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Section II

Transition Planning -- The Process

Effective transition planning should be directed by the student and should describe outcomes that reflect the student's post-school vision of life. The process should be a collaborative effort of the student, his/her family, school personnel, human service agencies, and community representatives. The transition process is dynamic and will most likely change over time. It may begin as early as elementary school and no later than age 16, continue through high school, and carry through the different phases of adult life. This section of the guide will focus on the phases of consumer-led transition for students during their junior and high school years as they relate both to current "best practice" and to requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Specifically this section will discuss:
The following are two synopses of students who are transitioning from high school to adult life. These examples illustrate only two different students in two different situations and by no means represent the magnitude of possibilities for all students.

John has just turned sixteen, is at the beginning of his sophomore year of high school, and receives special education services because of his learning disabilities and mild cerebral palsy which cause an inability to make effective progress in regular education. He hopes to graduate shortly before his 18th birthday, move into an apartment, eventually become an artist (sketching and sculpting), keep up with his basketball, and have a small group of good friends who enjoy eating out and fun times.

Age 15

Age 16 Age 17 Age 18  

Fran is 14 and has spent most of her school years in separate special education classrooms in her community school. She has the ability to operate her electric wheelchair and her Minspeak (an electronic communication device). When she fails to communicate, no one is certain if it is because she does not understand, does not have the response she wants available, or just does not feel like talking.

Fran gets along best with her older brother's friends and seems to have a strong desire to do the same things as her brother. Her parents, therefore, decide the best program for her is the local high school, which has a strong vocational/technical program and where Fran can be included in both high school and community activities. They hope that she will someday have a job, live in an apartment with the necessary supports, and be able to enjoy her life. Fran loves clothes, cooking, hanging out with her friends, going to the movies, swimming, and WWF (wrestlingher favorite is Hulk Hogan).

Age 15

Age 16 Age 17 Age 18 Age 19 Age 20 Age 21  

 Transition Services and the Law

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) & Chapter 766 (Ch766)

Transition services are defined under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (34 CFR 300.18) as a coordinated set of activities for a student, designed within an outcome oriented process, that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. The coordinated set of activities must:

  1. Be based on the individual student's needs taking into account student's preferences and interests; and
  2. Include (i) instruction; (ii) community experiences, (iii) the development of employment and other post school adult living objectives, and, (iv) if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
Transitional services described in both federal law (IDEA, see quote above) and state law (Ch766) include post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, and community participation. At age 16 (and annually until graduation), any student with an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is entitled to receive a set of coordinated services, based on individual needs, preferences, and interests, which will assist to prepare for adult life. These services may "include instruction, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, when appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation" (Ch766, ¶132.0). By coordinating efforts through the education TEAM, an appropriate support schedule can be facilitated. The student's transition needs should be discussed specifically at the TEAM meeting on an annual basis, for example, at the time of review or reevaluation).

It is essential for parents and school professionals to ensure that transitional services are discussed at the TEAM meeting and incorporated into the IEP by the time the student turns 16, although in some cases, this may be done as early as age 14. If the TEAM determines it is appropriate to plan for transition for a student younger than 16, it should still use the Statement of Needed Transition Services. Goals and objectives relating to, for example, vocational education, and requiring specially designed instruction can be addressed in the middle school years in the Annual Needed Services Statement for Instruction. The TEAM also might discuss other areas, but decide that some Annual Needed Services Statements, such as those in post-secondary education, living arrangements, and employment opportunities, should be addressed when the student reaches high school.

Although the adult service system has the major responsibility for transition planning for post-school special services, it is important to remember that schools are responsible for the transitional process up to graduation or until the student leaves school at age 22.

State law requires the IEP TEAM to include information about graduation in the IEP if a student is 14 years or older. Students with special needs do not have to graduate until they have met all the graduation requirements applicable to all students. When the student is 14 years of age, the IEP must include a statement indicating whether the student is expected to graduate; if so, the IEP must indicate what criteria must be met and must include a plan to complete the criteria. Each succeeding year prior to graduation, these criteria and the plan should be reviewed. As the student approaches graduation, the parent/guardian must receive full notice that graduation is intended and will result in a termination of the special education services. If the parent/guardian believes that the graduation criteria have not been met, then the parent/guardian may elect to refuse graduation and continue services up to age 22. The student, upon reaching age 18, assumes full authority over his/her own educational program (unless guardianship proceedings have been completed) and may independently choose (if available) or refuse graduation.

