How to Write an IEP from a Parent’s Perspective – Part 4

|March 1, 2024 | IEP

In the previous blogs, we talked about present levels with a parent’s vision statement, SMARTER goals, and specially designed instruction. This blog will discuss the formal transition plan for high school students.

Strategic planning for your child’s future involves the crucial process of reverse engineering. Revisit our initial blog, where we delved into the concept of vision statements within the present levels section of the IEP. The vision statement can be utilized to give guidance to the transition planning section.

Any time a child transitions from one school to another (elementary to middle or middle to high school), the team should work on an informal transition plan, so the child feels supported. The transition plan that is formally inserted into the individual education program (IEP) is for high school students ages 14 and above. This plan helps them to learn the skills they will need after graduation whether to attend college, obtain employment, or live independently.

For this part to be as successful as possible, the team needs to discuss with the child what their thoughts are about the future. What interests does the child have? What abilities does the child have and what are they capable of learning? We do not want to overwhelm them, but we also do not want to limit them.

If your child is a hands-on learner, perhaps something vocational would be an excellent fit. Take your child to your local vocational school for an open house and allow the child to wonder. If there is a trade that they would like to learn (construction, small engines, computers, culinary, horticulture, etc.), discuss with the teachers of that course about the skills and knowledge that your child would need to be successful. Set up field trips into the community at restaurants, retail, small businesses, etc. and allow your child to shadow businesses to understand expectations. Then bring all that data back to the team to develop your child’s transition plan.

One other thing to keep in mind for this section is what your child will need to know to live independently. Can your child handle money and/or a debit card? Can they make a grocery list and shop for themselves? Can they use public transportation if they are unable to drive? Can they get their driver’s license? Are they able to fill out a job application?

These skills need to be learned through the transition plan of the IEP. Here’s an example:

Our education advocate’s stepson wanted to go to a vocational school for masonry. His diagnoses were attention deficient/hyperactivity disorder and a learning disability. They toured the school and talked with the teacher about the skills he would need to be successful. Those skills included reading a masonry ruler (which is different than a regular ruler…who knew?). He needed to know fractions to 1/32 of an inch. He needed to be able to read mixing instructions, which were written like a recipe for cooking. To live independently, he also needed to understand managing money, budgeting, bill paying, grocery shopping, and cooking.

The team wrote these into his IEP as part of his classes. Fractions, reading a ruler, and money became his math program. Mixing instructions, cooking, grocery lists, and shopping became his reading program. At graduation, he graduated with TWO diplomas—high school and masonry. He now works in a quarry driving large equipment.

Take your time with this section and get creative. The sky is the limit!

We will finish this series in the next blog discussing related services, evaluations, and extended school year. Find more answers to your questions on our website:

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