Transition from School to Post-School Activities for Students & Youth with Disabilities

US Dept of Ed

Transition Guide

  • This transition guide addresses the following topics to facilitate a seamless transition from school to post-school activities:

    • Transition planning: opportunities and programs
    • Transition services and requirements, as authorized by IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act
    • Education and employment options for students and youth with disabilities after leaving secondary school
    • Supporting decisions made by students and youth with disabilities. This guide also includes “real life” examples, a sample flow chart of the transition process, and a glossary of key terms used in the transition process 


Transition Timeline (for New York)

  • By the age of 14:

    • Transition planning should begin.
    • The IEP should include post-school outcomes, including information about the student’s future education goals, vocational goals, and also their plans for independent living

    At the age of 15:

    • The transition IEP goes into effect when the student turns 15

    By the age of 17:

    • The guardianship/conservatorship process should begin (the age of majority in New York is 18)
      • A petition should be filed with the court and either two licensed physicians or one licensed physician and one licensed psychologist certify that the student has a developmental disability that makes them incapable of taking care of themselves.
    • The vocational rehabilitation process should begin at least 2 years prior to HS graduation.
      • You should meet with a counselor and discuss the best employment and living options for the student. They also will help lead to an IPE, or an Individualized Plan for Employment. They provide training and instruction, and also help with job placement, and job maintenance.

    By the age of 18:

    • Apply for Social Security benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicaid.
      • If ineligible for Medicaid, look into other health insurance options, as it is likely the individual will no longer be covered by the parents plan after age 19 if not enrolled in college or covered by Medicaid.
    • Add your name to the waiting list for residential placements in the state. Regardless of future residential plans, it is good to be on the waitlist, as these lists can be extremely long, and it is easy to remove your name than it is to add it.

    At age 18:

    • Register to vote.
    • Male students should register for the draft, no matter the level of functioning.
    • If applicable, individuals should apply to adult agencies for vocational and day programs, as well as for supported living.