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Definition of transition from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):

Transition services means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that:  

  • is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused 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, including post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;  
  • is based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences, and interests; and includes—  
    • Instruction
    • Related services
    • Community experiences
    • The development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives; and  
    • If appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocational evaluation. 

Transition services for children with disabilities may be special education, if provided as specially designed instruction, or a related service, if required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education.

The chart below identifies key transitions points when a child's needs may be amplified.

Transitioning  FROM…….

Transitioning TO……..

Early Supports and Services (Early Intervention)



New classroom at end of year


New environments outside the classroom; and sometimes moving from one activity to another within the classroom




Middle school


High School

High school           

Independent living, secondary, vocational school, workforce

Old teacher/para   

New teacher /para mid-year