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Best Practices in Transition: Getting from Compliance to Quality Services. Dr. Mary E. Morningstar [email protected] University of Kansas Department of Special Education. Think/Pair/Share.

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Best practices in transition getting from compliance to quality services

Best Practices in Transition: Getting from Compliance to Quality Services

Dr. Mary E. Morningstar

[email protected]

University of Kansas

Department of Special Education Quality Services

Think pair share
Think/Pair/Share Quality Services

Why do we need transition planning?

What do you need to do to ensure quality outcomes?

Critical elements of transition

Student- Quality Services













Access &





Critical Elements of Transition



Transition to


FALSE Quality Services


Transition was included in IDEA because the first special education students to exit high school were successful in achieving positive postschool adult outcomes such as living on their own, having a well-paying job, and attending postsecondary education in record numbers.

Correct answer is: FALSE.

Beginning in the mid-1980’s, the U.S. Department of Education recognized that the first group of students who had been all the way through special education were leaving school and unsuccessful in adult life. Unemployment, lack of enrollment in postsecondary education, continued dependence on parents, social isolation, and lack of involvement in community-based activities were found among young adults with disabilities.

FALSE Quality Services


Many curricula and programs do not support students with disabilities in developing essential adult-life skills.

Correct answer is TRUE

Post-school outcome research indicates that the current special education curriculum, instruction, and planning are not meeting students' needs. The National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 has reported that while outcome for many youth with disabilities is improving, they often do not learn or use the skills in their school programs that they need to achieve productivity, empowerment, and independence.

FALSE Quality Services


Students with disabilities transitioning from school to adult life are not often supported by effective interagency collaboration.

Correct answer is TRUE

Limited levels of service coordination and collaboration among schools and community service agencies have created difficulties for students with disabilities in achieving positive post-school results (Johnson, et al., 2002). In many circumstances, students with disabilities leave school without appropriate community supports necessary to achieve successful adult outcomes. Many students remained at home with nothing to do because they were on long waiting lists for adult services.

FALSE Quality Services


Students with disabilities are more likely to remain in school and graduate from high school than their peers without disabilities.

Correct answer is FALSE

Dropping out of school is one of the most serious problems facing special education programs across the country. Almost 1/4 of all youth with disabilities exit the school system by dropping out. Youth with ED have the highest drop out rates (from 21% to 64% - twice the rate of nondisabled students). The drop out rate for students with learning disabilities averages 25% (National Center for Education Statistics, 2001). Reasons include: lack of credits to graduate, no parental support for education, inappropriate social interactions. Dropouts have fewer options for employment and usually end up in entry level, low-paying positions.

Critical element of transition planning differently

Transition Quality Services


  • Planning early

  • Person-centered Approach to Planning

  • Outcomes tied to Vision for future

  • IEP focuses on outcomes

  • Service coordination

  • Postschool outcomes data

  • Documentation in the IEP

Critical Element of Transition: Planning Differently

Transition to


Person-Centered Planning Resources

Features of person centered planning
Features of Person-Centered Planning Quality Services

  • Focus on and driven by the student’s strengths, interests and preferences

  • Focus on capabilities and opportunities – developing a vision for the future

  • Process is flexible, dynamic and informal

  • Requires collaborative team work with commitment to action

  • Requires an effective facilitator

    K.B. Flannery, R. Slovic, &D. McLean (1994)

  • MAKING ACTION PLANS (MAPS) Quality Services

  • What is the individual’s history?

  • Who is the individual?

  • What are the dreams?

  • What are the nightmares?

  • What are the needs?

  • What are the individual strengths?

  • What would an ideal school day look like?


  • Identify the “North Star”

  • Identify the GOAL

  • Look at life NOW & identify differences between NOW and GOAL

  • Identify steps to move person from NOW to GOAL

  • Identify FIRST STEP


  • Create a personal profile

    • Person’s background and history

    • Relationships

    • Places

    • Choices

    • Preferences

    • Focus on the future

  • Review Trends in Environment

  • Find desirable images of the future

  • Identify obstacles and opportunities

  • Identify strategies

  • Getting started (Action Planning)

  • Identify the need for systems change

  • Create a network/Circle of Friends


  • Non-negotables

  • Strong preferences (Needs)

  • Highly desirables (Wants/enjoy)

  • Person’s positive reputation

  • Things we need to do to help person stay healthy

  • Things we need to do to be successful in supporting the person

  • Unresolved Issues/Questions

  • How the person communicates with us

Build a personal profile
Build a Personal Profile Quality Services

  • Interview the student, family and others in their life in a relaxed atmosphere

    • Break down the “big question” of “What job do you want?” to smaller ones:

      • What do you like about school and classes?

