Transition from School to Independent Living

Transition is a term used in the special education field to describe the process a student with disabilities undergoes to move from one educational setting to another (e.g., middle school to high school or high school to a higher education institution), or to leave the educational system entirely and prepare for independent living and entrance into the workforce.

Transition planning is important because each new stage in the process represents unique challenges for the students and those who support them. There are many aspects to successful transition planning. This reference guide addresses some of the key concepts related to transition and provides additional resources for those with an interest in the topic. While this resource is meant to be as inclusive as possible, it is not comprehensive and should not be used as the sole resource for those interested in the subject.

This resource begins by listing the common terms used in the transition field. It then discusses transition programs and assistive technology that students can use to help with transitions. It also discusses legislation relating to transition. Because access to reading material is important for independent living, accessible reading services are listed as well. Finally, it concludes with resources and a bibliography. All topics within each section are listed in alphabetical order.

If we have omitted anything from this publication that you believe should be included, please contact the NLS Reference Section at: [email protected] or 202-707-9275.

Contents

Key Concepts

Age of Majority

The Age of Majority is when an adolescent legally becomes an adult and the rights and responsibilities are transferred from the parent or guardian to them. At least one year prior to reaching the Age of Majority, the adolescent’s IEP (see below) must include language indicating they have been informed of the rights they will inherit.

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs offer specialized training in skills corresponding to the desired career goals of a student with a disability. Depending on those goals, effective CTE programs will focus training on the technology, sciences, writing, and hands-on skills necessary for a successful career. Through the Perkins Collaborative Resource Network External, the Department of Education funds CTE programs throughout the United States.

Expanded Core Curriculum

The Expanded Core Curriculum teaches a set of skills complementing the skills students with visual impairments learn in school. These skills are necessary for students to be more successful, self-reliant adults. Skills include orientation and mobility instruction, career education, personal finance and budgeting, social interaction, and independent living.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are mandated by law for all public schools who serve students with disabilities. They are plans, drafted by a team, that are customized to suit the unique needs of each student. IEPs are drafted by teachers, school administrators, and, in some cases, the students themselves. IEPs spell out the educational and interpersonal goals for the students, milestones for meeting those goals, the responsibilities of their IEP team, and any resources they may need, such as assistive technology. The IEP team determines a schedule for future meetings to ascertain the student’s progress and make adjustments if necessary.

IEP Team

The IEP team sets the goals and parameters for the student’s IEP. Included in the IEP team are the parents of the student, the student’s special education instructor (if applicable), the student’s traditional education instructor (if applicable), a member of the school system who has the authorization to make financial commitments for the student’s IEP needs, an individual with special knowledge of the student, and in some cases the students themselves.

Independent Living

Independent living is a general term referring to one’s ability to perform daily tasks without assistance, such as financial management, cooking, cleaning, recreation, and socialization.

Indicator 13

Indicator 13 is a requirement of IDEA 2004 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) that school districts report on the number of students over 16 years old in their systems that currently have IEPs and how they are meeting the goals specified in the plan. The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition External has published a checklist External for schools systems to use to ensure they are meeting the requirements.

Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)

Mandated by the amendments to the Rehabilitation Act, the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is a document that states the employment goals of a client of a state rehabilitative service. It spells out the responsibilities of the agency to help them achieve those goals, the services they are to offer, objective requirements for the rehabilitation agency, and benchmarks for fulfilling those obligations.

Orientation and Mobility Instruction (O & M)

O & M instruction is the practice of teaching an individual with a visual disability the methods required to independently navigate their environment. Instructors teach their students to use a cane, find destinations, cross a street, and apply problem-solving while navigating.

Personal Futures Planning (PFP)

PFP is the concept of tailoring the transition planning process to meet the unique, individual needs of the student. Planning involves the key people in the student’s life; considers the student’s career goals, strengths, and available resources; and aims to identify potential obstacles. Plans take into consideration the student’s abilities, asking what they “can do” instead of asking what they “can’t do.” Instead of written reports, a PFP encourages regularly scheduled discussions with the student’s transition team. In addition, assessments are not standardized and are likewise tailored to the specific needs of the student.

Summary of Performance

Under IDEA, secondary schools are required to provide post-secondary institutions a Summary of Performance that provides the institutions details about the student’s academic progress, and recommends how they may effectively meet the student’s academic goals.

