IDEA 2004 states that “Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP team, and updated annually, thereafter, the IEP must include – (1) Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills” [300.320 (b) (1)]
If the purpose of transition assessment is to identify a young person’s goals for a life after high school, we suggest beginning with the assumption that everyone deserves and can access:
- paid work in their community;
- a home with people they choose to live with;
- a full, active, day filled with meaningful activities,
- and supports that enable them to participate in their lives.
The information that we need to learn about the student through an assessment includes the student’s current skills and abilities, interests, and support needs
the skills and or strategies that they need to learn in order to move from where they are now to a successful adult life.
Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment Strategies
Age-appropriate transition assessment strategies that we recommend for students who are deaf-blind are highlighted below.
Discovery. For students who experience significant impact of disability the most effective strategy to get to know them is a person-centered strategy that looks at what they can do, what strategies are most effective for them to participate, and where they are at their best. Information that is descriptive rather than evaluative will provide much more direction for transition planning for these students. See the list below for some excellent print resources, websites, and webinar recordings available to help guide you through this process.
As a team begins viewing a student from the perspective of learning about the kinds of activities that are well matched to their interests and abilities, it is important to provide opportunities for the student to have a variety of work experiences. These experiences contribute to an understanding and/or confirmation of the student’s interests, necessary supports, and contextual information about what enables a student to be at his/her “best”.
Vocational Portfolio: These experiences should be documented, and included in a vocational portfolio that helps to communicate to potential employers what the student is able to do and contribute. A Vocational Profile is a narrative document that describes an individual in a optimistic, robust, narrative manner, across all aspects of life, capturing information from the process of Discovery and enabling the team to envision community employment for the individual. The Profile or Transition Assessment Summary has been used as a tool to meet IDEA’s indicator 13 or Age Appropriate Transition Assessment requirement.
Visual Resume or Individual Portfolio: is a tool to introduce someone in the best light possible. It is comprised of both photos and narrative information about the individual’s contributions, skills, tasks and experiences that is gathered during the process of Discovery. Initially the tool was used to represent people who do not compete well to employers in an effort to present a proposal of what they bring to an employer and to negotiate a position that meets the individual’s conditions for success in employment AND the employer’s needs. This tool with slight modifications has also been used by youth and families to introduce themselves at IEP meetings to help the team envision an optimistic post school outcome. It is not recommended to use the Visual Resume as an assessment in itself.