Note: The Education Reform Law may require a change in the graduation section of the IEP. Beginning with the graduating class of 1999, all students will have to demonstrate competency in the areas of mathematics, science and technology, history and social studies, English/language arts, and foreign language in order to receive a high school diploma. The Department of Education is in the process of designing and developing an assessment system that will address the impact of the competency determination graduation requirement for students with disabilities.

IDEA Transition Service Self-Survey

The following questions will help you measure your program's compliance with IDEA in regard to transition. These questions are designed around the four components of transition as defined in section 300.18 of the final regulations of IDEA.

 Chapter 688 (Ch688)

Transitional services described in Ch688, also known as the "Turning 22 Law," include participation in a formal interagency planning process and an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) for students projected to require continuing/ongoing support in adult life.

This planning process starts at least two years before the end of special education services with a referral from the Local Education Agency (LEAthe school system) to one of seven human services agencies in the state (see Primary Transition Agencies in Appendix I: Resource Guide for information regarding these agencies). Only students with severe disabilities (typically defined as persons who will need continuing adult services from one or more adult agency) are eligible for Ch688 planning. (These students, as all students with disabilities, must also receive Ch766 transition services starting at age 16). Once eligibility is determined, a Ch688 liaison (from a human services agency) convenes an interagency ITP meeting, which should include the student, family members, school staff, other human services agencies, and, possibly, private service providers, to develop the ITP. The ITP describes residential, day/vocational, and/or support services that the person will need after leaving school. It is recommended that the 688 transition planning meeting be coordinated with students' TEAM meeting.

It is essential that services listed on the ITP are not limited to what is currently available. Rather, ITP services should reflect what the individual really wants and how best to support the person to become as independent as possible in adult life. It is also important to understand that Ch688 is not a continuation of Ch766 and that the provision of adult services is subject to annual funding from the state budget by the Massachusetts legislature. When a student turns 22, entitlement to services ends. Nothing automatically guarantees that the services will be available to the student after turning 22. Chapter 688 is not an entitlement program. On the other hand, the ITP functions as documentation of service needs and can be useful in assisting to plan, advocate for, and procure additional funding for adult services.

The Bureau of Transitional Planning (BTP), part of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), monitors the Ch688 transitional planning process. The Transitional Advisory Committee (TAC), comprised of representatives of each human services agency and the Department of Education, assists the BTP. The TAC reviews each ITP, makes recommendations, and approves the plan. It is then sent to the student and family for acceptance or appeal.

Chapter 688 is intended to provide a coordinated planning process for students with severe disabilities in need of adult services from one or more human services agencies. If a student is ineligible for Ch688 services, he/she is not necessarily ineligible for services from an adult human service agency. A request for services can be made directly to any human services agency, separate from the Ch688 process, with the proviso that each agency has its own eligibility requirements.

Please Note

Each agency has its own eligibility requirements. Depending on the agency, students may apply for services and be eligible prior to the transition years. Check with the agencies' requirements for more information.

Example: A child with vision difficulties may receive mobility training from MCB prior to her transition years.

Even if a student is not eligible for Ch688 and is not referred through Ch688, he/she may be eligible for services from the agency.

Example: A student with a valid medical disability may be eligible for MRC services but be ineligible for Ch688 because he is not perceived as an individual who will need ongoing, continuing support.

Comparison of IDEA/Chapter 766 and Chapter 688

(as related to students of transition age)
annual process one-time meeting (planning may be ongoing)
for any student with an IEP for eligible students with severe disabilities
services based on current & future needs, preferences and interests planning based on adult service needs; delivery of services based on availability
evaluation team develops IEP interagency group (e.g., school, multiple agencies), coordinated by adult human service agency, develops ITP
IEP incorporates Statement of Needed Transition Services ITP lists services in accordance with individual needs
appropriate services guaranteed services depend on funding and availability
funding is mandated by law funding depends on annual state budget
entitlement -- all necessary services must be provided not an entitlement -- planning only
IEP in effect until the next agreed-upon IEP through graduation or until age 22 (whichever comes first) ITP in effect from end of CH766 until replacement by adult service/work plan

Getting Ready for the Ch688 ITP Meeting:

Remember that regular educators can be a part of transition planning too. They can offer a good deal of insight into regular education classes and activities that are open to all students. They can also be included in the student planning and meet the individuals who will be providing them with assistance and support in including the student in regular classes.

