As your child grows older, their needs will change – both in their personal lives and education. Their independent education program (IEP) should reflect those changes.
This is especially important as your child enters high school, and takes one step closer to entering the real world as an adult. So, how should your child’s IEP manage and address these changing needs?
IEPs should cover transition planning
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that your child’s IEP should include transition planning beginning at age 16. This planning generally starts earlier in California, with the law stating that it should begin when students turn 14.
At this point, the IEP should cover the general matters of education goals and support services provided. However, transition planning should also address:
- Postsecondary goals for the future, whether related to education or career
- The transition services necessary to help your child reach those goals
These services will still include special instruction and related services, but they may also include strategies to help your child develop real-world skills for employment or daily life, if necessary.
How do you form these goals?
The IEP team – which also includes you – will create postsecondary goals based on a few critical factors, including:
- Age-appropriate assessments: These assessments frequently involve interviews, surveys, observations and programs to help your child discover opportunities and interests.
- Your child’s preference: What are your child’s interests? What topics make their eyes light up? Age 14 can be quite young to begin considering the future, but it is important to discuss their interests and potential goals to help make the most of transition and postsecondary planning.
As parents and guardians know, your children should always come first, especially when it comes to planning the next steps in their future. Discussing future goals with your child and taking time to understand their needs can help make transition planning more effective.