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Updated: May 18, 2021

Special education laws require us to begin transition planning when before students turn 16 years old. In many states, it's when they are 14. So middle school and high school teachers, that's you! This is a huge responsibility. We know that the earlier we begin to work on transition planning with our students and their families, the better off they will be when they leave the school system- the more likely they are to gain employment, participate in post-secondary education, live independently, or be able to access the community. These amazing free transition resources are perfect for special educators preparing students for the transition to adult life.

Graduation caps with colorful tassels and text "Free Transition Resources for Special Educators"
Free Transition Resources for Special Educators

When our students turn 22 and age out of special education, they need services in place to help them gain employment, access the community, enroll in post-secondary education, etc. Basically, if we haven't helped them and given them the resources to access state or local services, it is their own (or their family's) responsibility to find the services and usually, pay for the services out of pocket. There are some amazing websites and free resources out there on the world wide web that can help us with transition planning and collaborating with our students and their families regarding transition into adulthood. Here are some of my favorites (click on the picture to go to each website).

The Zarrow Center:

If you haven’t looked at this website, you need to! It is full of amazing resources and several transition and self-determination curricula that can be downloaded for FREE. It’s a huge wealth of knowledge for both elementary and secondary teachers with topics from self-awareness to student-directed transition planning.

National Center on Secondary Education & Transition:

This website has topics from teaching academic standards to family participation. NCSET has a youth-centered interactive website that is designed to get kids involved in their education and IEP planning.

Skills to Pay the Bills:

This is a free curriculum by the US Department of Labor that teaches students the soft skills needed for successful employment. It teaches 6 different soft skills- communication, enthusiasm & attitude, teamwork, networking, problem-solving & critical thinking, and professionalism. Teaching soft skills helps students prepare for and gain employment in any industry.

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition:

This website has a ton of free lessons for Evidence-Based Practices, Research-Based Practices & Promising Practices for Transition Planning, Graduation & Post-School Success. It includes the subcategories- education, employment and independent living for each section. There is also a great toolkit section that includes resources for a variety of topics, like planning and hosting a transition fair or finding age-appropriate transition assessments. You'll have to create a log-in to download files, but it's free and so worth it!

National Parent Center on Transition and Employment:

Not only is it an excellent resource to recommend to your parents, but it has a wealth of knowledge for teachers and students as well. They have a huge video library with tons of information and a learning center with lots of handouts, info, and research on everything from middle school transition planning to assistive technology to state and federal benefit programs.

National Alliance for Secondary Education & Transition:

This website has a lot of great information, but I especially like their free Transition Toolkit. It's all about how to help schools identify what students need to participate successfully in the community, post-secondary ed, meaningful employment and adult life, and includes a tools section with a few assessments and action plan templates.

I hope you find some great new information and resources! Thanks for reading!




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