 (How Does Chapter 688 Work? will be placed here)

Steps of the Transition Planning Process and the Completion of the Statement of  Needed Transition Services

The following steps describe the process of transitionFigure 2 represents the process graphically. Although many of these steps are required by law, this section is meant to focus on the process rather than the legal requirements. Included in these steps (Step 5) are details regarding the completion of the Statement of Needed Transition. Each of the following steps will assist the student in achieving his/her desired outcomes and create a smoother process for all involved. The student should be involved throughout the entire process.

Steps of the transition planning process:

Step 1: Determining preferences and interests related to adult life

Step 2: Developing a vision for adult life

Step 3: Providing written notice of IEP/annual review meeting

Step 4: Conducting IEP/annual review meeting

Step 5: Developing the Statement of Needed Transition Services

Step 6: Soliciting necessary approvals on IEP

Step 7: Implementing services/supports and evaluating as scheduled

The Transition Planning Process Flow Chart

(converted to text)
Begin at age 16 or earlier if appropriate
1.  Determining preferences and interestes related to adult life

2.  Developing a vision for adult life

3.  Providing written notice of IEP/annual review meeting 4.  Conducting IEP/annual review meeting 5.  Developing a statement of needed transition services 6. Soliciting necessary approvals (written signatures of the student and parent) & making necessary submission

7. Implementing services/supports & evaluating as scheduled

Step 1: Determining preferences and interests related to adult life

Because transition services "must be based on the individual student's needs, taking into account the student's preferences and interests" [§300.18(b)(1)], determining these preferences and interests becomes a crucial step in the transition process. For some students this will be a simple task. They will be able to articulate choices to pursue in their life after high school (e.g., work, military, college, marriage, condominium ownership) and the services and supports to assist them are already in place. Other students may not have a sense of the world of possibilities open to them and may require varying degrees of assistance and strategies to aid them in learning about the available choices.

It is important to take into account that not every strategy is applicable or necessary for every student, but rather the use of any or all strategies should be based on the individual. It is critical to ensure that opportunities for those students who need to experience a variety of options across different life domains (e.g., work, recreation/leisure, community living, self-care), and in diverse settings, occur with the needed intensity, frequency, and duration. To ensure that the student has ample time to explore the vast array of options available, the transition process may need to begin earlier than the mandated age of 16. An early start often facilitates a student's ability to conceptualize what he/she wants to do in life.

The following ideas may be utilized to assist any student (with or without a disability) to develop directions for their lives after high school. These are only suggestions and are neither required nor represent an exhaustive list. Use the ideas as a starting pointand be creative!

Remember that although each one of these can be used independently, a combination of practices will yield the most reliable results. For students with disabilities, it is especially helpful to incorporate the ideas from these procedures/techniques into the IEP. In this way, the IEP will truly reflect the students' goals.


As one begins gathering information to aid the student in identifying his/her choices, one must get information from all parties involved in the student's life (e.g., family, friends) and, most important, to include the student as a source of information. In addition to identifying the student's choices, one should also gather information regarding what the student has already accomplished in working toward those choices. One may collect data formally, using a standard interview protocol (e.g., developing a parent, student, or teacher questionnaire), or informally, using a general question-and answer-approach.

Standardized Assessment

There is a wide range of standardized tests that include achievement tests, psychometric tests, and those tests that are discipline-specific (e.g., physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy). Determination about which tests are appropriate should be made by considering each student individually.

Functional Vocational Assessment

The functional vocational assessment is the only type of student assessment that is specifically addressed in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act's transition requirements (see functional vocational evaluation - 34CFR 300.18). This type of assessment identifies an individual's vocational potential by measuring his/her performance on actual job tasks in a variety of environments. Although this type of assessment is not necessary for every student, it does offer another measure in addition to/instead of standardized tests. The assessment should yield two outcomes:

1) It should provide students with enough understanding of their strengths, area(s) of need, and the job market to explore sufficiently what work they might or might not enjoy and for what jobs they have particular talents; and

2) It should provide instructors, employers, and community services staff with information about the student's preferences, behavior, approach to learning, initiative, need for assistive technology, communication needs, physical and mental endurance, medical status, transportation needs, specific work skills, and the need for specific instructional approaches.

If you are not familiar with a local resource that can assist you in conducting a functional vocational assessment, consider contacting a community human services provider or a state agency (e.g., MRC, DMR, DOE, DET).