Transition Assessments

Transition Assessments are continuing processes that gathers data on abilities, interests, and goals of students with disabilities. This data is measured against the current home and school environments of the student. Information from the assessments is used in the development and adjustments to the student’s IEP.

Vocational Assessments

Vocational assessments are used by the transition team to identify the needs, strengths, and interests of the student. These assessments are used to plan educational and vocational opportunities (such as internships) that will prepare the student for life outside of school.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational rehabilitation is a service offered by state agencies where participants are individually instructed in how to be successful members of the workforce. Individuals are paired with a specialist, who determines their unique needs and makes recommendations. A list of vocational rehabilitation agencies in each state is currently available from https://rsa.ed.gov/about External.

Programs

Listed below are programs designed to assist students and their families with the transition process. The programs listed below are available on campus, online, and via correspondence modes of learning. There is a link to the program below each paragraph. Additional contact information for the institution hosting the program is in the directory section of this reference guide.

BLIND, Inc.

BLIND, Inc. is a training center for people with visual impairments. It maintains several programs to prepare students with visual disabilities for post-secondary life. BLIND, Inc. has three programs for college readiness and a career center focusing on skills necessary to be a productive member of the workforce. Located in Minnesota; accepts students throughout the US. More information is available from www.blindinc.org External.

Carroll Center for the Blind

The Carroll Center for the Blind is a residential vocational rehabilitation center offering independent living skills courses for people with visual impairments. Specific programs include assistive technology training, orientation and mobility instruction, and employment training. Every summer they host a six-week summer program for adolescents with disabilities ages 15 to 21. The Center specializes in the skills listed above plus personal management, travel, health management, career guidance, and budgeting. Located in Massachusetts; accepts students throughout the US. More information is available from http://carroll.org External.

Center for the Visually Impaired

The Center for the Visually Impaired teaches braille literacy, braille music, and Nemeth (braille math) code. The Center’s programs include employment opportunities, assistive technology instruction for youth and adults, travel and mobility training, and early intervention programs for children. The Center also offers instruction in a classroom environment through its Social, Therapeutic, Academic, and Recreational Services (STARS) program and a summer camp, as well as support groups for adults and children. There is also a retail store on the premises selling material of interest to people with visual impairments and their families. Service restricted to Atlanta, Georgia. More information is available from http://www.cviga.org External.

College Success@Perkins

College Success @ Perkins is a nine-month residential program for blind and visually impaired high school graduates who are college-bound, as well as students who have attended college and are looking to hone their blindness and academic skills to return to college better prepared. Through small group and individual lessons, as well as college courses and work based experiences, all supported by College Success teachers, students will increase their independence, self-awareness, and academic skills to allow greater autonomy and increased success in college and life. Located in Massachusetts; accepts students from across the U.S. More information is available from https://www.perkins.org/school/transition-programs/college-success External.

Colorado Center for the Blind

The Colorado Center for the Blind maintains multiple programs to teach students with visual disabilities how to live independent lives. The center has a summer youth program where, while housed in apartments, students learn basic independent-living skills such as orientation and mobility, braille literacy, assistive technology, travel, personal finance, leadership, and career exploration. They organize “challenge recreation programs” where students undertake activities such as rock climbing and white-water rafting, helping them build the confidence needed to lead a more successful life. Accepts students from across the US.

The Colorado Center also has a college preparatory program, teaching students note-taking strategies, use of alternative formats, knowledge of student’s rights in a higher-educational setting, writing, public speaking, strategies for learning STEM subjects, and how to use PowerPoint as a person with a visual disability. Students even take an online course as practice for future online learning web application in college. More information is available from http://coloradocenterfortheblind.org External.

Disability Mentoring Day Transitions Pipeline

A program of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the Disability Mentoring Day Youth Transitions Pipeline was a yearlong initiative in which AAPD pairs students with disabilities with centers for independent living throughout the country. The program offered youth-led programming, workshops for developing skills, mentoring, job shadowing, and internships. Although the program ended after 2017, AAPD has kept a toolkit available from their website for use by others interested in developing a similar program. More information is available from http://www.aapd.com/disability-mentoring-day/youth-transitions-pipeline External.

