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Transitions: IEP to Work

Updated on July 3, 2015
RM Nash profile image

R.M. Nash MA CMHC, primarily writes articles related to mental health, education and relationships. Founder of Creating New Pathways LLC.

An I.E.P. ( Individual Education Plan) can contain all or part of a transition plan a Tansitoin Plan is seperate document.

Transion Plan includes........

Transitions: IEP and WORK

R.M. Nash MA CMHC ©2015

Transitioning from school to work is a big mile stone for anyone. For those with learning differences there are a few extra steps and things to consider. While considering the best way to present this information, I consulted a high school students with an IEP about what form seemed easier to read; would seem less intimidating to even begin reading. With that in mind I have chosen to put the information in a list form rather than longer text. Additionally for those who have difficulty with too much on a page to distract I am not including many break out comments or photos. With this the reader is invited to read a section at a time. Check off the areas they are currently working on or would like to focus one step at a time.

  • A transition to work program must include clear measurable outcome goals.
  • The partnership with school and a variety of sites in most high school and curriculum to workplace.
  • Mentor and student must have meaningful input into where and what is agreed upon in contract.
  • The work base program takes place outside of school and may include internships job training in paid work. Responsibility and liability of learner is the schools during the internship.
  • Fair Labor Standards Act training agreement states that a student 14 years old and over must have a career exploration, career assessment, work-related training or cooperative voc-tech experience.


  • For career exploration student are not to work no more than five hours per week, career assessment is no more than 90 hours and work-related training is a max of the hundred and 20 hours per job experience.
  • Transition program is not part of the IEP. Although included in the IEP, the IEP pertains to in school. While transition to work continues post high school educational readiness and is experience covered under IDEA 2004. Transition plan in IEP is considered the plan for change in placement as the student will no longer be in prek-12 schooling.
  • Work experience, particularly once student graduates or leaves school, is under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
  • Part of the reasoning for this is that the transition program at the end of the school year states the students change in placement. The transition program work experience must include a log of the experiences of what the student learned and did in each position as well as academic summary. Any job or career experiences student has cannot happen before 7 AM or after 7 PM. The Department of Education while a student is in school is the primary holder of liability.
  • The transition program that is included in the IEP should include any and all experiences or needs of the student including life skills, education skills and career skills. Transition plans must be updated annually.
  • Transition programs must include any evaluations or assessments, must include the student and their interest, unique needs and abilities.



  • However for some students with special education, especially those with emotional disabilities (ED) or behavioral disabilities (BD) previous work experience and various traditional use assessments are inappropriate.
  • A transition program must include age-appropriate transition and assessments education and training employment in readiness for independent living, must present a level of academic performance and the various need to transition of services, must have a detailed course of study.
  • The need for services can include instruction related services, community experiences, employment and other post-secondary adult living.
  • Additionally, daily living skills and functional of vocational assessments when appropriate.



  • Functional assessments for those with emotional disability or behavioral disability are likely not to be appropriate students with these particular disabilities; they are:
  • 1. at the highest risk of not having completed school,
  • 2. Having not having the right life skills.
  • 3. These individuals are often highest challenges with accessing supports in school and in the community.
  • 4. These are the students with the highest risk of low self-esteem, suicide ideation, drug use, homelessness and imprisonment. For these reasons students with ED and BD are in higher need of more intense and individualized wraparound services.


  • Transitional programs like an IEP’s must have measurable, achievable goals. The transition programs must be developed for all students of all levels regardless of physical, emotional or educational ability.
  • The courses study area must be a multiyear description and will need to change frequently, thus the every year review.



  • Must be meaningful to the student’s future and motive and must motivate the student to complete his or her education. Some thing that interest the learner.


  • The transition program must be in place before the child’s 16th birthday as part of the IEP that’s in place at time of 16th birthday; As per federal law IDEA 2004 section 614 C part five. For both IEP and transition planning the student is required to be invited consulted and have as much input as possible. While IEP and transitional programs each have listed goals and objectives they are not the same; they are separate documents. The goals may overlap.


  • If the student requests different job or career placement is not to be seen as failure, especially if the student gain social or other skills. It is required to give appropriate notice of change (s) just as would do in real world work experience (etc.).


  • Adolescence is a time when student should be afforded multiple different job experiences in order to a mass experience and consider the career direction they will take as they enter adult world. (Bullis)


  • Many districts do not follow the transition program guidelines fully. In part not knowing the full set of guides and financial considerations.


Resources

Transition Coalition: Transition ED/BD Transitioncoalition.org

Americans with Disabilities Act New England ADA Center

humancentereddesign.org/neada/disabiliyrights

Help for College Students with Disabilities http://www.wrightslaw.com/flyers/college.504.pdf

Developing Transition Component of IEP http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/trans.legal.bateman.htm

Writing Measurable Goals and Objectives http://www.wrightslaw.com/store/bb.iep.html

Disability Rights Manchester New Hampshire

All About Test and Assessments: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions: Wrights Law

All About IEP’s: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About IEP Wrights Law

Special Education Law second edtion Wrights Law

From Emotions to Advocacy second edition Wrights Law

Dual Disorders Daley and Moss

Assessments and interventions with Children and Adolescents Vernon and Clemente

NLV: Non-verbal learning or Asperger’s

At Risk Youth

Parent Information Center Concord New Hampshire

Integrating Therapy into the Classroom McWilliams, Scotts 2001

National Center on Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice 2009

Recognizing and Treating Depression in Children and Adolescents American Journal Health Systems

Keys to Your Future!
Keys to Your Future! | Source

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