What exactly are transition services?
The federal regulations define transition services as a “coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that . . . is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation.” [34 C.F.R. § 300.43(a)(1) and (2)] Further, the regulations explain that transition services mean the development of employment and other post-school living objectives. [Id.] Beginning not later than the year in which a student turns 16 years of age, a student’s IEP must include appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and the transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals. [34 C.F.R. § 300. 320(b)(1) and (2)]
What is the Age of Majority in Arizona, and are there any special requirements regarding a student’s transfer of educational rights?
“When a pupil with a disability reaches eighteen years of age, all rights previously accorded to the pupil’s parent under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 United States Code sections 1400 through 1420) and all rights previously accorded to the pupil’s parent under the laws of this state are transferred to the pupil, unless the pupil has been declared legally incompetent.” [A.R.S. § 15-773(A)] “Beginning not later than one year before the child reaches the age of majority under State law, the IEP must include a statement that the child has a been informed of the child’s rights under [the IDEA], if any, that will transfer to the child on reaching the age of majority under § 300.520.” [34 C.F.R. § 300.320(c)] “A pupil with a disability who is at least eighteen years of age but under twenty-two years of age and who has not been declared legally incompetent, and who manifests the capacity to give and gives informed consent, may execute a delegation of right to make educational decisions pursuant to this section for the purpose of appointing the pupil’s parent or agent to represent the educational interests of the pupil. A student shall have the right to terminate the agreement at any time and resume the right to make decisions regarding their education.” [A.R.S. § 15-773(B)]
When does an IEP need to begin including transition information?
Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually thereafter, the IEP must include the following: appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills; and the transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals. [34 C.F.R. § 300.320(b)]
Are students required to attend their IEP meetings when they are 16 years old or older?
Schools “must invite a child with a disability to attend the child’s IEP Team meeting if a purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of the postsecondary goals for the child and the transition services needed to assist the child in reaching those goals.” [34 C.F.R. § 300.321(b)(1)] The regulations that implement the IDEA state that students must be invited to attend their IEP meetings “beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP team.” [34 C.F.R. § 300.322((b)(2)] “If the child does not attend the IEP Team meeting, the public agency must take other steps to ensure that the child’s preferences and interests are considered.” [Id. at subsection (b)(2)]
What is a summary of performance and when is it required to be written?
The regulations that implement the IDEA state: “For a child whose eligibility terminates due to graduation from secondary school with a regular diploma, or due to exceeding the age eligibility for FAPE under State law . . . , a public agency must provide the child with a summary of the child’s academic achievement and functional performance, which shall include recommendations on how to assist the child in meeting the child’s postsecondary goals.” [34 C.F.R. § 300.305(e)(3)]
If an outside agency is invited with prior parent consent to attend an IEP meeting, but cannot attend, what is the next step?
“If a purpose of a child’s IEP Team meeting will be the consideration of postsecondary goals for the child and the transition services needed to assist the child in reaching those goals, the [school], to the extent appropriate, and with parental consent, must invite a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services to attend the child’s IEP Team meeting. However, if the participating agency does not attend the meeting, the LEA is no longer required to take other steps to obtain participation of an agency in the planning of any transition services.” [34 C.F.R. § 300.321(b)(1)and(3)] According to the ADE Transition specialists, if the representative of the participating agency is not able to attend the IEP meeting, best practice is to invite him/her again in the future, if appropriate, and also for the IEP team to collect information from that particular agency to share with the student/parent. The student/parent could then directly contact the representative of the participating agency outside of the IEP meeting by email, telephone, and/or a personal meeting. If the participating agency moves forward with providing transition services to the student, a copy of the individualized plan from the participating agency can be requested from the student/parent by the school to ensure that the student’s IEP accurately reflects the anticipated transition services to be provided by the that participating agency. Another best practice option is for the IEP team to identify the service(s) that this agency is expected to provide, and then to determine whether there is an alternative provider or whether the service(s) continues to be necessary for the student to pursue his/her postsecondary goals. For additional information, visit the ADE Secondary Transition webpage.