Transition To Life After School


The Transition IEP

As parents, it is our responsibility to learn everything we can about the transition process for students with disabilities in order for our son or daughter to have both a smooth, and as effective as possible, transition into adulthood. This entails understanding the Transition IEP and making sure at age 16 that goals will lead to his or her desired outcomes after graduation from high school. 

It is extremely important to have goals and desired outcomes that you can clearly visualize. Although the idea itself seems abstract, the fact is that you cannot obtain an outcome that you cannot see. You must be able to articulate what the future should look like for your child. Use this vision to ensure that your son or daughter is working on the skills they will need in the areas of independence (and interdependence) and communication. You must know what you expect and hope to see as your child’s level of participation in his or her community. Monitor the Transition IEP and give your child opportunities to grow.

 Decisions that are made during the transition process should lay the path for desired post-school outcomes. IEP goals should address all areas of transition: employment, living, recreation, adult education, access to transportation and community services. In order to actively participate in the process and have student-centered outcomes, students themselves should be members of the IEP team who come with ideas about their own future that need to be considered and respected. With brainstorming and collaboration, an engaged team can often facilitate a students dreams.

Programs After Senior Year

Students with Down syndrome can receive services funded by the school district (IDEA) through the school year in which they turn 22. This may mean graduating when all credits (24) are accumulated and re-enrolling to obtain services related to job training and life in the community. Some students will graduate and obtain transition services such as job training and job coaching through adult service providers. The School District of Palm Beach County has Access Programs that your son or daughter may be able to  attend post K-12. Ask about the criteria early so that your child is not excluded from challenging, age-appropriate programming from 18 to 21 years old.

The School District of Palm Beach County sponsors an annual conference called STARS – Start Transition and Realize Success. Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization strongly suggests all parents and students ages 13 and above attend each year to get helpful information about various areas of the transition process.


Thanks to a vision by Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization, students with intellectual disabilities in our community can have the opportunity to access a college experience.  Go to Think College.Net for more information about local and national programs. The FAU Academy for Community Inclusion offers a college program locally in Palm Beach County.

 Medicaid Waiver and Social Security

 If your son or daughter with Down syndrome has not applied for the Medicaid Waiver…do that now! There continues to be a long waiting list and you cannot expect, at school exit, to have available the services he or she will need to access life in the community without the waiver. 



Get A Life! is a program for parents and children designed to give families and teens the tools for a successful transition into adulthood.  Parents learn about issues such as the Transition IEP, Guardianship, Job Traning and Placement, Social Security Benefits and other topics relevant to transition.  Teens focus on independent life skills such as cooking, managing money and understanding career opportunities.

The Get A Life! Program runs 90 minutes once a month for nine months during the school year.  Contact Sue Davis-Killian:|561.752.3383.

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