What You Should Know About Transition Services for High School Children With Disabilities (FAQs)
Authored By: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (Hammond Office)
FAQs About Transition Services for High School Children With Disabilities
What are transition services? +
These are services for helping a child with a disability get the skills to move from high school to a post-secondary education (such as a community college), vocational education, sheltered employment, continued and adult education, adult services, or independent living. The child’s needs, strengths, and interests should be considered when a school and a child, or the child’s parent, are trying to determine the best transition services.
When should these services start? +
Transition services can start as early as age 16. Under Federal law, an IEP in effect when a child is 16 should state transition services, including courses of study, that are needed to help the child reach his or her post-high school goals. The IEP should include appropriate measurable goals to make sure that transition goals are met.
How can I make sure my child gets good transition services? +
Stay involved with your child’s education. When your child gets close to age 16, ask in writing for a reevaluation of your child’s IEP. After you have requested the reevaluation, follow up with the school. If the school refuses to reevaluate your child, you have the right to ask for a fair hearing with the school board. Get help from Family Helping Families or a lawyer if needed. At the IEP meeting, talk to the school staff about what vocational or other agencies will be involved to help your child make a good transition.
What if I recently had an IEP meeting? +
IEP reevaluation should happen at least every three years. They can happen more often. If your child is 16 or over but the IEP doesn’t have good
transition services, ask for reevaluation in writing. If the school failed to give transition services and refuses to meet with you to reevaluate the IEP,
you may have a right to a fair hearing or other legal action.
Where Can I Get Help? +
Families Helping Families
Networks. Find your local group at
Disabilities Council website at:
Advocacy Center for the Elderly
and Disabled, a statewide free legal
services program. Call 1-800-960-7705
or 1-855-861-3577 (TTY) or visit their
Legal Information available on
Is there anything else I need to know? +
Being enrolled in transition services may help keep your child’s Social Security disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration reviews the disability cases of children when they turn 18. If your child is getting vocational rehabilitation or other employment services, and the program will help your child find work, Social Security is not supposed to stop benefits until the program is completed or your child stops participating in the program.
The reason Social Security reviews children’s cases at age 18 is because the rules for deciding disability are different for adults and children. For adults, Social Security looks at age, education, and how mental and physical limitations affect a person’s ability to do full-time work day in and day out. In an age 18 review case, Social Security will look at medical and school records and decide if there are any jobs your child can do as an adult.
It does not matter if there is a bad job market. They look at whether the person can do it if the job were available. Transition services records
can be important to Social Security’s review.