Transition Resources for Practitioners

Student and teachers working together at a desk.

To promote successful transition to life and careers after high school, special education, vocational rehabilitation, and services personnel (e.g., early interventionists, early childhood service providers, general and special education teachers, related service personnel, and vocational rehabilitation counselors) play a critical role in supporting a seamless transition planning process for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families. In partnership with families, practitioners lead the development, implementation, and continued refinement of transition plans for children and youth with disabilities. Practitioners should design transition plans that span multiple years and embed the highest expectations for students to achieve success in their academic and post-school careers. They should also design developmental and instructional programming that is challenging, rigorous, and engaging and that emphasizes both academic and functional skills. Practitioners should also engage with children and youth with their families beginning early in students’ educational careers to plan for and monitor the ongoing supports they will need to make progress. Practitioners can also empower students by promoting opportunities and experiences for students to grow and function independently and explore career interests. Below are resources for practitioners to assist students and families with transition.

The ECTA Center supports state IDEA Part C and Part B, Section 619 programs in developing more equitable, effective, and sustainable state and local systems that support access and full participation for each and every young child with a disability and their family.

Resources from ECTA

Part C to Preschool Transition Page

  • This webpage provides information on requirements, guidance and tools to ensure seamless transitions for children and their families as they leave Part C and other early childhood programs, so they have timely access to appropriate services. This page provides information on State and local structures, policies, interagency agreements, personnel development processes, and other critical mechanisms that must be in place to support the transition process.

Transition from Preschool Services to Kindergarten Page

  • This webpage provides information to support successful transitions between preschool services to Kindergarten. The page provides state information, as well as resources from other National Centers to ensure young children have a successful transition from preschool service to the K-12 system.

Transition Practice Improvement Tools

  • This webpage provides tools based on the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices to help practitioners and families implement evidence-based transition practices. These tools and resources guide practitioners and families in supporting young children with disabilities in a variety of early childhood settings and include tools to improve practice, illustrations of effective transition practices, and practice guides for families and practitioners. They are available in both English and Spanish.

The IRIS Center develops free online instructional resources about evidence-based practices in education. These interactive, self-paced modules and other resources can be used by educators to improve their knowledge and skills regarding evidence-based practices and to build cultural and linguistic competence to improve results for all students, particularly struggling learners and students with disabilities.

Resources from IRIS Center

Secondary Transition: Helping Students with Disabilities Plan for Post-High School Settings

  • This self-paced module focuses on the transition process from high school to post-secondary settings. Among other topics, it discusses IEP planning, engaging students in the process to become better advocates for their own needs, and partnering with outside agencies such as vocational rehabilitation.

Secondary Transition: Student-Centered Transition Planning

  • This self-paced module helps users better understand the benefits of student-centered transition planning, identify ways to involve students in collecting assessment information and developing goals, and be better able to prepare students to actively participate in their own IEP meetings.

Secondary Transition: Interagency Collaboration

  • This self-paced module defines and discusses the purpose of interagency collaboration and addresses the importance of partnering with agencies to improve outcomes for students with disabilities who are transitioning from high school.

The National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) provides technical assistance (TA) to meet the needs of children and youth with deaf-blindness in key priority areas including identification and referral, family engagement, interveners and qualified personnel, and transition. Its activities are conducted in concert with state deaf-blind projects throughout the U.S. and with national partners. NCDB's website also serves as a hub of information for state deaf-blind projects, families, service providers, and the general public.

Resources from NCDB

Recommendations to Improve Transition Outcomes for Students with Deaf-Blindness and Additional Disabilities

  • These recommendations are based on a comprehensive review of laws, policies, and best practices related to transition as well as extensive interviews with experts. Topics include school and adult agency collaboration, work experiences, community activities, qualified personnel, and education for families.

Meet Jake Steinbach

  • This "Families Matter" video from the National Center on Deaf-Blindness introduces Jake and his family. They share experiences throughout Jake's life related to communication, literacy, movement, transition, empowerment, and teaming. An important theme of the story is how experiences throughout life are preparation for transition to adulthood.

READY Tool: Readiness Evaluation of Transition to Adulthood for Deaf-Blind Youth

  • This tool helps students who are deaf-blind, parents, and professionals determine essential transition activities related to assessment, programming, and team collaboration. Activities are categorized by 4 age groups: prior to age 14, 14 through 17, 18 through 21, and 22 through 26. The completed tool should be used to generate a plan of action and develop goals and objectives for IEPs and transition plans.

The National Center on Inclusion Toward Rightful Presence at SWIFT Education Center provides technical assistance to state and local educational agencies to successfully implement sustainable systems, policies, and practices that cultivate rightful presence for K-12 students, including those with significant cognitive disabilities and English learners. Rightful presence occurs in schools when students, staff, and families throughout the community have a sense of belonging and the power to contribute to educational decisions.

Resource from National Center on Inclusion Toward Rightful Presence at SWIFT Education Center

Transitioning to an Inclusive Setting: Five strategies for districts, schools, and families

  • This resource provides a vignette and highlights strategies for the critical transition students increasingly are making from a self-contained, special classrooms to inclusive educational environments.

The National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) provides strategic technical assistance (TA) to help State Education Agencies (SEAs) refine infrastructures and engage stakeholders to transform systems in order to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) NCSI provides differentiated support through Universal, Targeted, and Intensive technical assistance to states to help them best use their general supervision and professional development (PD) systems to establish and meet high expectations for all students with a disability.