Envision Rehabilitation Center

The Envision Rehabilitation Center provides vocational rehabilitation services and job placement and employment assistance to people with visual disabilities. In addition, they offer assistive technology products and instruction on how to use them, as well as training in independent living skills and orientation and mobility. The Center also provides early intervention assistance for children and support groups for parents. They coordinate training opportunities for paraprofessionals who work with people with visual disabilities. More information is available from http://www.envisionus.com External.

Experiences in Transition (EXIT)

A program from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired External, the EXIT program is for students, ages 18 to 22, who have just completed high school. The program incorporates the Expanded Core Curriculum and focuses on the individual transition needs of the student. Service restricted to Texas students only. More information is available from http://www.tsbvi.edu/exit External.

Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Hadley Institute for the Blind (formerly the Hadley School for the Blind) is a distance education institution. The Institute provides programs on topics that pertain to transitioning, such as braille literacy and independent living, orientation and mobility, socializing and dining, managing personal finances, and personal care. Located in Illinois; accepts students from across the US. More information is available from http://www.hadley.edu External.

Post-Secondary Program

A service of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Post-Secondary Program teaches recent high school graduates life skills such as daily living activities, personal budgeting, self-advocacy, organization fundamentals, transportation, and college readiness. Service restricted to Texas students only. More information is available from http://www.tsbvi.edu/technology/128-school/192-post-secondary-program External.

Pre-Employment Program (PEP)

The Perkins School for the Blind’s External PEP program helps students with visual impairments acquire job skills specific to their chosen career path. The program uses hiring professionals and disability specialists from around the greater Boston area to teach students job interview skills and how to disclose their disability to potential employers. Students hear from local business leaders and have an opportunity to tour high-profile job sites such as Google’s Cambridge campus. Located in Massachusetts; accepts students from across the US. More information is available from http://www.perkins.org/school/public/pre-employment-program External.

Summer Training and Employment Project (STEP)

A program from the Louisiana Center for the Blind, the STEP program is an eight-week summer program where teenagers with visual disabilities work 15 to 20 hours a week at a local business near the center. The goal is for participants to learn skills necessary to participate in the workforce while also giving them job experience for their résumés. Accepts anyone from across the US. More information is available from http://www.louisianacenter.org/programs-and-services/ External.

Ticket to Work

Ticket to Work is a program from the Social Security Administration that matches participating employers with job seekers with disabilities. The program provides career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and training. Accepts enrollees from across the US. More information is available from http://www.ssa.gov/work External.

Legislation

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA is one of the most expansive civil rights laws in the country. It prohibits discrimination based on disability in employment, government programs, public facilities, private facilities, transportation services, and telecommunication services. Under the ADA, it is unlawful for educational institutions and employers to discriminate, or restrict services for, people with disabilities.

Assistive Technology Act

The Assistive Technology Act awards federal grant money to the states to provide assistive technology to their residents throughout the course of their lifetimes. This is usually done in the form of loans of assistive technology products to the individuals. In addition, these programs may also provide financial assistance to individuals seeking to purchase assistive technology. A listing of Assistive Technology Act Programs is available External. For more information on assistive technology, please refer to the Assistive Technology for Transition section of this publication.

IDEA 2004

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures that children with documented disabilities are entitled to educational opportunities in public schools throughout the US. without creating an additional financial burden on their parents or guardians.

IDEA 2004 has six main principles:

  1. Free and Appropriate Education: Students with disabilities are entitled to a free and public education that fits their needs.
  2. Least Restrictive Environment: Students with disabilities are educated with peers without disabilities as much as possible.
  3. Comprehensive Evaluation: A formal documentation process used to determine the scope of the student’s special education needs.
  4. Individualized Education Program (IEP): This plan is developed by members of an educational team based on the results of the comprehensive evaluation.
  5. Parents’ and Students’ Input into Educational Decisions: This ensures that the parents and students can fully participate in the educational planning for the student.
  6. Procedural Safeguards: These are safeguards established by the student’s school district, or other similar entity, in order to enforce the student’s educational rights.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandates equity in education and employment for people with disabilities. The amendments of 1983 and 1986 allow for the funding of services to foster productive transition to the work force for people with disabilities and to support them in their careers.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (herein referred to as Section 504) is a federal law to protect the rights of people with disabilities in the public education system. Any educational program receiving funding from the Department of Education must comply with Section 504. Such institutions include public school systems and higher educational institutions. For more information on Section 504, please visit the Department of Education’s website External.

