A Transition is defined as being a set of coordinated activities that:
Improves the academic and functional skills of the student in order to facilitate
his/her movement from school to post-school activities such as post-secondary
education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported
employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living or
Is based on the individual student’s needs, taking into account his or her strengths,
preferences, and interests;
Includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of
employment and other post-school adult living objectives and, when appropriate,
the acquisition of daily living skills.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, (IDEA), 2004, outlines:
that transition planning must be in effect once a student is 16 years old;
that the development of appropriate, measurable postsecondary goals must be based on age-relevant transition assessment; and
that a statement of transition services to assist the student in reaching these goals must be developed.
The Importance of Educational Transition
Why is Educational Transition Important?
It is crucial to students’ success after high school.
NOD, The National Organization on Disability (2000), found that individuals
with disabilities are more likely to be unemployed, lonely, and unhappy with
their lives compared to those without disabilities.
Demchak (1994) concluded individuals with disabilities, who engage in
appropriate recreation and leisure activities, increase their chances for success
in the community.
Education Transitions - Historical Perspective
Transition planning became a focus of federal policy for students with disabilities
beginning in the 1980s, when it was conceptually operationalized as a ‘bridge’
from school to young adulthood (Will, 1984).
Early transition planning and implementation focused on employment.
Halpern (1990, 1992) designed a more appropriate model that incorporated not
only a student’s employment but residential environment, social supports, and
Frank and Sitlington (1990) posed that post-school transition would be ‘successful’
for students with disabilities not only if they obtained employment, but lived
independently, paid part of their living expenses, and were involved in more than
one community leisure activity.
Effectiveness of Education Transitions
So, how is that working for us?
Transition literature, research, and professional personnel training has primarily
focused on employment (Sitlington, 1996).
Post-school adult adjustment for students with disabilities has been poor but
improving (NLTS2, 2004).
Most leisure choices by students with disabilities are typically physically passive
Because many students with disabilities don’t access or take part in community
programs, they can be socially isolated. Community integration and social
interaction are primary indicators for quality of life.
It is speculated that the lack in addressing the interests of a student with
disabilities in transition planning is a major factor in poor post-school adjustment.
So adjusting to community life and participation should be a significant part in post-
school transition planning.
The Present in one State -- Minnesota
Educational Transition assessments need to include:
Interests of the student
Interests of the family
The knowledge and competencies the student needs to move from school to community-based living
The knowledge, competencies, and strengths the student needs to be successful
The student's physical activity, fitness, and community activity cannot be overlooked:
Students with disabilities should be involved in physical activity at the post-
Students need a certain level of fitness to be involved in vocational
employment. They need minimum strength, endurance, and flexibility to
perform typical employment tasks.
Students need a lifetime physical activity “vocabulary” in order to participate in
physical activities when not sleeping, not at work, or not involved in self-
Students should be active participants in community activities.