Transitioning to Adulthood
No youth should ever graduate from high school without knowing the answer to the question: "What's Next?"
How can a youth answer this question?
Through transition planning.
Transition planning is an individualized process by which a youth creates a roadmap to carry him or her from childhood to adulthood.
ADAP, Family Voices of Alabama and Children's Rehabilitation Services (CRS) created the resources found below to help youth and their families create and navigate this roadmap.
Your Role as a Parent
How can you best support your child as he or she approaches adulthood in a way that maximizes your child's independence?
Denise Smith (Office of Disability Services, University of Alabama) and Susan Ellis, (Shelby County ARC) provide tips on "Moving out of the Driver's Seat." Moving out of the Driver's Seat" training was videotaped but is not available for download because of the file size, a copy can be viewed at ADAP offices.)
- "Your Role as A Parent" - Denise Smith
- Alabama Planning for Transition Handbook: Ready for Take Off! - A Publication of the Shelby County ARC
These resources were compiled with grant support from the Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities (ACDD). The views, opinions and content of the trainings and related material do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the ACDD
Social Security Basics for Transition-aged Youth
- Medicaid: How Can Medicaid Support Youth with Disabilities
- Alabama Medicaid Waivers Powerpoint
- Alabama Admin Code E & D
- Alabama Admin Code LAH
- Alabama Admin Code HIV
- Alabama Admin Code ID
- Alabama Admin Code SAIL
- Alabama Admin Code TA
- Chart of Programs../Medicaid Training 09-11/chart of programs.pdf
- E & D Fact Sheet
- HIV Waiver Fact Sheet
- ID Waver Fact Sheet
- LAH Fact Sheet
- Policy and Procedures - E & D
- Policy and Procedures- HIV
- SAIL Fact Sheet
- Summary of HCBW Programs
- TA Waiver Fact Sheet
- Education: Writing Powerful Transition IEPs
"What's Next?" Common IEP Transition Planning Mistakes and How To Avoid Them, for PPT, click here.
Children don't learn by magic or osmosis how to be good self-advocates. As your child moves through school, self-advocacy training should be built into his IEP so he is well-prepared to speak for himself once he becomes an adult.
Here are resources that can help you, your child, and your child's IEP team prepare your student to be a strong self-advocate, especially as the advocacy pertains to school plans.
Age of Majority: Preparing your child for making their own choices http://www.ncset.org/publications/parent/NCSETParent_May02.pdf
"Students Get Involved!" - Great resources compiled by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) http://nichcy.org/schoolage/transitionadult/students/
Student Involvement in Transition Planning
Alabama Diploma Options
Transition of Students with Disabilities To Postsecondary Education: A Guide for High School Educators
Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities
Alabama Transition Standards
Work is for Everyone: Questions for IEP Teams to Foster Work Opportunities for Youth, click here.
Alabama State Department of Education (2010), Preparing for Life: Transition Planning Guide, click here.
- Transition: Questions and Answers
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all rights provided to parents under the IDEA transfer to their child when the child reaches the age of majority. This rule is found in federal law at 34 CFR 300.520 and in Alabama law at Ala. Admin. Code 290-8-9.08(8).
In Alabama, the age of majority is 19. When a student turns 18 in Alabama, parents and students must be advised of the impending transfer of rights. Hopefully, leading up to this moment, the now-adult student's parents and school team have been helping him develop his self-advocacy skills so he's prepared to act on the rights being transferred to him. Click here for more information on self-advocacy development.
While an adult student has authority over his education planning at age 19, this does't mean that parents can't continue to be involved in their child's education. While the transfer of rights presumes that an adult student is capable of making his own educational decisions, there's nothing in the IDEA that prevents the student from taking advice from family, teachers, or people on whom he has always relied. In fact, the IDEA requires the school to provide all special education notices, including meeting notices, to both the adult student and his parents.
2. If I become my child's legal guardian when he turns 19 will I continue to have legal authority over my child's IEP?
Yes, if you were named as your child's legal guardian, then you would continue to have authority over his IEP.
However, ADAP endorses a very restrained use of guardianships, believing all persons, regardless of disability, have the right to make personal choices and help make decisions about their own lives. This includes living arrangements, personal relationships, daily activities, personal finances, employment and education.
Moreover, as noted above, there is nothing in the IDEA to prevent a student and his family from working together to develop good IEP plans after the student turns 19.
If you remain concerned about your child's ability to provide informed consent regarding special education matters, there are two less drastic alternatives to obtaining full legal guardianship over your child.First, you could obtain a limited guardianship, limited to educational matters. For information on alternative to guardianships, including limited guardianships, click here.
