Transition Services


Transition services are intended to help youth with disabilities make the transition from the world of secondary school to the world of adulthood. That said, it helps to know  IDEA defines transition services. You’ll find the definition at §300.43, as follows:

§300.43 Transition services.

(a) Transition services means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that:

      (1) Is designed to be within a results-oriented process, 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

       (2) Is based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths,
             preferences, and interests; and includes:

             (i) Instruction;

            (ii) Related services;

           (iii) Community experiences;

           (iv) The development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives; and

            (v) If appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocational

(b) Transition services for children with disabilities may be special education, if provided as specially designed instruction, or a related service, if required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.


Adult Living.  Activities/strategies in this area emphasize activities/strategies that focus on adult living skills.  These are generally those activities that are done occasionally such as registering to vote, filing taxes, obtaining a driver’s license, renting or buying a home, accessing medical services, obtaining and filing for insurance, accessing social security.

Community Experiences.  The emphasis in this area is on activities/strategies that are generally provided outside the school building and that prepare the student for participation in community life.  These activities should encourage the student to participate in the community, including government, social, recreational, leisure, shopping, banking, transportation, and other opportunities.

Daily Living Skills.  Those activities that adults do most every day.  These can include such things as preparing meals, budgeting, maintaining a residence, paying bills, raising a family, caring for clothing, and/or personal grooming.

Employment.  Activities/strategies listed in this area focus on development of work-related behaviors, job seeking and keeping skills, career exploration, skill training, apprenticeship training and actual employment.

Functional performance is not defined in IDEA 2004, but IEP teams can consider the nonacademic needs of the student that might include:

  • Self-determination skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Independent living skills
  • Career/vocational skills
  • Motor skills
  • Mobility skills
  • Social skills
  • Behavioral skills
  • Communication skills
  • Technology skills

The information can come from a variety of sources such as: the parent(s), general and special education teachers, the student, various assessments (standardized, informal), etc.

Functional Vocational Evaluation.  The assessment process that provides information about job or career interests, aptitudes, and skills.  Information is gathered through situational assessments in the setting where the job is performed.  This can include observations, formal and informal measures, and should be practical.  Information is gathered through a functional vocational assessment can be used to refine educational experiences, course of study, and employment activities/strategies in the statement of transition services.

Instruction.  Activities/strategies listed in this area have to do with instruction, whether that is formal or informal imparting of knowledge or skills.  The activities can include, but are not limited to such things as broad curricular areas of needed coursework, educational experiences, skill training, etc. or activities/strategies that are necessary to prepare for and take part in college, continuing education, further skill training, adult living, etc.

Related Services.  Activities/strategies in this area should consider the current and projected related service needs of the student.  This area is not for specifying the needed related services for the next school year.  Related services for the school year should be addressed in another appropriate section of the IEP.  The context of related services here has to do with determining if the related services will continue beyond school, helping to identify who or what agency might provide these services, helping to identify how the student and parent can access these services and then connecting the student and parent to whomever will provide those services before the student leaves the school system.  This type of planning and discussion and identifying of activities /strategies should make the move from the school being one related service provider to another adult agency or service provider as seamless as possible for the student and parent.

Transition assessment. A planned on-going process of obtaining information to address the comprehensive transition needs of students in areas such as:  employment, further education and training, daily living, leisure, community participation, health, self determination, communication, and interpersonal relationships.  The assessments can be formal and/or informal.

The following links provide additional resources regarding Transition Services:
External LinkDownriver Community Transition Council (DCTC)

External Link