A successful post-secondary outcome is the goal for all students. For some disabled students the successful transition from high school to adult life requires a planning process. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) requires that transition planning should be a part of the student's IEP starting no later than with the IEP that is developed when the student is 14 years old. Students must start to think about what they want to do in their adult life, considering post-secondary opportunities, employment options, and the possibility of linking with adult service agencies.
AGE OF MAJORITY
All students are considered adults at age 18 and capable of making their own decisions. At age 18 students have the responsibility of making their own educational decisions, and are responsible for signing all consent forms. For those students who are unable to make their own decisions, due to the severity of their disability, parents have the right to pursue court appointed guardianship as the student reaches his 18th birthday.
REFERRAL FOR ADULT SERVICES
Special Education is an entitlement program. Adult services are not. Some students, due to the severe nature of their disability, might be eligible for services from an adult service agency. Students are moving from an entitlement system to a non-entitlement adult system, which means that services are not guaranteed.
For students with severe disabilities a Chapter 688 referral can be made to ensure that students can continue to receive a high level of services. Referrals can also be made for less disabled students. The receiving adult service agency determines if the student is eligible for adult services. Referrals should be made by the school, approximately 2 years before the student leaves high school.
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education is providing the information in this pamphlet to explain the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary schools.