Special Needs Education: Making It Work for Your Child (page 2)

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Updated on Aug 19, 2010

High School to Independent Living or College

During high school, a child’s IEP should include a plan to move her into college or work. Transition planning, according to Giuliani and Pierangelo, is based on your child’s interests and preferences and includes education, services, community experiences, skills she’ll need for adult living or work. Here are some things to consider in creating the transition plan:

  • A Functional Vocational Evaluation can provide information about your child’s interests, skills, and abilities that will help shape the IEP.
  • Include related services (driver’s education, public transportation, etc).
  • Services can come from the community as well as the school. For example, a student may take vocational education courses through a local community agency, or learn how to manage her finances through a non-profit.
  • Ask the school guidance counselor about college options, says McGrath, as there are colleges and universities that help kids with learning disabilities.

In College

Your child’s IEP won’t follow her to college. “It is important to realize that after a student graduates from high school, a school district is no longer obligated to provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities,” says Giuliani and Pierangelo. Before your child graduates, have her evaluated by an independent professional so she has documentation of her disability. Once on campus, she can go to the Office for Students with Disabilities and advocate for what she needs, as she's still covered under federal law.

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