Plain Language Summary: Transition & Collaboration

Plain Language Summary: Transition & Collaboration


Transition is when a student moves from high school to adult life. For students with disabilities, the law requires students with disabilities prepare for life after high school by having a plan (called a transition IEP) when a student is turns 16. The transition IEP must have goals for getting a job, college or training, and daily living. These goals match the student’s strengths, interests, wants, and support needs. The student’s education, related services (like therapy) and community activities also help reach their goals

Working Together

The school has provided students their education, job training, job supports, and therapies. However, after graduating from high school, those services end. There is no single agency that will provide the full range of services given by the school. To receive help, transition-age youth must be eligible. Each agency has an application and eligibility process. For many students and families, this is a confusing process and requires help from the school and agency staff. Because the adult agencies’ process can take months, students need to apply before leaving school. To work together, each person should know each other’s role and responsibilities.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Student

Students should always be included in meetings about their education, healthcare, and services. Students should lead a person-centered planning (PCP) process to find their strengths, interests, wants and needs. The school can help the students decide their goals for work, school, and living. In most states when a youth with a disability reaches 18, they are legally responsible for making their own decisions. As an adult, they must agree to parents/guardians joining their meetings and appointments.

  • Parents/Guardians

A parent/guardian’s role should be to advocate for a child’s quality of life. They know their child’s strengths, interests, wants, and needs. When the youth is under 18, parents have to apply for needed resources in their child’s name such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid Insurance, Medicaid Waivers, and Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Parents may also help their child by getting training at a Center for Independent Living, purchasing a bus pass, and getting a state identification card.

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC)

The VRC’s role is to provide career counseling and information about work. The VRC may help the student figure out what they want to do after high school. The VRC may offer Pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS). Any student with a disability may get Pre-ETS to explore careers and get ready for working.

  • Waiver Case Manager

If a student receives a Medicaid Waiver, they will choose a case manager. The case manager will develop a plan with the transition-age youth to access community-based services and have the supports they needed for a meaningful quality of life. Based on the budget, the services may include in-home supports, daily living skills, long-term job supports, volunteer work, and others.

For more information and to see a table of Transition-Related Agencies with resource links, please read the full Transition and Collaboration Fact Sheet.

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