Transition to Post Secondary

One of the primary purposes of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is to ensure that children with exceptionalities are prepared for employment and independent living. At age 14, or sooner if appropriate, IEPs become future directed. Part of the IEP team discussion and decision making must focus on designing and implementing an educational program and experiences that prepare students for transition to adult life. These transition-planning activities are a required component of an IEP for students 14 and up. If a student will reach the age of 14 during the IEP year, transition planning for secondary coursework must be included in the IEP for that year.

Incorporating transition into the IEP includes early identification of and planning for the student’s post-school goals by defining a course of study. The course of study reflects the student’s long-range goals, preferences, interests, and needs. Development of self-determination and self-advocacy skills enhances the student’s abilities to confidently transition into the post-secondary setting.

The IEP committee considers the following in development of a future-directed plan:

  • The IEP represents and supports the vision of the student and the student's family.
  • Transition includes linkages with adult services agencies and shares responsibility for transition between family, school, and the adult agencies.
  • Transition planning promotes the development of self-determined young adults who are prepared to advocate for their needs.
  • Transition planning considers academic, related services, recreation/leisure, adult/daily living, community, and post-secondary setting needs.
  • Transition services represent a coordinated set of activities.
  • Beginning by age 14, the student’s IEP must include a planned course of study designed to select high school courses based on the student’s post-school goals and graduation requirements. Students in New Mexico may graduate using one of three pathways to a diploma.
  • The IEP team determines the most appropriate pathway based on the student’s needs and impact of the exceptionality.