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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition: Creating opportunities for youth with disabilities to achieve successful futures.

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E-mail a link to this page to someone you knowIEP & Transition Planning

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All About the IEP Pages from NICHCY
This guide provides links to information about IEPs with suggestions for developing them, the ins-and-outs of IEP meetings, and other resources on the “crown jewel” of special education.

Building the Legacy / Construyendo el Legado: A Training Curriculum on IDEA 2004
The Building the Legacy / Construyendo el Legado training curriculum was produced by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) at the request of the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The curriculum is intended to help all those involved with children with disabilities understand and implement IDEA 2004, the nation's special education law and includes 19 modules from its Building the Legacy Training Curriculum on IDEA 2004. Each module includes a PowerPoint presentation to use in training sessions, discussions of IDEA for trainers, and handouts for audience participants. The modules are available for download, use, and sharing. Many modules are available in both English and Spanish, and all handouts for participants are available in both languages.

Career Planning Begins with Assessment: A Guide for Professionals Serving Youth with Educational and Career Development Challenges (May 2004)
This guide serves as a resource for multiple audiences within the workforce development system helping adolescents and young adults transition from school to adult life and the world of work. Youth service practitioners will find information on selecting career-related assessments, determining when to refer youth for additional assessment, and additional issues such as accommodations, legal issues, and ethical considerations. Administrators and policymakers will find information on developing practical and effective policies, collaboration among programs, and interagency assessment systems.

Effective IEP Meetings: Tested Tips (2009)
This list of tips from CADRE offers suggestions for convening successful IEP meetings. It includes preparation tips for parents and educators.

IEP Checklist iPhone App (2010)
The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) has developed an Individualized Education Program (IEP) Checklist iPhone application. The new IEP application helps parents and teachers of students with disabilities become better informed by making IEP information easier to access. This tool is for parents and teachers to use in developing a student’s IEP. The checklist includes items required by special education regulations and other items that may be relevant for the IEP.

IEP Tool Kit (2010)
The Matrix Parent Network and Resource Center offers an IEP Tool Kit to help parents/families better advocate for their children. It includes: steps in planning for an IEP meeting, tips on organizing a child’s school-related papers, forms for organizing data about a child’s needs and strengths to decide what might be needed in the IEP and for keeping track of needs and questions to discuss at the meeting, and information on resources special education IEP plans, effective communication, and a child’s special needs. Available in PDF (637 KB, 11 pp).

Parents’ Experiences with the IEP Process: Considerations for Improving Practice (April 2010)
“Parents’ Experiences with the IEP Process: Considerations for Improving Practice,” a national study released by the Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE), reviewed literature to explore findings from 10 recent studies (from 2004 on) focused on the experiences and perceptions of parents or other caregivers related to the IEP process. The 3 December 1, 2010 report highlights recommendations from this body of literature for improving the experiences of parents and encouraging their participation in IEP meetings. Available in PDF (9 pages, 392 KB).

Secondary Transition Collection from the IDEA Partnership
Transition services under IDEA 2004 are defined as a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that is designed to be within a results-oriented process. The focus is on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child's movement from school to post-school activities. The tools and resources in this Secondary Transition Collection help improve the transition process.

Student-Directed Transition Planning Lessons from the Zarrow Center (2007)
These eight Student-Directed Transition Planning (SDTP) lessons facilitate high school-to-adult life planning partnerships between students, their families, and educators. Educators use eight SDTP lessons to teach their students the knowledge needed to actively participate in their transition-focused IEP meetings. The titles of the SDTP lessons are: Awareness of Self, Family, Community, and Disability; Terms and Concepts for Transition Planning; Vision for Employment; Vision for Further Education; Vision for Adult Living; Course of Study; Connecting with Adult Supports and Services; and Putting It All Together: The Summary of Performance. To access the lessons, click on the figure in the "SDTP Home" screen.

Student's Guide to the IEP, Set 1 (2002)
This award-winning guide, produced by the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY), is a set of materials for students and families/professionals to learn about student involvement in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process. The student booklet guides students through the process of learning how the IEP is developed, learning about their own disability, listing their strengths and areas of need, identifying what accommodations they need in school, developing a list of goals and objectives for the year, talking with teachers and parents, and preparing for and participating in the IEP meeting. The family/professional guide is written for parents and teachers who would like to help students with disabilities become involved in developing their own IEPs. The audiotape features several students, all of whom have disabilities, talking about their experiences as active participants in the IEP process, and also features teachers and parents discussing how they have helped students become active participants in the IEP process.

Web Sites

Colorado Department of Education Transition Resources
The Colorado Department of Education Exceptional Student Leadership Unit is dedicated to providing students, parents, and educators with resources for the transition process.

Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) – Publications Page
The Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) was organized in 1976 as the 12th division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). DCDT focuses on the career development of children, youth, and adults of all ages and exceptionalities. DCDT also focuses on transition from school to adult life as a major component of the career development process. The primary purpose of DCDT is to promote the career development of exceptional children, youth, and adults. DCDT encourages, nurtures, and advances efficient and effective programs of career awareness, exploration, preparation, and transition for all exceptionalities from early childhood through adulthood. This site contains a wonderful Publications Page with information on available newsletters, fact sheets, and more.

Family Center on Technology and Disability
Formed by United Cerebral Palsy Associations and partner organizations to provide assistance to programs and organizations to respond to the technology needs of parents and families of children and youth with disabilities. This site includes information on model programs, success stories, links, and more.

Family Voices
A site focused around the issues of children and youth with special health care needs. Families throughout the United States that have children with special health care needs, as well as caregivers, professionals, and friends provide content. The site provides breaking news, data and research, and quick links.

National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)
The National Center on Educational Outcomes provides national leadership in the participation of students with disabilities in national and state assessments, standards-setting efforts, and graduation requirements. This Web site provides information about NCEO, its projects, research findings and online publications, and other related resources. The Special Topic Areas lead you to additional information, including topic-specific publications that you can download.

National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
The National Council on Independent Living is a membership organization that advances the independent living philosophy and advocates for the human rights of, and services for, people with disabilities to further their full integration and participation in society. Every state has one or more Centers for Independent Living, and many have programs specifically geared toward supporting and supplementing transition planning that takes place in the school. They can also assist with the transition from school to adult life through additional programs offered through the Centers. To get more information or find your local Centers, visit this Web site:

National Dissemination Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY)
NICHCY is the national information center that provides information on disabilities and disability-related issues. Anyone can use their services—families, educators, administrators, journalists, and students. Their special focus is children and youth (birth to age 22). This Web site contains many resources in both English and Spanish, including information about specific disabilities, special education and related services for children in school, individualized education programs, parent materials, disability organizations, professional associations, education rights and what the law requires, early intervention services for infants and toddlers, and transition to adult life. Their publications page contains an alphabetical and categorical list of all of their publications in English and Spanish, including Basics for Parents, Disability Info, IDEA-Related Pubs, News Digests, Parent Guides, Student Guides, Transition Guides, Resource Lists, and more.

National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC)
NYEC is a non-partisan national organization dedicated to promoting policies and initiatives that help youth succeed in becoming lifelong learners, productive workers, and self-sufficient citizens. This site contains information on legislation, best practices, and leadership development, as well as a host of projects and initiatives.

National Youth Leadership Network (NLYN)
The National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN) is dedicated to advancing the next generation of disability leaders. The NYLN: promotes leadership development, education, employment, independent living, and health and wellness among young leaders representing the diversity of race, ethnicity, and disability in the United States; fosters the inclusion of young leaders with disabilities into all aspects of society at national, state, and local levels; and communicates about issues important to youth with disabilities and the policies and practices that affect their lives.

Social Security Administration (SSA)
This is the official Web site of the Social Security Administration. Contains information on all programs, online services, benefits information, research and data, applications online, gateways to information for special populations, and more.

Technical Assistance on Transition and the Rehabilitation Act (TATRA) Project
PACER’s TATRA Project was funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) in October 1994 to provide technical assistance to six Rehabilitation Act Parent Training Projects funded the previous year. These projects are part of an RSA initiative to inform individuals with disabilities and their families about the Rehabilitation Act and vocational rehabilitation and independent living services, to enable them to improve and expand employment goals and outcomes.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs’ (OSEPs') IDEA Web site, Building the Legacy
This site was created to provide a "one-stop shop" for resources related to IDEA and its implementing regulations, released on August 3, 2006. It is a "living" website and will change and grow as resources and information become available. When fully implemented, the site will provide searchable versions of IDEA and the regulations, access to cross-referenced content 2 December 1, 2010 from other laws (e.g., the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), etc.), video clips on selected topics, topic briefs on selected regulations, links to OSEP's Technical Assistance and Dissemination (TA&D) Network and a Q&A Corner where you can submit questions, and a variety of other information sources. As items are completed and added to this site, we invite you to grow and learn with us as we implement these regulations.

Virginia Department of Education Transition Services
This Web site provides support, information, and resources designed to improve the outcomes of students with disabilities in transition from middle and secondary education to postsecondary education and employment.
This Web site provides information, resources, and research about work and disability issues. The site includes a listing of research, projects, an online store, training information, a free e-newsletter, and more.

Wrightslaw: IDEA 2004 Resources
The IDEA 2004 at Wrightslaw page is organized into these sections: Law & Regulations; Commentary to the Regulations; Guidance from Education Dept; What You Need to Know About IDEA 2004; IDEA 2004 Publications & Reports; Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition.



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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
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This page was last updated on January 12, 2022.