Extended Transition: Exploring Programs for Students Aged 18-22
Research indicates that students with disabilities exhibit lower rates of academic achievement, high dropout rates, higher levels of unemployment and underemployment and a lower degree of social integration than their peers without disabilities (National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, 2004). Students with disabilities need guidance and support to plan, implement and achieve their post-school goals. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, students with disabilities may receive free and appropriate public education (FAPE) services until their 22nd birthday. Although some students may continue to work toward a standard diploma, extended transition programs generally focus on achieving Individual Educational Plan (IEP) transition goals.
Extended transition programs and services are designed for students who defer the receipt of their diplomas and have an IEP that prescribes special education, transition planning, transition services, or related services through age 21. Also, students must be enrolled in one of several specific educational programs such as accelerated college credit, industry certification courses that lead to college credit, a collegiate high school, courses necessary for Scholar designation, or structured work-study, internship, or pre-apprenticeship programs.
Transition services are defined as a coordinated set of activities for a student, designed within an outcome-oriented process, which 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. [34 CFR 300.18] Extended transition services are the transition services offered to students between the ages of 18 and 22.
There are many types of extended transition programs provided to students with disabilities to help them achieve their post-school goals. The list below features some examples of program types:
- Community-based instruction
- Dual-enrollment programs
- Employability skills training
- Postsecondary transition programs
- School-based enterprises
- School to work programs based on employment experiences
- Self-determination and self-advocacy training
- Social skills training Vocational training programs
The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) has provided evidence-based predictors of positive post-school outcomes. Transition programs that address these areas have the highest likelihood of helping students to reach their desired post-school outcomes. A partial list of the predictors includes the following:
- Career awareness
- Community experience
- Family involvement
- Interagency collaboration
- Social skills
- Work study
The complete list of post-school outcome predictors can be found here (pdf).
Extended transition programs exist across school districts in a variety of forms. Some programs extend across the nation and even the globe. Other extended transition programs are innovations designed specifically for a particular location or setting such as a college or university campus, a hospital, or a local business site. The reality is that programs emerge where needs are observed. Some of you may be observing the need for additional extended transition programs in your area.
The following resources can be downloaded from the Documents & Files box on the right side of this page.
Extended Transition (Florida 18-22 Programs) List (pdf)
2016 November Topical Brief - Extended Transition Programs (pdf)