By definition, transition is a process of change, “a process or period in which something undergoes a change and passes from one state, stage, form, or activity to another” according to the Encarta Dictionary. As we all know, change is difficult for most people. For families who have youngsters with disabilities, change can be even harder. There are, by design, three separate transitions built into the special education system. This fact sheet will explain the various steps, timelines, roles of participants, and things to think about while planning. Our goal is to organize and prepare you, if not simplifying the process, while you participate in these stages. You will also find additional resources to draw upon in your approach to each transition point.
Transition from Infant and Toddler Services to
During this six-month period, the MAWA may review evaluation information and/or conduct additional evaluations. The MAWA becomes responsible for holding an IEP meeting before your child turns three although services will continue under the IFSP if that meeting is not held in time. Many MAWA’s have service coordinators who handle the transition for the MAWA but by design, their role does not continue as intensively as the 0-3 service coordinator’s role has been. For more information about this transition, check out: http://www.bbpages.psu.edu/bbpages%5Freference/40001/400015577.html for the BEC Basic Education Circular.
Transition from Preschool to School
Assuming you sign the permission to release of information, you will be invited to a transition meeting with your district. This meeting must be held by the end of February. You will be asked to sign an ‘intent to register’ as well as a ‘permission to evaluate’ (PTE). The PTE must specify the types of testing (or record review) that will take place. This evaluation must be completed within 45 school days (according to your district calendar). As a member of the evaluation team you will have an opportunity to give input and as the parent you should receive a copy of the CER (comprehensive evaluation report) and the individual reports of the evaluators by the 60th day of signing the PTE. You will have an opportunity to write a dissenting opinion if you feel any information is inaccurate or incorrect. This dissent will be attached to the report and should be considered in developing the IEP. You have a right to receive the CER 10 days before the IEP meeting is held but you may be asked to sign a waiver if you have not had this time but you can refuse to do so. The IEP meeting can be held any time within 30 days of the issuance of the CER.
The IEP that is developed by the team, including you, the parent, must detail the services and supports your child will need to make reasonable progress and receive FAPE in LRE (a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment). The goals and objectives must be measurable and the method of evaluation and how progress will be reported to you should also be included in the IEP. You must agree to this new IEP and placement in order for the change to occur. If for some reason this process is not completed, your child may return to preschool or progress to school while the preschool IEP will continue to be followed. For an annotated IEP to help you through this process you can call the Education Law Center at 215-238-6970. For more information about this transition, check out: http://www.bbpages.psu.edu/bbpages%5Frefernce/40001/400015578.html for the BEC Basic Education Circular.
Transition from School to Adult Life
Evaluations should begin to address continuing education, community, vocational and life skills activities, as appropriate during this transition time as well. A student’s needs for support and education to care for him/herself and to develop work-oriented skills will be addressed in addition to academics during this transition time. A graduation plan becomes part of the IEP at the point that graduation is three years away. A graduation plan may look at academic criteria or completion of IEP goals at the discretion on the team. It is important to consider the need for related services to support transition goals as well. While it is not necessary to have all of the questions or answers at the beginning of the process it is important not to artificially limit options either. In this transition the team needs to focus on the various aspects of adult life. Information should be shared about benefits that may become available to students as they age as well as registration for selective service for males at 18 years of age and voter registration. Focus should also be placed on how ongoing support needs may be addressed beyond the school entitlement as well as the variety of funding options that may exist. For more information about this transition, check out http://www.bbpages.psu.edu/bbpages%5Freference/40001/400015629.html for the BEC Basic Education Circular.
Additional resources include:
Prepared for PA Parents and Caregivers Resource Network by R. Landsman - Parents Exchange – 215-242-9501