Assistive Technology for Transition

Assistive technology is technology designed for people with disabilities to help them perform tasks they would otherwise be unable to perform because of their disability. Examples of assistive technology include screen readers that allow people who are blind to access information on a computer screen, text-to-speech devices that can take the text from a page and render it back into speech for a user, and products such as hearing aids.

Listed below are some examples of assistive technology that may aid students with disabilities.

In addition to what is listed below, the Reference Section of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled has compiled a listing of assistive technology products.

Audio Players

Audio players allow users to record material to take notes, download audiobooks or podcasts, and convert text to speech. There are currently several types of audio players on the market that are designed for use by people with disabilities. The NLS publication Digital Audiobook Players lists the available devices.

Braille Notetakers

Braille notetakers are portable devices that allow users to interface with information via a refreshable braille display. Many of the braille displays and notetakers on the market allow users to navigate the Internet, draft word processing documents, and download documents and books written in braille. This NLS reference guide lists available braille notetakers.

Magnifying Devices

Magnifying devices are used to enlarge text. These devices can be used to magnify the text in textbooks, class handouts, or other coursework. In many cases, these devices are portable and come with an adjustable arm that may be used to magnify the image of text on display from across a room (such as during a presentation). This NLS reference guide lists available magnifying devices.

Screen Readers

Screen readers take the information that is on a computer screen or mobile device and convert it to speech for the user. Screen readers also allow users to interact with the links, buttons, and other controls on the screen. Common screen readers include Job Access With Speech (JAWS), Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA), and Voiceover. A listing of the screen readers is available from the NLS reference guide Assistive Technology Products for Information Access.

Text-to-Speech Devices

Text-to-speech devices convert printed materials into audible speech. These devices may be used by people with a visual or reading disability. They may also be provided as hardware solutions like stand-alone scanners or as software solutions. Some of them allow users to follow along with text as it is read to them by highlighting the words on a computer screen. A listing of text-to-speech devices is available from the NLS reference guide Assistive Technology Products for Information Access.

Accessible Reading Services

When transitioning from school to independent life, or to higher education, access to reading materials is essential. Students in college will need to know where to obtain accessible textbooks for classes and independent adults will want to know how to continue to be well-informed members of society. Listed below are resources for accessible reading materials for people with print disabilities. They include resources for textbooks, pleasure reading, newspapers and magazines. Additional contact information can be found in the directory section of this publication.

AccessText Network

The AccessText Network is a partnership between publishers of educational materials and educational institutions. Publishers offer their materials through the network in accessible formats for students with disabilities, which are shared through the student’s college or university. A student with a qualifying disability approaches the disability services coordinator in their educational institution to request a book in accessible format. That coordinator has login credentials to the AccessText Network and is able to download the item in a format that the student can read. More information is available from http://www.accesstext.org External.

Bookshare

Bookshare collects the digital files provided to them by publishers and makes these files available to their members in accessible formats. Eligible users then download the files and read the material on their computers through a digital audiobook player or via Bookshare’s mobile app. Bookshare’s material is offered in audio format via synthetic speech. It is free for students and costs $50 for non-students. More information is available from http://www.bookshare.org External.

HathiTrust

The HathiTrust is a partnership of more than a dozen member research libraries that scan their collections to make them available over the Internet. Full texts of materials in the public domain are available. The HathiTrust recently partnered with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) to make their collection accessible to people with print disabilities. Free for users. More information is available from http://www.hathitrust.org External.

International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS)

IAAIS is a volunteer-driven membership organization of services that uses volunteers to record materials for people with print disabilities. They primarily record information from newspapers and other periodicals. Their recordings are transmitted on a secure FM signal that can be received by a user with an authorized device. Pricing is dependent on the IAAIS service in the user’s state. More information is available from http://www.iaais.org External.

Learning Ally

Learning Ally offers its members reading material in both synthesized and human speech. While Learning Ally does offer material for pleasure listening, they are also a primary source for access to instructional materials, such as textbooks. Materials can be accessed via a mobile app, through a computer, or on an audiobook player. Subscriptions for Learning Ally are $135. More information is available from http://www.learningally.org External.

LibriVox Audiobooks

LibriVox is an app available on Android and iOS devices. It makes public domain available for download. Books are in the public domain and read by volunteers. Free for the user. More information is available from https://librivox.org External.

