By the time you are 16, your IEP should focus on how your education can best prepare you for life after high school. By law, it should include information on your goals for life after high school and how you can prepare for the future.
This is called “transition planning” and is sometimes referred to as your “individual transition plan” in your IEP. Transition planning is an ongoing process that establishes the global skills needed to achieve your dreams and goals. This process helps to determine the necessary services and support needed from age 16 until you exit high school and requires that a course of study be set to ensure that you earn a Diploma or a Certificate of Completion and are prepared for your next step in life.
In simpler terms, transition planning is all about what you'd like to study and do after high school, and the concrete steps you need to take to make sure you will be able to do this and more. Transition planning identifies measurable post high school goals including: training/education, employment, and independent living skills. In addition, your transition plan specifies transition activities that will be completed during the next year to assist you with your preparation for your independence and success. The activities should support the development of your after-school goals.
Things may change along the way, after all, your favorite song, food and color change sometimes, so can your goals. But with a set plan, adjusting to changes is actually easier…and you may find that while the in-between steps may change a bit, your ultimate goal to lead a successful and fulfilling life will not.
The Summary of Performance (SOP) is a report provided by your school, summarizing your academic achievements and performance. Academic and/or employment accommodations are included as well. Its purpose is to identify the resources and supports you currently use as well as makes it easier for you and your family to plan for those that you may need as an adult.
The Summary of Performance and ITP is important to assist your transition from high school to higher education, training and/or employment. This information can help establish your eligibility for reasonable accommodations and supports in higher education settings such as college and other training programs. The SOP must be completed during the final year of a student's high school education. However, it is useful to develop this document much earlier. You can be responsible for updating its contents with the help of your teacher.
In truth, transition planning starts before birth, it's something that your parents, family and other support members have been doing for you all your life. Now as you become able to make your own decisions and take on more responsibility for your future, it's important that you are aware of the transition services available to you.
There are a number of activities you can complete to help you with your transition planning. Check out the tools and information on these websites.
www.dor.ca.gov – Department of Rehabilitation – employment related counseling, training, support, job placement and more.
www.heath.gwu.edu – HEATH Resource Center – guidelines for helping high school students actively participate in transition planning.
www.ahead.org – AHEAD – professional organization committed to postsecondary participation of people with disabilities.
www.going-to-college.org – what to do to enter college and what expect once there.
www.schoolguides.org – resource with valuable info on topics such as lesson plans, career tips, and more
www.washington.edu/doit/Brochures/Academics/cprep.html – DO-IT – online tutorials for students preparing for college