementary to junior high. This could remove some of the stress for students and parents.

04/05/2012 20:41

I think that starting the transition process at 14 is a good idea. This gives the student, teachers,and parents time to explore the options the student has for their future. If a student wants to explore different job opportunities to decide on their future employment they have time to do so. The student also has more time to learn to be their own advocate. For some students learning to be their own advocate will be difficult because they never had to speak for themselves. Starting at age 14 (or 13) will give the time and experience they need. I don't see a real negative reason to starting at 14 but I do at waiting until they are 16.

04/10/2012 18:24

I think that the sooner we get our students thinking about life after graduation, the better their chances for success, both in the special education population and the general population. When I was growing up, college wasn't considered an option; it was always expected that I would go. I think that this expectation shaped the way I viewed my education experience, in a positive way. I never even considered stopping after high school. By talking to our students about their plans, and especially starting transition planning early on for our special needs students, we can also shape their experiences in a positive manner.

04/12/2012 13:05

Although I do agree with the idea of getting students to think about the future there are a lot of variable that need to be considered in what age they should be approached about these types of decisions. First if we are speaking solely of special needs students then I disagree that 14 would not be an appropriate age for trying to make such plans. I do believe that issues of the future should be discussed and brought to light but as for trying to implement a plan that should stick to is a bit beyond their range. If the disability is of cognitive delay, then most often the maturity level of the student is below their age and asking them to make choices that have future implications is often beyond their skill. Not to say that students with physical disabilities cannot achieve this but then we come to a variable of not allowing them to be stress free. Often their plate is full of daily activities and chores that adding to this can be overwhelming. Now playing devil’s advocate to my own thoughts, I do feel that special needs students that are able should focus on what they play to do after high school but not allow it to consume them. They should enjoy their high school years without the added stress of what the future holds. I feel this way because life will often get harder for them after high school. My bottom line is that transition plans are great and should be utilized in a case by case basis.

04/16/2012 11:54

By law, in the state of Nevada, a transition plan must be included in the IEP by the time the student is 14. Does this mean that the full plan will be implemented? It means that it is a plan, just as goals are a plan, that students can work toward over the coming school year. So, it might be that a student who expresses interests in working with animals will do a report over the course of the school year related to careers working with animals. Special education students, of all groups, need additional time to prepare for life after the structure of high school.

You each expressed some pros of starting the process early. Transition, like all potential forms of intervention, is much more successful when it is embedded into the culture of the students' lives. At one point many years ago, I was frustrated with the concept that we should always be talking about careers with students. Can't kids be kids? Now that I work with these students, I realize that life after school is daunting. Many unrealistic notions about what happens after school become a students "reality." Unfortunately, I have also seen what can happen if there are not enough supports in place after school. When we talk about transition, we are really talking about goalsetting. If students have something to work toward, it allows them to potentially see the progress they have made.

Joe, I like that you shared the idea of transition being a part of every 6th grade students experience. We do this to some extent when high schools come an meet with students. We could probably do more-

While your individual culture in your own upbringing may have come with certain unspoken expectations, many of our students won't have that kind of culture supporting their post-school outcomes. Parents will look to schools to help create that culture. The sooner the better!


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