National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS)

NLS is a free library service from the Library of Congress for people unable to read standard print or use printed materials because of a physical disability. Service is provided to eligible US residents and American citizens living abroad by their local cooperating library. Free braille and talking books and magazines are available. Hundreds of thousands of popular books are offered, including best sellers, classics, historical fiction, mysteries, romances, westerns, and many others. NLS uses human voice actors to record NLS talking books. Books are delivered by mail, download, and mobile app for iOS and Android devices. Digital talking-book players—with high-quality sound and easy navigation—are loaned to the user. More information is available from https://loc.gov/nls.

NFB-NEWSLINE

NFB-NEWSLINE provides its subscribers access to more than 300 newspapers and magazines from a touchtone phone, computer, portable digital audiobook player, or mobile app. Free for the user. More information is available from https://nfb.org/programs-services/nfb-newsline External.

Open Library

Open Library is a product of the Internet Archive. It is an online repository of records and scanned copies of reading material. Patrons of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled and Bookshare are allowed to access scanned books from Open Library that would otherwise be inaccessible to the general public due to copyright restrictions. The books can be read from Open Library directly with Open Library’s built-in text-to-speech system. Open Library has books on STEM subjects, bestsellers, and classics. Free for the user. More information is available from https://OpenLibrary.org External.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg makes over 60,000 books in the public domain available to the general public. Books can be downloaded in multiple formats, including HTML and plain text. Free for the user. More information is available from http://www.gutenberg.org External.

Resources

Listed below are additional resources about transition. They include organizations that work with students with disabilities, support groups for parents and students, and web guides with information.

Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP)

The ACVREP certifies professionals who provide services to people with visual disabilities. These professions include orientation and mobility instructors, assistive technology training specialists, low-vision specialists, and rehabilitation training specialists. Their website allows users to search for certified professionals in one of the aforementioned fields. More information is available from http://www.acvrep.org External.

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

AAPD is an advocacy organization for people with disabilities. They also offer internships and mentoring programs for young adults with disabilities looking to advance their careers. More information is available from http://www.aapd.com External.

American Printing House for the Blind (APH)

APH creates educational and independent living products for people of all ages who have visual disabilities. They have guides and product recommendations for the user’s specific age group or situation. More information is available from http://www.aph.org External.

Association for Educational and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)

AER is a professional association of educators of students with visual disabilities. The organization maintains a listing of recommended degree programs for orientation and mobility instructors, vision rehabilitation instructors, and teachers of the visually impaired. AER offers continuing educational opportunities for educators, such as conferences and online courses. More information is available from https://aerbvi.org External.

Career Guide for Students with Disabilities

A resource from BestColleges.com, this guide offers advice and resources for students with disabilities to use as they prepare to enter the workforce post-graduation. It provides strategies for students with disabilities that can be used when seeking employment, defines several of the challenges people face when searching for jobs, and offers resources to be used in the job search process. More information is available from http://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/career-guide-for-students-with-disabilities External.

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)

CAST works with schools, universities, and employers to develop and sustain methods of learning and work to be inclusive to the broadest array of people. CAST coined the term “Universal Design for Learning, ”a conceptual framework designed to bolster better education outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities. More information is available from http://www.cast.org External.

The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE)

CADRE offers resources and best practices for parents and advocates of students with disabilities in dispute resolution with their school system. The Center showcases resources from other states and offers its own training. More information is available from http://www.cadreworks.org External.

Center for Parent Information and Resources

The Center for Parent Information and Resources is a central repository for people who offer resources for people with disabilities and their families and educators. Their mission is to be a resource for the network of Parent Technical Assistance Centers, a network of advocacy and training centers who serve parents of children with disabilities in each state. Their website includes archived webinars, guides, a curated listing of websites, and other topical information. More information is available from http://www.parentcenterhub.org External.

Center on Technology and Disability (CTD)

CTD has a transition page listing websites and articles for students with disabilities, their families, and education professionals who work with them. CTD provides tips for successful post-secondary transition experiences using assistive technology. More information is available from https://texasldcenter.org/external-resources/center-on-technology-and-disability External.

Center on Transition Innovation (CTI)

A resource from Virginia Commonwealth University, CTI performs research into best practices and methods for successful transition. They offer evidence-based resources and information on transition. They make their evaluations public for practitioners in the field of transition to study. More information is available from https://centerontransition.org External.