Portfolio Assessment

Another technique to identify and document a student's abilities is with a written, video, and/or pictorial portfolio of demonstrated skills and activities. This compilation of students' work through a portfolio assessment emphasizes "experimentation," "demonstration," "activity," and "project-based learning." There is less emphasis on the traditional "pencil and paper" assessment practices, which only capture a student's performance within the time and according to the structure of that specific "test."

 Students' work may be contained in folders, referred to as portfolios, that represent different stages of their work (beginning, in process, best work). A sample of what the portfolio may include may be a resume, photographs taken while working at a specific job, letters of recommendation, and student-generated products (e.g., artwork, writing samples). Students are required to demonstrate their work through a learning process and share in assessing their work as well. Students are taught to be critical reviewers of their own work. This performance-based assessment process promotes ideals and goals of transition planning: working toward having dreams, aspirations, and goals, where the student is actually in the process and can see through demonstration where he or she is and what needs to be done to achieve it.


Observation of the student across all domains (e.g., at home, at school, in the community, at work) is a very useful strategy and can enhance the anecdotal information gained from interviews and the results obtained from standardized tests. Observation will render information on the student, his/her current skills, and the environment associated with the skill(s). Techniques exist that may be used or modified for this purpose, check with your local school psychologist or special education administrator for guidance.

Person Centered Planning (PCP)

During recent years the terms Personal Futures Planning, MAPS, Life Long Planning, and Whole Life Planning have been used to describe a planning process to assist students in identifying visions of their lives and strategies that will achieve the choices that have been identified. Generically known as Person Centered Planning (PCP), this process is not mandated; however, it can assist in ensuring that the Statement of Needed Transition and the goals on the IEP reflect the student's vision for his/her future, including employment, post-secondary education, community-based living arrangements, and recreation/leisure.

During the PCP the vision of the student's life is developed, typically with the assistance of a support group chosen by the student and a trained facilitator. Working together, the student learns how to make decisions about his/her own life in a positive nonthreatening way, a skill that will be useful in both the immediate future and throughout the student's life. For some students, this may be the first time that they are asked about their own lives. They will need the support of a committed group of family and friends to succeed.

It is important to note the planning process will vary according to the preferences of the student. Times and meeting places are set at the convenience of the student, family, and friends in the support group. This type of process may not be for everyone. It is time-consuming and may be seen as intrusive to some students and families. It requires commitment and positive energy from each team member.

Please note: A Person Centered Planning meeting does not replace an IEP/TEAM meeting but assists the student and family to develop a vision of adult life.

Refer to Appendix I under Person Centered Planning for resources.

Step 2: Developing a vision for adult life

The information gathered in Step 1 will be used with the student to assist him/her in developing a vision for adult life that articulates his/her choices in the major life domains (e.g., employment, recreation and leisure, post-secondary education, housing). Whenever possible, it is best to conduct this activity prior to the student's TEAM meeting. This will enable the student and/or his/her family to be prepared for the meeting, thus streamlining the meeting and providing the opportunity for the student to take the lead in the planning process. This vision for adult life will then be incorporated into the transition statement.

Step 3: Providing written notice of IEP/annual review meeting

Providing written notice to all parties (i.e., student, parent, applicable human service agency representative) is not only mandated but is also quite helpful for maintaining records of the annual review meeting. It is also a good practice to follow up each letter with a phone call, ensuring that each party received and understood the letter. It is surprising how often a phone call/personal contact can make the difference between active participation in the meeting and no participation at all. Correspondence with the family must be sent in their native language (the primary language of the home). Accommodations must be made (e.g., for individuals who are blind or unable to read in any language).

IDEA requires that when a TEAM meeting is being held for a student, if appropriate, the Local Education Authority (LEA) must invite the student and a representative of any other agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services (34 CFR 300.344 (c)). If the purpose of the transition meeting is to discuss transition services, the written notice must indicate this purpose. If an invited agency does not send a representative to a meeting, the school district must take other steps to obtain the participation of that agency or an alternative agency in planning any transition services. Other steps to ensure an agency's participation may include conference calls, correspondence, rescheduling meetings at mutually agreed times and places, and direct contact by the student and/or parent with agency representatives to invite them to the TEAM meeting. Written notice must be provided to all appropriate parties 10 days prior to the IEP/TEAM meeting. For other TEAM meetings, notice for meetings must be provided early enough to ensure that each member will have an opportunity to attend.

