Transition planning is the process of helping youth to prepare for their next steps after high school. Parents and IEP teams may find the following resources helpful to support youth in the transition process.


We hope that our "ASK a Family" YouTube video will help you feel more confident in transition services to college!

Transition Terms

Special Education uses many acronyms or abbreviations, many of which families become familiar while their student is in school. As teens and their families prepare to exit school and begin life as an adult, they are faced with many new terms and acronyms. Listed below are definitions of some words and acronyms often used during this important time.

Read the ASK Resource Center PDF

Age of Majority

Age of majority is the legal age established by state law at which a person is no longer a minor and has the right and the responsibility to make certain legal choices that adults make. The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) affords parents certain rights to ensure their participation in the educational process for their child with disabilities.

Learn more from ASK Resource Center

Life After High School

We have all thought about what we want to do when we "grow up." For most teenagers, high school is a time when they have to move from thinking and dreaming to planning and working toward real goals. All students face the big transition from high school to the "real world," and students with disabilities may face that transition with even more factors to consider. Preparing how to meet those special needs is the purpose of transition planning for students with IEPs

Read the ASK Resource Center PDF

Transition Iowa is a website for youth with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. The resources found here support high expectations and successful outcomes for all students, and help transition-age young adults prepare for life after high school. A new version of this site will be launching in Fall 2019.

Learn More at Transition Iowa

Employment First: A Family Perspective

Employment First (E1st) is based on the idea that "Employment is the first priority and preferred outcome of publicly funded services for people with disabilities." (Iowa APSE) It may sound like another "new thing" but really it isn't. Instead, it is a way for Iowa services to increase integrated work options for Iowans with disabilities.

Learn more from ASK Resource Center

Graduation Information & Guidance for Families

The Iowa State Board of Education has amended Iowa's special education rules related to the graduation of individuals eligible for special education and the definition of a regular high school diploma. The state has made these changes to be consistent with the required language in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The change means it will no longer be permissible to award a regular high school diploma based solely on IEP goal attainment. The term "regular high school diploma" must be fully aligned to State-required standards. Your local school district may have additional graduation requirements that go beyond the minimum State requirements

Read the IDOE PDF

Graduation Guidance for Families - YouTube Video

Check out this short 6 minute video on Iowa's special education rules related to the graduation of individuals eligible for special education and the definition of a regular high school diploma.

Watch the Iowa Coalition for Integration & Employment YouTube Video

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) can provide a multitude of services that are tailored specifically to the needs of each individual. The services and supports a student receives begin in high school and can continue throughout their employment.

Learn More at IVRS

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: What it Means for Iowa Youth, Families and Schools

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was signed into federal law July 2014. The purpose is to "empower individuals with disabilities to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion in and integration into society."

Learn About WIOA

Iowa Disability Benefits Network

Iowa Workforce Development partnered with state and local agencies to develop the new Iowa Disability Benefits Network. The website provides information for recipients of Social Security disability benefits, their families and professionals supporting people with disabilities. The site includes resources for employment support, instructions for reporting wages to Social Security, informative videos about Social Security benefits, and other information for Iowans with disabilities. The content aligns with the requirements of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act and focuses on developing Iowa's workforce.

Read More on the Iowa Disability Benefits Network

Student Involvement in the Individualized Education Program Process

IDEA requires that students with disabilities be invited to attend every IEP meeting where postsecondary transition goals will be considered. This page offers resources you can use to involve students with disabilities in planning their own transitions into adulthood.

Learn More at the Parent Center Hub

IEP OWNER'S MANUAL for Transition-age Students

This printable IEP Owner's Manual was created so youth can use the manual to learn about the different parts of their IEP that will help them succeed in their plans for life after high school.

Read the PACER Center PDF


This toolkit was developed for families to use during pediatric-to-adult HCT and includes resources for both parents/caregivers and youth/young adults.

Read the Got Transition PDF

Your IEP Meeting: A Great Place to Practice Self-Advocacy Skills

Self-advocacy is a key step in becoming an adult. It means looking out for yourself, telling others what you need, and knowing how to take responsibility. No one is born knowing these skills. Self-advocacy skills are needed over a lifetime, and everyone has to learn them. Here is some great information that can start you on your way

Read the PACER Center PDF

Sample Self-Advocacy Plan

The most important part of self-advocacy is learning to share information about yourself with others. Use this tool to help you figure out what information you want to share with your IEP team at your next IEP team meeting.

Read the PACER Center PDF

Chart Your Own Future: How Your IEP Can Help

What will you be doing after high school? Where will you be working? Going to school? How do you plan to have fun in your free time? What kind of life do you want? Getting more involved with your IEP team in writing your IEP can help you answer these questions and make your goals for the future possible.

Read the PACER Center PDF

IEP Meeting Checklist for Transition Age Students

Follow these easy steps before your next IEP team meeting, during the meeting, and after the meeting, to help you advocate for yourself with confidence and make your voice heard.

Read the PACER Center PDF

My Student Snapshot for Transition-Age Students

You're ready to go to your next IEP team meeting. You're excited about speaking for yourself and telling your IEP team in your own words what you want them to know about you, your disability, and your plans and dreams for the future. Where do you start? Use this Student Snapshot to help you plan what you want to say. Then practice it with your family or your IEP Case Manager before your meeting. Remember, you are the expert on you.

Read the PACER Center PDF

Supporting Families in Transition between Early Intervention and School Age Programs - With Hearing Loss

The transitions between early intervention and preschool services, and later preschool and kindergarten, are emotional for all parents as they watch their little ones grow. Add a disability such as hearing loss, and these emotions are magnified. Issues associated with the disability intertwined with the responsibility of making the right choices for their children's future often results in a time of uncertainty

Visit the Hands and Voices Website

Webinar on Family Toolkit: Pediatric-to-Adult Health Care Transition

A webinar held on 10/27/2020 discussing Got Transition's Family Toolkit (, which was developed for families to use during the transition from pediatric to adult health care. The webinar reviews helpful resources and provides insight from a mother of a transition-aged young adult.

Watch the Got Transition YouTube Video