Client Assistance Program

The Client Assistance Program advises and informs individuals with disabilities about their rights under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the ADA and connect them with advocacy services to help them secure those rights under the law. More information is available from http://www.benefits.gov/benefit/914 External.

Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap lists and reviews assistive technology products for people with disabilities. They showcase assistive technology solutions through their magazine, webinars, and their annual conference. Products showcased include learning solutions for people who are blind, people with reading disabilities, and people with physical disabilities. More information is available from http://www.closingthegap.com External.

College Accessibility for Visually Impaired Students

This collection of resources from the Center for Online Education aids high school students with visual impairments as they move on to post-secondary education. The resource gives details on scholarship opportunities, campus services, pertinent legislation, and information on assistive technologies. More information is available from http://www.onlinecolleges.net/for-students/college-accessibility-visually-impaired-students External.

College Choice: College Resources for Students with Disabilities, the Ultimate Guide

College Choice rates U.S. colleges and universities on several factors, including accessibility for people with disabilities. It lists 50 institutions considered to be most accessible. Also includes resources and advice for students with disabilities in higher education.

College Resources for Students with Disabilities

College Resources for Students with Disabilities is a resource from Affordable Colleges Online. It lists several of the disabilities that require accommodations and suggests assistive technology solutions. More information is available from http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/resources-for-students-with-disabilities External.

College Support for Students with Disabilities

This guide, from the Center for Online Education, provides an overview of what students with disabilities should be aware of when searching for and enrolling in a higher education institution. It includes information on the legal rights for the students, disability services offered by colleges, advice on how to make the transition to a college setting, and offers several assistive technology solutions for college students. More information is available from http://www.onlinecolleges.net/for-students/students-with-disabilities External.

Colorado Department of Education, Office of Special Education

The Colorado Department of Education has a webpage dedicated to the development of the IEP, including advice on what to consider, and standards for how one is written. More information is available from http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdesped/iep_resources External.

Council for Exceptional Children

The Council provides resources for educators of children with disabilities and sells books specifically related to post-secondary transition preparedness. It offers webinars and in-person instruction for professionals in the field and has subsidiary divisions within the organization for the instruction and certification of post-secondary transition professionals, and for the educators of children with visual disabilities. More information is available from http://www.cec.sped.org External.

DaSy

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education, DaSy offers technical assistance to state special education programs in their early intervention efforts. They offer assistance in the development or improvement on data systems for Part C early intervention and Part B preschool special education programs that are supported by the IDEA Act. More information is available from https://dasycenter.org External.

Education USA: Resources for Students with Disabilities

This is a resource from the U.S. State Department offering guidance and referrals for international students with disabilities coming to the U.S. to study at U.S. colleges and universities. More information is available from https://educationusa.state.gov/resources-students-disabilities External.

Federation for Children with Special Needs

Offers support and resources to parents and children with special needs. The Federation includes special classes for parents who want to know more about the transition process and rights for their children in the education system. It covers topics such as knowing how to construct an IEP and how to create a post-secondary education plan. More information is available from https://fcsn.org/ External.

Getting Hired

Getting Hired provides recruiters and talent evaluators who connect job seekers who have disabilities with potential employers. It allows users to search for employment opportunities and employers to recruit job seekers with disabilities. Getting Hired maintains a blog with tips and best practices for career success and accommodations. More information is available from http://www.gettinghired.com/en External.

Guide for Online Colleges & Disabilities

This guide, from AccreditedOnlineColleges.org, is meant to assist students with disabilities who are considering attending an online higher education institution. It advises students on the process of selecting a school that will meet their needs. In addition, it provides background information on their legal rights when applying for and attending school. It also provides information on potential scholarships for students with disabilities. More information is available from www.accreditedonlinecolleges.org/resources/accredited-online-colleges-and-disability-education External.

A Guide to the Individualized Education Program

This resource from the U.S. Department of Education describes the process of establishing and maintaining a student’s IEP. It is a step-by-step guide describing what the IEP is, how it is written, who is involved, and how it is implemented for the student. More information is available from www2.ed.gov/parents/needs/speced/iepguide/index.html External.

HEATH Resource Center at the National Youth Transitions Center

The HEATH Resource Center is an Internet reference source disseminating resources of interest to individuals with an interest in postsecondary transition for people with disabilities. It has links to various associations in the field, assistive technology solutions, federal resources, etc. Resources include papers, information sheets, web directories, and newsletters. More information is available from www.heath.gwu.edu External.