Resource from NCSI

Reimagining Excellence. A blueprint for integrating social and emotional well-being and academic excellence in schools

  • This blueprint was designed with input from in-person and remote educators, leaders, researchers, professional learning providers, and technical assistance providers — it details the indicators of learning programs that successfully integrate equity, well-being, and academics. The blueprint leverages an asset-based approach that values diversity in race, culture, language, ability, and ways of interacting with the world, rather than characterizing students and families by what they may need or lack.

The goal of the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: the Collaborative (NTACT:C) is to assist State Education Agencies (SEAs) and State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs) as they support Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and service providers to implement effective practices and strategies so that all students and youth with disabilities experience increased: (1) enrollment in postsecondary education, (2) credential attainment, (3) competitive integrated employment, and (4) community engagement. This goal is achieved by building capacity within state agencies to use data-driven decision-making processes, strengthening partnerships to coordinate services and providing quality professional development activities. NTACTC provides information, tools, and supports to assist multiple stakeholders in delivering effective services and instruction for all secondary students and out-of-school youth with disabilities.

Resources from NTACT:C

Practice Descriptions and Predictor Resources or Effective Practices

  • Transition education and services should be grounded in quality research. NTACT:C has identified evidence-based and research-based practices that lead to the most successful outcomes. Practitioners can use Practice Descriptions and Lesson Plans to support transition-focused instruction.

Unpacking Assumptions/Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • A series of resources on a systems approach to justice, equity, and inclusion initiatives targeting specific marginalized students with disabilities.

Transition Services Across Agencies

  • Transition services are mandated and expected to be provided by multiple agencies. This resource is a conversation starter for understanding roles and responsibilities in serving students and young adults as they strive toward successful outcomes.

PROGRESS Center ( provides information, resources, tools, and technical assistance services to support local educators and leaders (kindergarten through transition age) in developing and implementing high-quality educational programming that ensures students with disabilities have access to free appropriate public education (FAPE), which allows them to make progress and meet challenging goals. In addition to providing onsite and virtual training for local educators, the PROGRESS Center offers free self-paced training courses; IEP tip sheets series; instructional practice briefs; practitioner stories from the classroom; and an annual Prepping for PROGRESS virtual conference.

Resources from PROGRESS Center

Stories from the Classroom: Appreciating High Expectations (Brief Video)

  • In this video, Billy Pickens explains how his teacher’s high expectations for him were not always welcome in high school, but as an adult who is deaf-blind he now appreciates how important it was for his future. To help facilitate reflection and discussion using this video, this resource includes a discussion guide or quick guide. The quick guide can be used to facilitate brief discussions (15 minutes) while the discussion guide can support longer and more in-depth discussions.

Engaging Parents as Partners in the IEP Process (Tips Sheets, Recording, Tools)

  • Family participation is an essential feature of the development and implementation of high-quality educational programming for students with disabilities. Families bring important information related to their child's academic, functional, and behavioral strengths, needs, and goals. As a result, it is important to ensure that the individualized education program (IEP) team is truly a partnership that values all participants' perspectives. All participants must understand each team members’ role and value the expertise they bring to the development and implementation of the IEP. This webinar, More Than an Invitation: Tips for Ensuring Parents are Partners in Developing and Implementing the IEP, featuring the PROGRESS Center, Center on PBIS and PEAK Parent Center shares resources and tips to help schools to effectively engage parents as partners in the IEP process.

IEP Tip Sheet: Transition Services

  • This tip sheet, which is part of our IEP Tip Sheet Series, introduces transition services. Beginning not later than the first IEP where the child turns 16 (or 14 in some states), IEP teams will need to develop a transition plan that includes transition services and measurable postsecondary goals [IDEA, Sec. 300.320(b)]. This tip sheet includes a brief summary of federal regulations, tips for implementation, and additional resources. Check with your state for additional requirements.

Please find these additional resources related to Vocational Rehabilitation.

Vocational Rehabilitation Resources

  • RSA published this final notification of interpretation to clarify current policy regarding the permissibility of using funds reserved for pre-employment transition services for auxiliary aids and services, and to announce a change in policy regarding the use of Federal VR funds reserved for pre-employment transition services.

OSERS Frequently Asked Questions Document: Increasing Postsecondary Opportunities and Success for Students and Youth with Disabilities

  • This frequently-asked questions document, with an accompanying appendix, addresses the dual enrollment of students with disabilities in secondary school and postsecondary education institutions, including comprehensive transition and postsecondary education programs for students with intellectual disabilities.

A Framework for Community Engagement – A Pathway to Competitive Integrated Employment

  • The employment of individuals with disabilities benefits our communities and our nation as they maximize their skills and talents and contribute fully to our economy. RSA, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, published this framework, to present a joint Federal vision for community engagement by individuals with disabilities, including students and youth with disabilities. Community engagement, supported by a variety of service systems, enables individuals with disabilities to expand skills and experience so that they may secure high-quality and personally satisfying careers and jobs and the benefits of employment. In addition to explaining what community engagement means and its benefits, this paper contains information about the wide variety of services, that when provided together, expand opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities to achieve competitive integrated employment.

Youth Apprenticeships in Rehabilitation Counseling: Engaging Students and Youth with Disabilities to Initiate a Career Path Webinar

  • VRTAC-QE hosted a webinar to explore how youth apprenticeships can be used by vocational rehabilitation practitioners in the VR process and how they interact with pre-employment transition services and school to work transition programs. The purpose of the webinar is to inform State VR agency staff on the benefits and application process for youth apprenticeships. The webinar discusses youth apprenticeships in connection to career pathways, workforce development, and collaboration with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, as well as delivery strategies and available tools.