Tips for child’s transition out of high school

Published 5:14 pm Saturday, May 11, 2013

Transition refers to the shift from childhood into adulthood.

This phase usually starts a few years before your child finishes high school. Life is full of transitions, but the transition from childhood into adulthood and independence can be one of the more difficult changes, especially when your child has a disability.

Transition is also a formal legal process that you and your child will go through with your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that, starting at age 16, your child’s IEP team must include transition planning. This means that your child’s IEP team should begin to focus on planning your child’s goals after high school.

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What does transition involve?

A successful transition into adulthood involves a lot of planning.

As a parent or guardian, you already have a lot to think about in your day-to-day life and planning for the future can be overwhelming. However, it is important to spend time thinking about your child’s future and start planning with them.

The good news is that you are on the right track! You are taking the time to learn about transition and how to help your child successfully enter into adulthood.

Transition planning should start early and focus on your child, and your child’s strengths and desires for the future. The most important person in transition planning is your child, but planning should also include the adults that care about your child, for instance, teachers, counselors, coaches, close friends, and relatives. Parents play a very important role in transition, since you know and understand your child best.

What does a successful transition look like?

Each person’s transition into adulthood looks different, but usually a successful transition involves many of the same ideas.

A successful transition means that your child is thriving after high school: they are happy, becoming more independent, and preparing for their future.

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Jamey Helgeson is the Program Director at The Arc Mower County and can be reached at or by calling 507-433-8994, Extension 102. You can also visit our website ( and follow us on Facebook (