A second less drastic alternative to obtaining full legal guardianship over your child is to be appointed as educational representative for him. The Alabama State Department of Education has a process for how parents can be appointed as educational representatives for their adult students. See: https://docs.alsde.edu/documents/65/Procedures%20For%20Determining%20Inability%20To%20Provide%20Informed%20Consent.pdf
3. When does a child's eligibility for special education services end?
A child is eligible to receive special education services until he turns 21 or until he graduates with a regular Alabama High School Diploma (AHSD), whichever comes first.
4. What about the student who receives the Alabama Occupational Diploma (AOD) or the Certificate of Attendance (Certificate)?
Neither the AOD nor Certificate is a "terminal" diploma in Alabama. That is, a child is eligible to continue to receive special education services until he turns 21 even after receiving one of these diplomas.
5. If a student turns 21 in the 1st or 2nd month of the school year, can she complete the entire school year and graduate in May?
If your child, who has not received an AHSD, turns 21 before August 1, she cannot start the upcoming school year.
If your child, who has not received an AHSD, turns 21 after August 1, she can start the school year and complete that year.
Example: It's July 25 and your daughter has just turned 21. She has not received an AHSD. She cannot attend school during the upcoming school year.
Example: It's October 6 and your daughter just turned 21. She has not received an AHSD and she started school at the beginning of the school year in August. She can complete the present school year but her eligibility for services will cease at the end of the school year.
6. My child, 18 years old, wants to "walk" in graduation this year with her class. She's getting an AOD. Can she still come back to school in the fall?Participating in graduation exercises has no bearing on your daughter's eligibility for continued services
As noted above, the AOD is not a terminal diploma and your daughter is not 21.Therefore, she can return to school in the fall.
It's great that she wants to continue on in school! The extra years of schooling that are available to older youth can really help prepare them for successful independent living and work. Think creatively with your child and her school to determine how those extra years of schooling can best be used to help her.
7. When do we contact Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) or is it even the student's responsibility to get VR involved in transition?
Transition planning must start at least by the school year in which your child turns 16. However, it can start earlier if your child's needs require. So, at least by age 16, you should start exploring post-school options for your child, including services which VR might provide to her.
Who needs to contact VR to get the involved? Here's a rule of thumb: if a parent wants an outside provider or agency to participate in her child's IEP planning, it never hurts for the parent to do the inviting and to develop relationships with the provider or agency.
Having said that, it's technically the school's responsibility to invite to meetings any agency that it likely to be providing or paying for transition services the student receives during her high school years or services she will receive after she graduates. These outside agencies could include: VR counselors, admission or disability support staff from postsecondary or vocational schools, Independent Living Center staff, or persons knowledgeable about financial benefits such as Social Security, Ticket-to-Work programs or Medicaid waivers.
Because of issues related to the confidential nature of IEP meetings, you (or your child if she has reached the age of 19) must give prior written consent for the school to invite a representative from these agencies to participate in transition planning meeting.
8. Do all annual goals have to attach to an academic goal (ALEX)?
ALEX is the nickname for the "Alabama Learning Exchange," a website of resources on Alabama's courses of study, curriculum ideas etc. See: http://alex.state.al.us/index.php
IEPs must contain measurable annual academic and functional goals which address the unique needs of the child. Start an IEP meeting with a discussion of what the child needs and construct the goals around those needs.
If ALEX doesn't contain a goal that matches the individual needs of the child, that's ok. Remember that ALEX only provides samples of possible goals for children. The IEP team can (and should) write goals based on the individual need of the child rather than relying on pre-packaged goals that may or may not meet the child's needs or be relevant to the child.
9. How do you write a goal not attached to ALEX?
Like Nike says: Just do it!
Identify the needIdentify the child's present level of performance related to this need
Identify where you want the child to be performing at the end of the school year
Write the goal in concrete, measurable terms.
10. How often can a student be tested or evaluated for a specific learning disability (SLD)?
It's hard to tell from the way the question is worded, but it sounds like a child has been tested and denied eligibility for services and now the parent wants to have him retested.Before answering the question, please note the following general information:
- Evaluations, independent educational evaluations and reevaluations are discussed in Chapter 1 of ADAP's special education manual, "Special Education: A Right Not a Favor." click here
- The state regulations on evaluations, independent evaluations and reevaluations are found at Ala. Admin Code 290-8-9-.02 starting on page 499 in the state's special education regulations (provide link to https://docs.alsde.edu/documents/65/1-AAC%20290-8-9%20%205-19-2011.pdf)
If a parent disagrees with the results of any evaluation done on her child, she can ask for an independent educational evaluation (IEE).An IEE is an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the school district.