      • What do you like to do after school?

  • Spend time with the individual

  • Interview significant others

  • Hold a planning meeting using a person-centered approach

    Hagner & Dileo (1993)

  • The Personal Preference Indicators: A Guide for Planning Quality Services

    Moss (2006). Center for Interdisciplinary Learning and Leadership/UCE, College of Medicine, University of

    Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

    Adapting the maps questions for transition
    Adapting the MAPS Questions for Transition Quality Services

    MAPS Questions

    • What is individual's history?

    • Who is the individual?

    • What are the dreams?

    • What are the nightmares?

    • What are individuals needs?

    • What are the individual's strengths?

    • What would an ideal school day look like?


    • Who is individual?

    • What is individual's history?

    • What is the vision for his/her adult life?

    • What are some things individual doesn't want in his/her future

    • What are individual's greatest strengths and contributions for community involvement?

    • What does individual need to be successful in his/her career?

    • What would an ideal day look like?

    Using MAPS to plan for Transition: Quality Services

    Angie’s MAP

    Postsecondary Education & Training Quality Services

    Community Participation


    Community Living

    From PCP to Postsecondary Goals

    • needs experiences with lots of different places

    • Expand her social life

    • Transportation is problem

    • going to movies, fishing, camping, horseback riding

    From: Furney, et al., (nd) Making Dreams Happen: How to Facilitate the MAPS Process. University of Vermont

    • go on to college

    • needs experiences with lots of different places

    • Expand her social life

    • Work on safety when alone (e.g., tipping out of wheelchair)

    • independent living skills

    Angie s transition iep
    Angie’s Transition IEP Quality Services

    • Measurable postsecondary goal: Upon completion of high school, Angie will work 20 hours a week in an occupation that focuses on retail sales.

    • Transition Services:

      • Instruction: Angie will participate in a careers class focused on job training in retail sales

      • Community Experiences: Angie will complete referral for VR

      • Employment: Angie will job shadow at 3 different retail settings

      • Adult living and Daily living: Angie will participate in bus travel training; Angie will get herself up in the mornings and get ready for school.

    • IEP goals:

    Planning for the future
    Planning for the Future Quality Services

    Critical element of transition involving families

    • Family members attend meetings Quality Services

    • Flexible to meet with families

    • Transition = family as a whole

    • Involved in decisions

    • Agreement on outcomes

    • Information

    • Person-centered planning



    Critical Element of Transition: involving Families

    Transition to


    Working with Families

    TA Alliance for Parent Centers

    Knowing Families: Family Systems Framework Quality Services

    • Family members attend meetings

    • Transition = family as a whole

    • Involved in decisions

    • Flexible to meet with families

    • Agreement on outcomes

    • Information

    • Person-centered planning



    Critical Elements of Transition

    • Family Characteristics

    • Description of the family

    • Personal characteristics

    • Special challenges

    • Family Life Cycle

    • Stages and Transitions

    • Changes in

    • Characteristics

    • Changes in Functions

    • Changes in Life Roles

    Family Interaction






    Transition to




    Family Functions

    Affection, Self-esteem, Economics, Daily care, Socialization, Recreation, Education, Spiritual Working with Families online module

    Building relationships with families

    • Share information and resources Quality Services

    • Use multiple formats & ways to provide information

    • Ensure reciprocity

    • Informal and frequent communication

    • Arrange linkages with other families and available supports

    • Coming Together for the IEP

    • Prepare in advance

    • Connecting and getting started

    • Sharing visions and transition outcomes

    • Reviewing levels of performance & assessments

    • Sharing resources, priorities, concerns

    • Developing goals and objectives

    • Specifying placement and related services

    • Summarizing and concluding

    • Types of adult services

    • Role models

    • Basic facts about transition

    • Areas most wanted by families in one study:

