What are some transitional programs for young students with special needs?
The youngest a student can be to begin transitional services is 14. The end of the transitional program comes at age 22 when the student has at least achieved a high school diploma. This is a mandate of IDEA.
Some transitional programs at the younger level are meant to extend what has been acquired through life skills learned at the elementary school level.
These life skills include cooking, cleaning, organizing, categorizing, and basic problem solving. Out of all the life skills, the most important is self-determination. Helping the student become motivated to learn is a skill to be taught to all students regardless of disability.
Academic skills are also integrated to the life skills curriculum.
Communication skills and social skills are also enforced since, as the student grows and matures, so will her circle of peers and friends.
Academic goal setting and even career planning begins slowly at the earlier stage, gearing the student to visualize a future. This also aids in the much needed self-determination skills that are the key for the student to acquire the skills being taught.
When the student turns 16 the transitional goals are geared toward more complex problem solving, high school to job skills, assistive technology application, and job-specific skill development.
Most importantly, the interest inventory where the student demonstrates motivation and seems focused is the primary factor that drives the entire process.