Transition Assessments: Planning for Life after High School

Transition Assessments: Planning for Life after High School


Transitioning from school to adulthood can be an exciting and challenging time for students with special needs and their families. Questions like “what’s next?”, “is college right for my child?”, “what supports does my child need to live independently?” are all common for parents of children with special needs.

A transition assessment can help you, your child, and your team navigate this journey, by exploring and planning for adulthood. Transition assessment components may include:

  • Postsecondary Education and/or Employment: How will your student spend his or her time after school ends? Consider the need for additional training or education and connecting to agencies that will allow him/her to find a job and receive the training needed to maintain employment. Consultation may be useful to determine supports that may be needed for college-bound students and how to advocate for these services.
  • Independent Living: What is your student’s short- and long-term plan for living? Assessments can help you and your child identify the skills he/she will need to live safely and independently to his/her potential. Providers can help with this process and provide the necessary instruction for independent skill acquisition.
  • Community Access: Once school is complete, how will your child connect with other young adults and participate in their local community?

An assessment can help you and your student:

  • Identify barriers such as transportation and how to overcome these barriers,
  • Access the community for needs such as grocery shopping or laundromat,
  • Access the community for interests such as joining local clubs, going to the movies or restaurants, and shopping

According to state law, your child may be eligible for services for ages 18-21 to build on skills in these areas necessary for adult living. Transition assessment can help you and your team craft a plan and program which optimizes this critical time period, and help you, your student, and your team identify what services and resources are available after school, including connecting and partnering with adult agencies.

Launching your young adult and helping him/her achieve a more independent life is possible with a carefully crafted plan and supports. Transition assessment can be a useful tool to help accomplish this life milestone and give you and your child the confidence to tackle this next exciting stage of life!