Postsecondary Planning for Students with Disabilities

55When a student enters high school, academics will continue to be the main focus, however, it won’t be the only focus. Planning for what will happen after high school will also be important. Whether it is to enter the workforce, enlist in the military, or enroll in college, parents and students will have a lot to think about during the next four years that seem to pass so quickly.

For students with disabilities, this is called Transition Planning. The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) require schools to begin this process at age 16, however, planning can occur earlier if appropriate.

What is the definition of Transition Services? “For a child with a disability, transition services are a coordinated set of activities focused on improved academic and functional achievement that will facilitate their movement from school to post school activities.” (§300.43 IDEA). In other words, it means assisting students and their parents as they navigate through all of the supports and services that are available to them. Many parents are unsure of what to expect or how to ask for help. Auburn Public Schools has on staff a certified Transition Specialist that has in-depth knowledge of all aspects of Transition Planning

Preparation is the key to successful transition planning. Listed below are recommendations that can help facilitate this process:

  • Think about interests and abilities. What do you want to do when you graduate?
  • Register for coursework related to career field of interest.
  • Pass all classes and meet high school graduation requirements.
  • Participate in Vocational Assessments (PLAN, ASVAB, interest inventories etc.).
  • Participate in extra-curricular activities; especially if they are related to career field of interest (ex: Future Business Leaders of America).
  • Complete college entrance requirements, check to see if there are waiting lists for specific programs (apply early).
  • Apply for financial aide (Grants, Scholarships).
  • Meet with a military recruiter (to discuss enlistment options).
  • Research and make contact with agencies that provide free services including: Vocational Rehabilitation, Nebraska Department of Labor, Developmental Disabilities, and Education Quest. (note: students may not be eligible for all agencies listed; eligibility requirements may apply).
  • Learn the differences between instructional accommodations that are available at the high school level versus those that are available at the post-secondary level (college or employment).
  • Learn about the rights and responsibilities of students when they reach the Age of Majority in Nebraska (19).
  • Obtain legal guardianship of your child if they are unable independently care for themselves upon reaching the Age of Majority. (Must be done prior to age 19; with the help of an attorney).

Postsecondary/Transition Planning can be a daunting task for parents and students. Auburn Public Schools is committed to supporting students and their families while they navigate through this process.

Vested in Education

by Amy Kroll