Role of Parents, Students, and School Personnel in Transition Planning (page 2)

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Age of Majority

Parent participation in the educational planning for their child changes when the child reaches the age of majority (age 18 in most states). At that time the responsibility and rights the parent has assumed for the development and monitoring of their child’s educational program diminishes as those rights transfer to the child. According to IDEA 2004:

Beginning not less than one year before the student reaches the age of majority, a statement must be included in the student’s IEP that he has been informed of his rights and that these rights will be transferred to him upon his reaching the age of majority.

During the year prior to the student’s reaching the age of majority, teachers, parents, and the student should work together to understand the ramifications of this change, and to provide self-advocacy training for the student. 

In some instances, it may be apparent that the student does not have the ability to assume the responsibilities inherent in this change. According to NCSET (2002, p. 4), “for these students, guardianship, conservatorship, or another form of representation by an advocate may be appropriate.” Guardianship is a legal designation in which the individual is rendered legally incompetent and therefore incapable or unable to assume the responsibilities accruing to him/her at the age of majority. If such a designation is made, a guardian, usually a parent, is appointed by the court to assume those legal responsibilities. In some instances, a form of limited guardianship, known as a conservatorship, may be the more appropriate option. The conservator, again usually the parent, is appointed to assume some, but not all, of the responsibilities resulting from the student reaching the age of majority. In this case, the individual retains those rights and responsibilities for which he or she is considered capable of managing.

Role of School Personnel as a Partner

Educators are responsible for facilitating the transition process by encouraging parent and student participation and facilitating their participation in transition planning. Specific strategies will depend on the age of the student and the type of transition being planned, and should be directed by the unique needs of each student and family.

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