School counselors, teachers, and parents often expect you to make plans in advance for what you will do when you get out of high school. The fact that you may be expected to know exactly what you will do in life and how you will do it can be overwhelming. Many teenagers whether they have a disability or not, don’t have a clear idea about what they will be doing in the future. Your parents or caregiver(s) may feel the need to protect you from failure and try to limit your choices.
Formal transition planning is a mandatory part of an Individual Education Plan (IEP). Not all individuals with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus will have an IEP. But, if an IEP is in place for you, your school will develop a transition plan with you.
It is fair for you to have the opportunity to set your own goals and attempt to fulfill them. You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do right now, but it is a good idea to start thinking about your goals and how to achieve them. A transition plan is a good tool which you can use to map out your future after high school.
When you are making plans for after high school YOU should be in the centre of the planning. Your abilities, challenges, goals and what you look forward to must be at the centre of the plan. This is a commonly missed element in transition planning and you need to ensure it does not happen to you. Others, such as your parents, and teachers should be involved and contribute to your transition plan. If you feel unable to speak up for yourself, it is best to have someone who can advocate on your behalf during transition planning.
The transition plan involves three phases:
• Developing a person centred plan
• Implementing and documentation
There should be a transition planning team whose members can be your parents, teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, community agency representatives and so on. Your transition team should have a leader. Many students experience difficulty in making the transition from secondary school to postsecondary education, work, and/or community living. A detailed and coordinated transition plan that is put into place well before you move will help prepare and assist you in making a smoother transition.
Selecting the Transition Planning Team
The team leader, under the direction of the principal and in consultation with you and /or your parent will determine your transition planning team. Team members are selected to ensure that:
• Your needs and strengths are fully accounted for in the plan
• Your goals are achievable with appropriate support
• The actions identified in the plan are appropriate in light of your goals and abilities
• You will have access to sufficient resources to enable you to complete the planned actions and steps leading to achievement of your goals.
Participation of professionals should not diminish your role or, family and friends in taking responsibility for your transition plan.
Orienting the Team Members
Your team leader should make sure that all team members are familiar with transition-planning concepts and procedures by arranging for them to attend a school orientation session.
The following resource materials are important references for a team leader and should be available on request to you and team members
Collecting Background Documentation
Your transition plan will be part of your IEP (Individualized Education Plan) if you have one. An IEP identifies your specific learning expectations and outlines how the school will address them (see list below) through appropriate accommodations, program modifications and/or alternative programs as well as specific instructional and assessment strategies.
Your learning expectations should be listed in the transition plan and they can be:
The team leader will also collect information about you with appropriate permission to develop the transition plan. They may get information from:
Designing the Process
The team leader must decide whether the transition plan can be developed as part of the IEP process or if separate transition planning meetings are needed. Therefore, the team leader will need to determine in advance which of the following best describe your needs:
1. Your transition planning needs can be met as part of the IEP with appropriate support and involvement from you and your family. OR
2. You may require a number of specific supports to ensure a smooth and effective transition. In such a case a portion of the IEP meeting can be set for transition planning. OR
3. You have high or complex needs that involve participation of health care and community service providers and require multiple services to ensure a smooth transition. In this case a detailed transition plan is needed. A number of meetings need to be devoted specifically for transition planning.
Your plan should include:
Check List for Your Transition Plan
Your transition planning can involve school board officials, principals, teachers, students, your family, health care workers, community workers, and others who support you before you leave school.
Identifying the Steps and Actions to Achieve Your Goals
You need to make sure your transition plan:
Health care services
A Case worker
Your transition plan should indicate activities that help you to refine your goals. The following are additional sources that can be explored. In each of the following circumstances the individualized plan can indicate the actions that need to be taken, what you and the team have done and how long it may take:
Your transition portfolio
Although your school will have your portfolio, it is a good idea for you to have your own copy and to maintain it as you complete high school. The following items should be in your portfolio:
Each transition plan must contain at least these four major components: