Guest Author - Celestine A. Jones
Students should begin to plan for transitions in life as early as possible. The Individual Education Plan (IEP) should address steps to follow to successfully transition from high school to adulthood. The transition plan should cover future postsecondary education, training, employment, and independent living goals.
Special education covers a wide variety of disabilities. It is important to understand the qualifying disability, as well accommodations and modifications needed to learn and succeed in the least restrictive environment. Transitioning beyond high school requires the student to understand the ways that learning can be achieved. Assessments can be used to explore transitional, vocational, and academic goals.
Mastery of time management and organizational skills is the first step to succeeding in postsecondary education or training. Planning should begin from the beginning of high school. Simple tasks, such as time management and organizational skills, will increase the chances of achieving goals for college or career. The habits that are developed during the years of school will continue after high school.
The course of study is a four year plan that identifies courses needed to complete the high school curriculum, as well as prepare for the day after graduation. The courses selected should be scheduled according to postsecondary goals. The courses selected should meet graduation requirements, as well as prepare for college or career goals.
Career exploration in high school will prevent career changes in the future. Employability skills are necessary to gain employment in the career identified. A career portfolio should be developed to record to-do tasks that build employability skills, as well documentation of tasks completed. Work samples, assessments, resumes, and prospective employers should be collected. Volunteer work can be used to build experience in the area chosen to pursue as a career.
Living skills are needed to survive with limited or no assistance from family and friends. Money management is needed to budget money. Transportation is also necessary to travel. Health and medical needs should also be understood for a healthy lifestyle. Community involvement is an excellent way to build relationships while learning healthy independent living requirements.
Students should be actively involved in developing the IEP. The transition plan is used to develop the IEP. Each area of the IEP, including the goals and objectives, should lead back to the transition plans including the areas of postsecondary education, training, employment, and independent living. Planning for transition from high school at an early stage will set the stage for accomplishments in the future.