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Best Practices Introduction


Although transition services have been addressed in the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) since 1990, studies indicate that many school districts have yet to meet all of the IDEA requirements for transition services. In addition, many professionals are still confused about the transition planning process and the IDEA transition requirements.

There is a growing need for current information about developing and conducting successful transition planning that is based upon a student’s strengths, preferences, interests, and needs. This information must include strategies for assisting students and their families to connect with transition services providers within and outside of the school system.

The purpose of this module is to provide you with a general working knowledge of the transition requirements of IDEA. In addition, you will obtain information that will help you understand the spirit and intent of IDEA. This goes beyond what is required by law and includes effective practices for transition planning and services for students with disabilities.


Reference this module as:

  • Morningstar, M.E., Gaumer Erickson, A., Lattin, D.L., Wade, D.K. & Ray-Oyler, S. (2012). Best practices in planning for transition for Kansas. [Online Training Module].  Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Department of Special Education. Retrieved from: www.transitioncoalition.org


  • Cronin, M. E. (1996). Life skill curricular for students with learning disabilities: A review of the literature.Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(1).

  • Halverson, D., Kirschman, C., Petersen, B., Rounds, D. ( 2006 ) Technical Assistance Guide for Transition in the IEP. Retrieved April 22, 2008 from the South Dakota Transition Services Liaison Project website:www.tslp.org

  • Johnson, D.R., Stodden, R.A., Emanuel, E.J., Lueking, R., & Mack, M. (2002). Current challenges facing secondary education and transition services:What research tells us. Exceptional Children, 68(4). 591-531.

  • Morningstar, M.E., Lattin, D.L., & Sarkesian, S. (2004). People Make It Happen. Lawrence, KS: The University of Kansas, Department of Special Education. http://transitioncoalition.org/transition/file.php?path=files/docs/peoplemakeithappen1212008934.pdf

  • National Council on Disability. (1989). The education of students with disabilities: Where do we stand?Washington, DC: Author. http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/1989/stand.htm

  • National Council on Disability. (1996). Achieving independence: The challenge for the 21st Century-A decade of progress in disability policy-Setting an agenda for the future. Washington, DC: Author.http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/1996/achieving.htm

  • National Council on Disability. (2000). Transition and post-school outcomes for youth with disabilities: Closing the gaps to postsecondary education and employment. Washington, DC: Author.http://www.ncd.gov/newsroom/publications/2000/transition_11-01-00.htm

  • National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (2008) What is Indicator 13? Retrieved November 1, 2007 from the NSTTAC website: www.nsttac.org

  • O'Leary, E. (2005, January).Overview, comments and recommended action for transition services: Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. Unpublished white paper. (Available from Ed O'Leary,eoleary@rap.midco.net)

  • O'Leary, E. & Collison, W. (2002, February). Transition services: Helping educators, parents and other stakeholders understand: Postschool outcomes, course of study, coordinated set of activities.

  • Sax, C. & Thoma, C. (2002). Transition assessment: Wise practice for quality lives. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.
  • Sitlington, P. (1996). Transition to living: The neglected components of transition programming for individuals with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(1), 31-39, 52
  • Storms, J., O'Leary, E., & Wiliams, J. (2000, May). Transition requirements: A guide for states, districts, schools, universities, and families. Eugene, OR: Western Regional Resource Center.http://interact.uoregon.edu/wrrc/wrrc.html

  • Wandry, D., & Repetto, J. (1993). Transition services in the IEP. NICHCY Transition Summary, 3(1).

  • Wright, P. & Wright, P. (2006). Chapter 12 - SMART IEPs. Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy (2nd edition). Downloaded from http://www.wrightslaw.com/bks/feta2/feta2.htm  on May 6, 2008.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this online training, you will be able to:

Session 1: Transition and IDEA

  • Understand the primary reasons transition is included in IDEA
  • Identify the key concepts of transition: results-oriented, student-centered, and coordinated effort
  • Apply the concepts of results-oriented, student-centered, and coordinated effort to a case study

Session 2: Transition Planning and the IEP

  • Identify and understand the major components of the IEP specific to transition
  • Monitor IEP components for Federal and State compliance according to the Indicator 13 checklist
  • Apply concepts to case studies and your students

Session 3: The Planning Process

  • Describe the comprehensive transition planning process
  • Identify and complete the critical components of a comprehensive IEP using a case study.
  • Given the necessary steps that need to be completed before, during, and after the IEP meeting, identify which ones you need to improve