Young people with disabilities will face many transitional periods in their lives. These can be exciting and challenging not just for the young person but also for their families, teachers, and counselors. One of the more exciting transitions is leaving high school and entering the world as an adult, whether to continue with education in college or enter the workforce. It is helpful to students and their families to plan for that transition. In fact, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires transition planning and services for these students!
How are transition services for students with disabilities defined? According to the definition provided by IDEA, transition services are a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that are designed to be within a results-oriented process, that are focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate their movement from school to post-school activities, including college, vocational education, and integrated employment, independent living, or community participation; and are based on the individual needs of the child, while taking into account their strengths, interests, and preferences.
Are you a parent of a child with disabilities who is starting to plan for their transition into adulthood? Or are you a student with disabilities in transition and looking for resources to help you? We can recommend a few resources from the NIDILRR community and elsewhere to help you in your transition:
- The Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (Transitions ACR) uses research and knowledge translation to help ensure that policies, programs, and supports for transition-age youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions help them build the strong cornerstones that support successful long-term adult work lives. This Center provides tip sheets in a variety of subjects related to transition in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese; blog posts for youth and families; webinars; the Comeback TV series, and more.
- The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Employment of Transition-Age Youth with Disabilities develops evidence-based interventions to help youth with disabilities enter competitive integrated employment. This Center provides resources for students with disabilities, educators, and other interested parties, including a course on supported employment in college that is designed for higher education professionals, covering evidence based employment practices that are designed to increase paid employment opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- The National Research and Training Center on Employment of People Who are Blind or Have Low Vision offers a collection of resources for transition-age youth who are blind or have low vision. These include a Transition Activity Calendar, with tasks a student needs to complete as early as Middle School to be ready to attend college. They also offer factsheets on working while receiving Social Security benefits and a guide to preparing for video interviews.
- The Center for Parent Information and Resources offers a range of publications and products focusing on transitions services; what are adult services and where they can be found; education or training, such as vocational and continuing education; employment; and independent living.
- Are you a student with disabilities in transition, a university, or employer and want to know what your rights and responsibilities are under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? The ADA National Network and its 10 Regional Centers can help you learn about your rights and responsibilities. Find and contact your Regional Center online or call 800/949-4ADA (4232) to learn more.
- Are you a high school educator supporting students with disabilities who will graduate from your school and go on to postsecondary education? The Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education has published a guide, Transition of Students with Disabilities to Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators that provides the answers and information you’ll need to help your students with disabilities transition from high school to college or university.
These are just a few of the resources from the NIDILRR community and beyond that can assist you with the transition process. If you would like to learn more, please contact NARIC’s information specialists by chat, phone, or email.