Transition Planning and the IEP

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Using the Transition Planning and the IEP guide

When students are approaching their 14th birthday, the process outlined by the postsecondary transition portion of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) document assists the team’s discussions as they strive to refine the adult life vision and develop a plan for the future. In this guide, Transition Planning and the IEP, individual elements are reviewed and considerations are raised for each of the elements. While these elements coordinate with the IEP process, the elements are not intended to explain how to complete a specific section of an IEP document. Instead, the elements are intended to highlight information that could enhance the content of the IEP. This guideline does not address requirements of compliance and should not be used with intent of assuring a compliant IEP document.

Transition to Adulthood and the Youth with ASD

Transition to adulthood is an exciting and important time in the life of all youth, including youth who learn differently or understand the world through a unique perspective. Many of these youth are gifted and demonstrate multiple talents. All of these youth have strengths on which to build a future. However, often they struggle to navigate a typical educational environment or adult world, resulting in the need for assistance, accommodations and/or services to reach their full potential.

During the transition years, families, educators, adult service agencies or providers may experience additional challenges when attempting to understand needs unique to individuals with ASD and the implications to transition planning. Issues such as sensory sensitivities and social or communication challenges may cause individuals to struggle in school, be fired from a job or engage in activities that put them at risk. It is critical that these needs be recognized and addressed as they have great impact on engagement in meaningful adult life. Topics such as communication, sensory processing, socialization, repetitive behaviors/routines and executive function need to be explored through age-appropriate transition assessment in order to identify the need for service and support. Strategies to address the identified needs in relation to adult employment, community living and postsecondary education should be identified and addressed in the transition plan.


OCALI Lifespan Transitions Center connects individuals, families and practitioners with resources to expand perspectives and knowledge. Resources should be used for reference rather than as an “exact guideline” and with consideration of each individual’s desired adult life goals.

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