Step 4: Conducting IEP/annual review meeting

An IEP/TEAM meeting, for students of transition age, is conducted to discuss the student's strengths and weaknesses as they relate to the student's vision for adult life. The IEP and the Statement of Needed Transition Services should be developed during the meeting. Input should be solicited from all participants, including the student, to ensure that the Statement of Needed Transition Services adequately reflects the desires of the student, and that the goals of the IEP will assist the student in attaining his/her post-school vision. It is helpful to solicit this input before drafting goals and objectives. Evaluation and TEAM chairs should provide support to staff in writing draft goals and objectives for the IEP/TEAM meeting. Each participant at the meeting must understand that the DRAFT goals and objectives are only DRAFTS and they can be changed, added to, or otherwise revised. Additionally, the corresponding areas of need, and services and supports must be reviewed.

One individual should be responsible for moderating the meeting and should encourage all present, including the student, parents, school personnel, and outside agency representatives, to participate actively. If the student or agency representatives are not in attendance, the school district is responsible for documenting how it will identify the student's preferences and interests and how the district will secure the participation of the external agency(ies).

The focus at TEAM meetings should be on transition rather than reading/reciting evaluation reports. Evaluation reports can be sent out to TEAM member prior to the meeting. Evaluations, or parts of evaluations, may need to be discussed prior to the meeting, or they can be brought up at the meeting in the context of transition. For example, if an individual is reading at a certain level, the discussion might focus not on concerns over the level of reading but on what types of functional reading the student might need in order to acheive his/her goals for transition.


Tips for Securing Agency Participation

Step 5: Developing the Statement of Needed Transition Services

The IDEA mandates that each student's IEP/annual review must contain a written statement of the student's vision for adult life and the corresponding areas of need and related services and supports. This must occur for all students receiving special education services, at the latest by age 16 and by age 14 when appropriate. This statement must also include the responsible agency for providing the service(s). This statement should provide direction for writing many of the goals and objectives on the IEP and assist in ensuring that during their latter years in school, students with disabilities will be working toward meeting their own expectations about their future. The Department of Education has developed a form called the Statement of Needed Transition Services, which is now part of the IEP. Instructions for completing this form will be discussed in this step.

As a teacher, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Students, parents, and other TEAM members look to a teacher for information. Sometimes their expectations can lead the teacher to feel like he/she should know everything. Perhaps it might be best to view teachers as "information brokers." An information broker does not have all the answers but rather knows where to go to get the information or answers and shares those resources with the other TEAM members.

Student Name:
Date of Birth:
IEP Period:


Describe student's desired outcomes in adult living, post-secondary, and working environments:


Goals and objectives must be written only if the transition service requires specially designed instruction and/or related services.

Instruction: Yes No
If yes, Annual Needed Service statement and responsible party:

If no, basis for decision:

Community experiences:  Yes No
If yes, Annual Needed Service statement and responsible party:

If no, basis for decision:

Employment and other post-school adult living objectives:  Yes No
If yes, Annual Needed Service statement and responsible party:

If no, basis for decision:

Daily Living Skills (if appropriate): Yes No
If yes, Annual Needed Service statement and responsible party:

Functional Vocational Evaluation (if appropriate): Yes No
If yes, Annual Needed Service statement and responsible party:



Check one of the following: Applicable Not Applicable

If applicable, answer the following:

A Chapter 688 referral should be made for the student two years prior to graduation or age 22:
Yes No

If yes, referral date: 

Following are instructions for completing each section of the preceding form.


Describe student's desired outcomes in adult living, post-secondary, and working environments:

The Post-School Vision Statement (number 1) is an outcome statement that describes the living, post-secondary, and working situations that the student wants to achieve after graduation from high school or turning 22 years of age. The Post-School Vision may include vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, and community participation, as appropriate for the individual needs and desires of each student. This statement is developed after careful consultation and planning with the student (see discussion under Step 1, p. 21) and must reflect only the student's choices and not those of other individuals (e.g., teachers, family, or friends). The Post-School Vision Statement differs from goals typically written on IEPs in that it may include information that extends beyond one year and the context of the school setting. Since the vision statement describes work, educational, and living situations that will be realized after high school completion, it may be necessary to involve individuals and agencies within the community as well.

The Post-School Vision Statement should briefly describe where the student wants to work and live and whether he/she wants to continue training beyond high school. It is the long-term goal statement of the student and must be reviewed at least annually so that as the student matures and his/her desires change, the vision can continue to reflect the student's most current choices. It is individualized and must represent the student's preferences and interests and is geared toward the self-determination of the student. The statement is dynamic, will evolve over time, and will also guide subsequent planning activities.

