Transition planning for students with autism is a requirement of any Individual Education Program (IEP). A transition plan is typically created in the form of a chart, which outlines annual goals and specific responsibilities of the student.
This article will explain what a transition plan is, and discuss some of the common types of transition plans that are created for autistic students.
What is Transition Planning for Students With Autism?
A transition plan is a list of goals to be completed as a student goes through major changes in their life. Each goal included in a transition plan for autism should have a timeline for when the goal is expected to be achieved. Some goals may take one month, 6 months, or even the entire year to complete.
Creating Goals for Success in School and Daily Life
Transition plans are designed to help the student be successful in school, and in everyday life, while living with autism. Developing a transition plan is a team effort, with team members consisting of the student, teachers, special education teachers, educational workers, administrators, and parents/guardians.
Creation of a transition plan for autism can begin at any point in the student’s life, but it isn’t implemented until the student turns 14. That’s around the age when a student transitions from elementary school to secondary school – one of the greatest challenges an autistic individual may face up to that point in their lives.
Transition Planning for Students With Autism: Success in School
School-related transitions addressed in a transition plan for autism will vary depending on the student’s age. The first major transition is commonly transitioning from grade 8 to grade 9, which usually involves transitioning to a new school as well.
As the student grows older, common transitions will include graduating from high school and moving on to college or university. From there, one of the final transitions in a student’s individual education program would be graduating college or university and entering the workforce.
Transition planning for students with autism can include social goals as well. Getting comfortable with asking teachers for help, learning how to socialize and make friends with classmates, and taking part in team sports are examples of common social goals.
Transition plans are created for a full calendar year. Since an academic year does not span a full calendar year, a transition plan should also include goals for the student to achieve during summer break. These could include anything from learning how to play an instrument, to reading books that will prepare them for the next year, or vacationing to a place they’ve never been before.
A transition plan can be revised at any point in the student’s life if their needs change. For example, career goals and interests may change, which would require transitioning to a new education plan. If a student decides to drop a class, that would require an adjustment to their transition plan as well.
Transition planning for students with autism is designed to help students cope with major changes in their life. A transition plan needs to include specific goals to achieve throughout the year, along with steps, deadlines, and strategies for achieving each goal. It may sound like a lot of work, but don’t worry – transition plans are created with the help of a team.
As the starting point of a transition plan, it’s recommended that you identify a student’s talents and strengths, which will help with selecting ideal classes for high school.
Identifying strengths and weaknesses in a student’s multiple intelligences can help guide you toward the areas that need the most attention when developing a transition plan. The same can be said for students that exhibit issues with executive functioning.
The most fun and engaging way to identify talents and strengths is to have them try some of our free games, which explore the full range of a child’s multiple intelligences and executive functioning skills.