      • sexuality

      • self-care

      • getting along with others

      • taking responsibility

    • Guardianship and estate planning

    • Role of IEP team members

    • Criteria for evaluating IEP

    • Postschool option

    • Social security

    • Listen empathetically

    • Share information

    • Communicate family meaning

    • Focus on family identified issues

    • Reliably respond

    • Meet in friendly places

    • Tell personal stories

    Michael Bridges’ Transition Cycle Theory

    Building Relationships with Families

    • Identify transition cycle of the family

    • Learn to LISTEN

    • INVITE Involvement

    • Pay attention to family concerns & postschool outcomes

    • Exchange information

    • Parent involvement activities

    Critical Element of Transition: Quality Services

    Supported Self-Determination!

    • Decision-making skills and opportunities

    • Invited to attend meetings

    • Ideas listened to and respected

    • Opportunities to learn about options

    • Self-advocate

    • Self-Directed IEPs

    • Parent info. to support students



    Transition to


    The Self-Determination Center

    Self-Determination Synthesis Project

    If a student floated in a lifejacket for 12 years, would he/she be expected to swim if the jacket were jerked off?

    Self determination model
    Self-Determination Model he/she be expected to swim if the jacket were jerked off?


    Know Yourself &

    Your Environment

    Value Yourself



    Outcomes & Learn

    SOURCE: Hoffman, A., & Field, S. (2006). Steps to self-determination (2nd ed.). Austin, TX: PRO-ED

    Curricula for participating and directing iep transition meetings
    Curricula for Participating and Directing IEP Transition Meetings

    Teaches students to become active members of their IEP team!

    Techniques to help students actively participate in iep meetings
    Techniques to Help Students Actively Participate in IEP Meetings

    • Ask students questions such as:

      • What are your learning strengths?

      • What are your areas of improvement?

      • What are your goals for school?

      • What are your career & employment interests?

      • How do you learn best?

      • What are your hobbies?

    • Be positive – focus on what the student can do

    • Listen attentively & take notes

    • Give students plenty of time to think & respond

    • Use information that the student provides

    • Summarize the student’s goals and plans

    • Encourage the student to ask questions


    You’re Invited Meetings

    Date: Time:

    Name: Michael



    • Interests

    • Swimming

    • Video games

    • Law enforcement

    • Strengths

    • Want job as officer

    • Artistic

    • I like to sleep right when I get home


    • Visual

    • Auditory

    • Needs

    • Preferred Seating

    • Quiet setting

    • Copies of notes

    • Academic instruction tied to outcomes Meetings

    • Inclusive Educational Experiences

    • Vocational instruction & experiences

    • Independent living skills

    • Social, interpersonal & recreation

    • Functional curriculum reflects outcomes

    • Natural & age-appropriate

    • Transition Programs Post-HS for ALL students

    Think College

    Going to College

    Transition to College

    Transition to


    Transition & Instructional Strategies

    Evidence-based Practices in Transition (National Secondary Transition TA Center NSTTAC)

    What Works Transition Synthesis Research Project





    Taxonomy for Transition Programming Meetings

    Family Involvement

    Student-Focused Planning

    Program Structures

    Student Development

    Interagency Collaboration

    Nsttac predictors of post school success http www nsttac org content lesson plan starters
    NSTTAC MeetingsPredictorsof Post-School Success

    Preparing all youth for transition to postsecondary education training
    Preparing All Youth for Transition to Postsecondary Education & Training

    • Youth with ID are less likely to be employed (~ 17%)

    • 11% attended 2 or 4 year postsec. Setting

    • 33% had a goal of sheltered employment

    • 55% never employed before postsecondary

    • 33% employed post-program (43% of working had never been in a paid position)

    • Postsecondary experiences impact employment outcomes, self-image and social value

      From: Think College (2011, Nov. 18). College: An Unexplored Pathway to Employment for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    Critical elements of transition inclusion access and accountablility

    • Enroll in instructional program to meet needs Education & Training

    • Social inclusion

    • Gen. Ed & Voc. Ed. get support

    • Inclusion leads to positive outcomes

    • Decision-making process used

    • Accommodations on IEP & State and District Tests


    Access &


    Critical Elements of Transition:Inclusion Access and Accountablility

    Transition & Instructional Strategies

    Transition to


    Inclusive education leads to better outcomes
    Inclusive Education Leads to Better Outcomes Education & Training

    • Improved IEP Quality

      • Age-appropriateness

      • Functionality

      • Generalization

    • Improved Instruction in General Education

      • Increased instruction in functional skills, basic academic skills, literacy, etc.