Guidelines for writing the post-school vision statement (section1)

  1. It is developed as the result of the transition planning process and should reflect the student's preferences and interests.
  2. It specifies the work, educational, and living situation that the student desires after graduation or upon turning 22.
  3. It specifies a "real-life" adult living outcome. (A goal statement that specifies a process or skill-building behavior that leads to but does not result in an adult living outcome is not a valid post-school vision.)
  4. Do not worry if the lines on the form do not provide enough space in which to write; feel free to continue the statement on the back of the form or a separate sheet of paper.
Guidelines for Writing the Needed Transition Services Including Interagency Responsibilities and/or Linkage(s) (Section 2)
  1. For each area (Instruction, Community experience, Employment and other post-school adult living objectives, Daily Living Skills, and Functional Vocational Evaluation), check either yes or no. (A check in the yes box indicates a need in the particular area.)
  2. If you have checked yes, write an Annual Needed Services Statement and record the responsible party (see below for definitions).
  3. If you have checked no, the basis for the decision must be stated in the areas of Instruction, Community experiences, and Employment and other post-school adult living objectives. No reason must be given for a "no" answer in the areas of Daily Living Skills or Functional Vocational Evaluation.
Definition of Section 2 Terms:

An Annual Needed Services Statement describes what the student's needs are in the specific area for the coming year. If specially designed instruction and/or related services are required to meet the stated needs, then goals and objectives must be written into the IEP, based on this statement of need, under Part B, Student Section, Student Performance Profile and Goals and Objectives.

The Responsible Party can be special, regular, or vocational education, an outside agency, parents, the student, or others. However, because this is part of the IEP, the LEA ultimately will be responsible for monitoring the process. If parties do not follow through with their responsibilities, the LEA will be responsible for reconvening the TEAM to identify alternative options and modify the IEP.

Instruction refers to those services that are part of the teaching and learning process and are typically provided by schools (e.g., academic and/or vocational skill training, communication, study skills, problem solving).

Community experiences are those services that are provided outside of the school building, in community settings, by schools and other agencies (e.g., counseling, recreational services, development of self-advocacy skills).

Employment and other post-school living objectives include community-based work and recreation experiences, job site training programs and supported employment that lead toward post-school outcomes.

Please note:

The above three areas may overlap in certain situations. For example, recreation may be found under "Community experiences" and "Employment and other post-school living objectives." In this situation, you would check "yes" in both areas.

Daily Living Skills typically refer to self-care skills and activities of daily life such as personal hygiene, housekeeping, etc.

Functional Vocational Evaluation is an assessment of an individual in an authentic work situation (see p. 24).

Section 3: Chapter 688 Referral

Determine if this section of the transition services form is applicable to the student at the time of the TEAM meeting (i.e., the student is approaching high school graduation or the age of 22 and may require continuing special services).

  1. If a student is going to require continuing special services from one or more state adult human service agencies (e.g., MRC, DMR, MCB, MCDHH), and it is two years prior to graduation or age 22, check "Applicable," if not, check "Not Applicable." The "Applicable" box must be checked with the consent of the student over 18 years old, or the parent or guardian (when appropriate).
  2. If "Applicable" is checked, check "yes," in response to the next part which reads "A Chapter 688 referral should be made for the student two years prior to graduation or age 22." If "Not Applicable" is checked, check "no."
  3. If "yes is checked, a referral must be made to the Bureau of Transitional Planning by completing the Chapter 688 student Referral Form (see Appendix IV) two years prior to the completion of school. The date of this referral is written in the appropriate place. A referral date may need to be documented subsequent to the TEAM meeting. Such referral shall be made at least two years prior to the child's anticipated graduation or twenty-second birthday. The liaison from the human service agency, assigned by the Bureau of Transitional Planning, shall participate in the development of the child's IEP and shall also lead in the development of an Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) which is a separate document from the Statement of Needed Transition Services.

Step 6: Soliciting necessary approvals on IEP

After the parents or student receives the IEP/Statement of Needed Transition Services developed at the TEAM meeting, they have 30 calendar days to review the IEP, choose options, sign it, and return the IEP to the school. The parents and student should use this time to read the IEP very carefully. If they have any questions or comments, they can call the Evaluation TEAM chairperson to arrange a meeting to discuss the plan. If the IEP is rejected in whole or in part, the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) process begins. (For more detailed information on the special education appeals process, please refer to "A Parents Guide to the Special Education Appeals Process," which may be obtained through the Department of Education or the BSEA.)