You have a right to an IEE at your school district's expense if you disagree with any of the district's individual evaluations of your child. You may request only one IEE for each evaluation with which you disagree. Your IEE request must state that you disagree with the results of the school's evaluation(s).
If you request an IEE, your child's school must provide you with information about where an IEE may be obtained. It must also provide you with the school district's evaluation criteria. While the district may provide you a list of suggested evaluators, you are not required to use any proposed by district.
If you request an IEE, your child's school district must, without unnecessary delay, provide the IEE at its expense or file a due process hearing request to show that its evaluation is appropriate.
Like any communication between you and your child's school, it's a good idea to ask for an IEE in a dated letter. Send the letter to your school district's special education coordinator.
11. What type of post-secondary education funding is available for students with disabilities?
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services can play a critical role in assisting students with post-secondary education funding and services. VR services, described in an Individual Plan of Employment (IPE), are services necessary to assist an individual with a disability in "preparing for, securing, retaining, or regaining an employment outcome that is consistent with the strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual." The services which are available from the VR system are incredibly broad and varied and many can support a student with a disability while he is in school and preparing for employment, including "Vocational and other training, including higher education and the purchase of tools, materials and books."
For more information about VR services, see http://rehab.state.al.us/Home/default.aspx?url=/Home/Main and, more specifically, http://rehab.state.al.us/Home/Services/VRS/Publications%20and%20Forms/VR%20Policy%20Manual.pdf
The federal Department of Education has put together a helpful technical assistance manual which discusses the obligation of postsecondary institutions to pay for "auxiliary aids and services" to students to assist them with their disability-related needs. This manual states:
"Once the needed auxiliary aids and services have been identified, institutions may not require students with disabilities to pay part or all of the costs of such aids and services, nor may institutions charge students with disabilities more for participating in programs or activities than they charge students who do not have disabilities. Institutions generally may not condition their provision of academic adjustments on the availability of funds, refuse to spend more than a certain amount to provide academic adjustments, or refuse to provide academic adjustments because they believe other providers of such services exist. ( http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transitionguide.html) In many cases, institutions may meet their obligation to provide auxiliary aids and services by assisting students in either obtaining them or obtaining reimbursement for their cost from an outside agency or organization, such as a state VR agency. Such assistance notwithstanding, institutions retain ultimate responsibility for providing necessary auxiliary aids and services and for any costs associated with providing such aids and services or utilizing outside sources. However, as noted above, if the institution can demonstrate that providing a specific auxiliary aid or service would result in undue financial or administrative burdens, considering the institution's resources as a whole, it can opt to provide another effective one."
- Taking Care of Myself: Health, Sexuality, and Hygiene for Youth
Martha Sturdevant, MD - PPT, "Taking Care of Myself: Health, Sexuality, and Hygiene".
"Easy for You to Say: Q&As for Teens Living with Chronic Illness or Disability" by Dr. Miriam Kaufman.
- Navigating to an Adult Medical Home
Got Transition 6 core elements
Got Transition Youth Transition Readiness Assessment
What's Next PPT
Parent Engagement Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health "Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health," a new resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Adolescent and School Health, synthesizes research and best practices related to parent engagement in schools and describes strategies for connecting with parents, engaging parents in school health activities, and sustaining parent engagement.
Resources for Parents from the Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) "Conversation Generation" is an online resource providing parents (and foster parents, guardians, and other parenting and caring adults) with knowledge and skills to help them begin and maintain two-way communication with adolescents about sex, sexuality, and relationships and tips for getting the conversation started. OAH was established through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010 to coordinate adolescent health promotion and disease prevention programs and initiatives across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Healthy People 2020: Goals Specific to Adolescents Healthy People 2020, an initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services, established 10-year goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention. Healthy People 2020 includes 11 objectives specifically related to improving the health of American adolescents.
Healthy and Ready for College! Participating in postsecondary education presents a number of challenges to youth with special healthcare needs. This 2011 brief from Think College focuses on healthcare transitions and provides strategies that can be used in college and afterward to help young people stay healthy and ready for the future.
Website Offers Guide To Disability Services in Each State To help individuals with disabilities and their families wade through the Medicaid bureaucracy, a new website, dubbed the Medicaid Reference Desk, offers a breakdown of the various Medicaid benefits offered in each state. It was created by the Arc with funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
If you want help with your child's transition plan, contact ADAP to schedule an intake by calling 1-205-348-4928 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
These resources were compiled with grant support from the Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities (ACDD). The views, opinions and content of the trainings and related material do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the ACDD.