Sometimes finding the resources and help that you need can be challenging. There are websites out there that can help, but with the overwhelming amount of information available, it can be hard to sort through all the information to find what is really relevant and pertinent to your situation. Here’s a handy table with links to the Ed.Gov’s webpage for each state that lists the departments of education, departments of higher education, departments of special education, etc. (Thank you Michael Marcinek for compiling this information! :-))
In a state that transfers rights at the age of majority, beginning at least one year prior to the student reaching the age of majority under state law, the student’s IEP must include a statement that the student has been informed that his or her rights under Part B, if any, will transfer. The school must comply with IDEA notification requirements to both the student and the parents. National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
It’s important for families to understand the legal implications of a student reaching the age of majority and to talk about decision-making before that point. If your student feels that they are not ready to make decisions about their education on their own, an Educational Power of Attorney can be instated, which allows parents to actively participate in the decision-making as related to education and transition services for their student. A sample of an Educational Power of Attorney can be found by clicking here.
This is something that often takes families by surprise. Transition Planning must begin early in the high school years. This excerpt from the IDEA website from Section 300.320:
(b) Transition services. Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually, thereafter, the IEP must include–
(1) Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills; and
(2) The transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals.
(bold emphasis is mine)
It’s important for families to know the laws that govern the part of the process that they are facing. When you are preparing for (or are in) the Transition Years, you need to know how Congress and the IDEA define “Transition Services”
Congress also made significant changes in the legal definition of “transition services” in IDEA 2004.
– The term `transition services’ means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that-
(34) Transition Services – The term `transition services’ means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that-
(A) is designed to be 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 post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;
(B) is based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences, and interests;
(C) includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. (See “Definitions” in Section 1401, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, page 56)
Families of Students who are about to transition from the Special Education System must understand that their student is moving from a system of Entitlement into a a system of Eligibility. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has published a concise guide to the differences in the laws, definitions and rights.
Here’s the snippet from the US Department of Education about the availability of a Free and Appropriate Public Education:
(1) Free appropriate public education.–
(A) In general.–A free appropriate public education is available to all children with disabilities residing in the State between the ages of 3 and 21, inclusive, including children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school.
(B) Limitation.–The obligation to make a free appropriate public education available to all children with disabilities does not apply with respect to children–
(i) aged 3 through 5 and 18 through 21 in a State to the extent that its application to those children would be inconsistent with State law or practice, or the order of any court, respecting the provision of public education to children in those age ranges; and
(ii) aged 18 through 21 to the extent that State law does not require that special education and related services under this part be provided to children with disabilities who, in the educational placement prior to their incarceration in an adult correctional facility–
(I) were not actually identified as being a child with a disability under section 602; or
(II) did not have an individualized education program under this part.
(C) State flexibility.–A State that provides early intervention services in accordance with part C to a child who is eligible for services under section 619, is not required to provide such child with a free appropriate public education.
I’m never quite sure I’m reading these right, but I think this means that unless the State Law prevents it, students are entitled to an appropriate education through the age of 21. Here’s a link to a listing of Special Education Ages by State, which may limit the “thru age 21” statement in the Federal Statute: http://askjo.co/EDAgesbyState
What a great resource I stumbled upon today when looking for a source of Advocates and Attorney’s who specialize in Special Education! Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities.
The local Vocational Rehabilitation Office can help you get all kinds of information about employment options for your student.
This website has a list of all of the state agencies: Job Accomodation Network – SOAR
Visit: http://www2.ed.gov/about/contacts/state/index.html for an interactive map and lists of links by State to the State Departments of Education Addresses and Websites.