      • More engaged in learning and less isolation than in separate classes

      • Involvement and support from peers w/o disabilities

      • Individualized instruction in general ed classes

    • Better outcomes

      • In school and postschool (fewer absences & referrals, higher social interactions & communication skills, better postschool outcomes)

    Embedding new basic skills
    Embedding Education & Training‘New Basic Skills’…

    Adapted From: Maryland Coalition on Inclusive Education(August 2009). Redefining What is Functional in High School. MCIE High School Inclusion and Transition Planning Institute

    Critical Element of Transition: Education & Training

    School and Community Connections!!

    Peer Tutoring & Peer

    Mediated Instruction

    Peer Supports

    Natural Supports in the


    Facilitating Friendships

    and Social Interactions

    Critical elements of transition assess for quality

    • School-business partnerships Education & Training

    • Process for identifying needs

    • Formal & informal supports

    • Accurate information

    • Interagency agreements

    • Community transition teams

    • Collecting Postschool Outcomes





    Critical Elements of Transition: Assess for Quality

    Transition to


    Interagency and Community Systems:

    Why focus on interagency collaboration
    Why Focus on Interagency Collaboration? Education & Training

    Adolescents with disabilities in transition have complex support needs

    Inability of different systems to work together

    88% of all states have failed to establish interagency linkages under IDEA

    No agency has all that is needed to plan & provide comprehensive transition services

    Lea capacities strategies
    LEA Capacities & Strategies Education & Training

    Scheduling and staffing

    Early planning

    Flexibility in location of services

    Follow-up after transition

    Administrative support


    State support

    Collaboration with adult agencies

    • Meeting with students and families

    • Training students and families

    • Joint training of staff

    • Meeting with agency staff and transition councils

    • Transition portfolios

    • Disseminating information widely

    Lea and sea attitudes
    LEA and SEA Attitudes Education & Training

    Clear value of relationship building

    Relationship Building Capacity: Positive Attitudes

    Relationship-Building Strategies:


    Ongoing meetings

    Transition councils

    Who should participate in transition planning? Education & Training

    • Peers and friends

    • Administrators

    • Postsecondary Ed. staff

    • Community Service Providers

    • Family Members

    • Student

    • Education personnel

    • School support staff

    • Community members

    Critical elements of transition assess for quality1

    Critical Elements of Transition: Assess for Quality



    Transition to


    Transition Assessment: The Big Picture

    Based on age appropriate transition assessments
    Based on age appropriate transition assessments…. related to postsecondary goals

    The ongoing process of collecting data on the individual’s strengths, needs, preferences, and interests as they relate to the demands of current and future working, educational, living, and personal, and social environments. Assessment data serve as the common thread in the transition process and form the basis for defining goals and services to be included in the IEP (DCDT Position Statement, Sitlington, 1996)

    • Define Transition Assessment…..

    Transition assessment where do you start
    Transition Assessment: related to postsecondary goalsWhere Do You Start?

    What and How to Assess

    Planning for Assessment

    Using Data

    Guiding Questions

    Integrating Data & IEP

    Resources: Online module (Transition Assessment: The Big Picture & Assessment Resources pdfs of commercially available assessments & questions to ask

    Quality indicators of effective transition programs needs assessment www transitioncoalition org
    Quality Indicators of Effective Transition Programs Needs




    Planning &








    Transition to





    Access &





    This tool allows individuals, schools, districts, regions and states to complete a self-assessment program regarding seven research-based indicators of effective transition practices:

    • Transition planning

    • Student involvement

    • Family involvement

    • Interagency collaboration

    • Curriculum and instruction

    • Inclusion in school and access to the general curriculum

    • Transition assessment

      The resulting data is used to identify critical needs and priorities for on-site and online professional development