Step 7: Implementing services/supports and evaluating as scheduled

The IDEA requires that the Statement of Needed Transition Services, as part of the student's IEP, be reviewed annually (at a minimum). Ideally, all the issues and services identified on the Statement of Needed Transition Services are embedded within the goals and objectives of the student's IEP. However, since everything in a Statement of Needed Transition Services does not necessarily find its way into a goal, it is crucial that goals and objectives embedded in the IEP focus on the student, measure what the student is doing (e.g., progressing, learning), and/or clearly identify options (e.g., options outside of school, in the community at large).

When TEAM Members Disagree

Sometimes TEAM members do not agree as to how a student's IEP should look or what goals should be prioritized. This is typical! Everyone has different ideas and opinions. The best a TEAM leader or other team member can do in this type of situation is acknowledge the differing opinions and facilitate a discussion to come to some sort of decision on which all can agree.

Incorporating the Statement of Needed Transition Services Into the IEP

IDEA requires that transition services and supports occur while the student is still in school and should guide program and curriculum content. There are two levels at which the Statement of Needed Transition Services needs to be incorporated into the IEP:

1. If specialized instruction is needed, the goals and objectives of the IEP need to incorporate the information identified in Section 2 of the Statement of Needed Transition Services.


Goals and objectives must be written only if the transition service requires specially designed instruction and/or related services.

Instruction: Yes No
If yes, Annual Needed Service statement and responsible party:

If no, basis for decision:

Community experiences:  Yes No
If yes, Annual Needed Service statement and responsible party:

If no, basis for decision:

Fgure A: Excerpt from Section 2 of the Statement of Needed Transition Services Form
If "yes" is checked anywhere in this section of the Statement of Needed Transition Services form, and specially designed instruction and/or related services are needed, Part 3 of the IEP form (see below) must incorporate the information.


Annual Goal #1
Objectives and Evaluation Procedures and Schedule

1 Objective:

Evaluation procedure:

Evaluation schedule:


2 Objective:

Evaluation procedure:

Evaluation schedule:

Figure B: Part 3. Goals and Objectives on the IEP

For example, one student is interested in working as a secretary. Under "Instruction" on Section 2 of the Statement of Needed Transition Services, it may have been determined that this student needs specialized instruction for gaining the computer and typing skills related to his vision of secretarial work in a busy office. Although his school offers typing and computer classes which would be helpful in his pursuit, he may need specialized instruction on certain equipment and during certain courses. An Annual Needed Service statement has been completed and a responsible party designated. This must be reflected in the Goals and Objectives of the IEP. The student's goal on the IEP may be "to learn skills necessary for successfully attending secretarial program at community college." This goal will be marked with a TR (Transition Related, see page 32). One of the objectives may then be "learning word processing and grammar check program on an adapted computer."

2. The post-school vision statement identified in the Statement of Needed Transition Services should become a driving force for the program and curriculum content of the IEP. If specialized instruction is needed, the services related to the vision statement should be clearly identifiable in the IEP in Section 4: Special Education Service Delivery.


If "yes" is checked anywhere in Section 2 of the Statement of Needed Transition Services form, Part 4 of the IEP form (see below) must reflect any specialized instruction necessary.


 School District Cycle:  5 day cycle  6 day cycle  10 day cycle  Other:
A. Consultation (Indirect Services to School Personnel and Parents)
Type of 
Focus or 
Goal #
per Day/Cycle
Total Time 
(if applicable)
B. Special Education & Related Services in Regular Education Classroom (Direct Services)
Type of 
Focus or 
Goal #
per Day/Cycle
Total Time 
(if applicable)
Figure C: Part 4.  Special Education Service Delivery on the IEP
Although many students learn skills necessary for becoming a secretary (e.g., word processing and grammar check programs), some students may need specialized instruction. For example, a student may learn to use a grammar checking program on the computer during an English class while other students in the same class may be learning the rules of grammar without the aid of a computer. Or the student may need to learn how to use specialized computer equipment if standard equipment is not adequate. For this student, "yes" would be checked under "instruction" on Section 2 of the Statement of Needed Transition Form and an Annual Needed Service statement would be written. Any appropriate Goals and Objectives would be filled out on Part 3 of the IEP. Service Delivery would then be reflected on Part 4 of the IEP. For example, under A. Consultation (figure C), the special education teacher may assist the regular education teacher in adapting the English curriculum. Under B, the special education teacher may attend a computer class with the student and assist him/her in learning to use specially adapted equipment.

Whether sections A, B and/or C on Part 4 of the IEP are completed will vary with each student. The constant variable is ensuring that items listed on Section 2 of the Statement of Needed Transition Services are reflected in Section 3 and Section 4 of the IEP.

Planning Tips for . . .


Know your rights. You have the right

Get information. If you have questions about your education or if you are worried about how your disability will affect certain things in your future you can talk to Don't be afraid to dream. Take a leadership role. It's your life!

Begin early.

Be prepared for IEP meetings. Get to know your school and the TEAM members. Find out about adult services and issues. Talk to your son/daughter and listen to his/her ideas.
School Staff:

Find out about community services and opportunities.

Understand the dreams and wishes of your students and their families. Know about current educational practices. Think about vocational training opportunities for your students. Become familiar with adult services. From Transition in Texas: A Technical Reference Guide for the Development of Quality Transition Plans
p. 14.


AAMR American Association on Mental Retardation

ABE Adult Basic Education

ADA Americans with Disabilities Act

ADD Attention Deficit Disorder

ADL Activities of Daily Living

AER Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired

AHEAD Association for Higher Education and Disability

BTP Bureau of Transitional Planning

CIT Counselor in Training (in a camp situation)

DET Department of Employment and Training

DMH Department of Mental Health

DMR Department of Mental Retardation

DOE Department of Education

DOL Department of Labor

DPH Department of Public Health

DPW Department of Public Welfare

DSS Department of Social Services

DYS Department of Youth Services

EEP Extended Employment Program

EIP Early Intervention Program (for children ages 0-3)

EOEA Executive Office of Economic Affairs

EOHHS U.S. Executive Office of Health and Human Services

EOHS Massachusetts Executive Office of Human Services

ETS Employment Training Specialist

FAFSA Financial Application for Federal Student Aid

FC Facilitated Communication

Federation Federation for Children with Special Needs

FLSA Fair Labor Standards Act

GPA Grade Point Average

HUD Department of Housing and Urban Development (U.S. and MA)

ICFs/MR Intermediate-Care Facilities for persons who are Mentally Retarded

ICI Institute for Community Inclusion

IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

IEP Individualized Education Plan (school)

IFSP Individualized Family Service Plan (for children ages 03)

IL Centers Independent Living Centers

IRWE Impairment-Related Work Expense

ISP Individual Service Plan (adult service provider)

ITP Individual Transition Plan (school and human service provider)

IWRP Individual Written Rehabilitation Plan (MRC and MCB)

JTPA Job Training Partnership Act

LEA Local Educational Authority (the school system)

LRE Least Restricted Environment

M.G.L. Massachusetts General Laws

MAAPS Massachusetts Association of 766-Approved Private Schools

MABE Massachusetts Association for Bilingual Education

MAC Massachusetts Advocacy Center

MATP Massachusetts Assistive Technology Partnership

MBTA Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

MCB Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

MCCD Massachusetts Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities

MCDHH Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

MDDC Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council

MHFA Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency

MOD Massachusetts Office on Disability

MORR Massachusetts Office of Refugee Resettlement

MRC Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission

MTI Massachusetts Transition Initiative

NIDRR National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research

O/M Orientation and Mobility (services for individuals who are visually impaired)

OFC Office For Children

OHA State Office of Handicapped Affairs

OJT On-the-Job Training

OSEP Office of Special Education Programs

OSERS United States Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services

PAC Parent Advisory Committee

PASS Plans to Achieve Self Sufficiency

PCA Personal Care Assistant

PCP Person Centered Planning

PIC Private Industry Council

PTO Parent Teacher Organization

RAC Regional Advisory Council

RSC Rate Setting Commission

REB Regional Employment Board

RFP Request For Proposal

RRTC Rehabilitation Research and Training Center

RSA Rehabilitation Services Administration

SAC State Advisory Council

SAT Scholastic Achievement Testing

SDA Service Delivery Area

SEOG Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant

SHIP Statewide Head Injury Program (MRC)

SpEd Special Education

SSA Social Security Administration

SSDI Supplemental Security Disability Income

SSI Supplemental Security Income

TA Task Analysis

TAC Transitional Advisory Committee

TASH The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps

TJTC Targeted Job Tax Credit

TPC Transition Planning Committee

TTY or TDD Telecommunication Device for the Deaf

UAP University-Affiliated Program

UCP United Cerebral Palsy

VR Vocational Rehabilitation

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