Helping Students with Visual Impairments

This resource explains on-campus tools available to students with visual disabilities. It also describes scholarships for students and provides access to other online resources. It describes in detail different visual acuities and what assistive technologies could be used for each. It provides insight into the college search process with special considerations for the students with visual impairments. More information is available from www.accreditedschoolsonline.org/resources/helping-blind-low-vision-students External.

The IRIS Center

The IRIS Center is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). IRIS provides resources on best practices for educators who work with children with disabilities. More information is available from http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu External.

Job Accommodation Network

A consulting organization that works with employers and employees, informing parties of their rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Its services include a database listing various disabilities and the rights of employees. More information is available from https://askjan.org External.

National Association of State Directors of Special Education Inc. (NASDSE)

NASDSE collaborates with state departments of education to ensure that the needs of students with disabilities are met. This includes post-secondary transition planning and independent living. They research the effectiveness of curricula in teaching students with disabilities. They publish reports on state efforts to meet transition outcomes and their success in training students with disabilities in skills needed for post-secondary success. NASDSE has a resource page for parents and educators of student with disabilities. More information is available from www.nasdse.org External.

National Business and Disability Council at the Viscardi Center (NBDC)

The NBDC partners with corporations to find career positions for people with disabilities in their offices. They offer mentoring services to people with disabilities enrolled in their program. The NBDC consults on issues pertaining to the continued accessibility of a workplace. They sponsor an emerging leader program, pairing transitioning college students with corporate offices for internships and possible future employment. More information is available from www.viscardicenter.org External.

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials

The National Center on Accessible Educational Materials writes standards and provides resources for educators and employers who are required to make their learning resources accessible to people with disabilities. Provides guidance on the various assistive technologies on the market and offers advice on purchase. More information is available from http://aem.cast.org External.

National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)

The NCDB published a free list of recommendations for family and students with disabilities in best practices for transition planning. The recommendations were based on interviews with 40 experts in the field. In addition, they host webinars on transition and host annual conferences for families on the subject. More information is available from https://nationaldb.org/groups/page/13/transition External.

National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability (NCWD/Youth)

The NCWD works with state and local professionals who are responsible for the education and development of youth with disabilities. They provide technical assistance services to workforce development youth programs. They publish Guideposts for Success, a booklet that enumerates the services and opportunities available to youth to make an effective transition to adulthood. NCWD also facilitates Youth Action Council on Transition (YouthACT), a program that fosters the skills and knowledge students with disabilities will need throughout the transition process. More information is available from www.ncwd-youth.info External.

National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Resources Page

The NFB maintains a resources page that includes resources for learning and working. Resources listed include assistive technology, adapted appliances, and braille literacy programs. More information is available from https://nfb.org/resources External.

National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC)

A division of the NFB, NOPBC is a membership organization for parents of children who have visual disabilities. The organization seeks to provide support and resources for parents throughout their child’s adolescence. More information is available from http://nopbc.org External.

The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT)

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, NTACT assists local education departments and vocational rehabilitation educators with implementing effective transition programs for students with disabilities. More information is available from www.transitionta.org External.

Office of Civil Rights (OCR)

The OCR’s mission is to enforce anti-discrimination laws in institutions receiving federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education. They enforce legislation by reviewing the institutions and collecting complaints from their 12 offices throughout the U.S. More information is available from www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr External.

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS)

By offering federal grant funding, OSERS supports the efforts of state and local municipalities to meet the needs of students with disabilities. It has two main components, the Office of Special Education Programs and the Rehabilitation Services Administration. OSERS provides grants to nonprofit technical information centers that offer support and resources to parents and students with disabilities. Subjects covered are the rights of the students in the IEP meeting and early childhood intervention. Depending on the program, there are webinars and classes to advise parents and students of their rights. More information is available from www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/aboutus.html External.

Office of Special Education Programs IDEA website

A website that is designed to be a one-stop resource for people with an interest in the IDEA Act and special education for students with disabilities. More information is available from http://idea.ed.gov External.

Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER)

PACER offers resources and training for parents of children with disabilities. They publish literature specific to transition and other topics of interest to families with a special-needs child. In addition, they also provide distance learning opportunities for families on topics such as communicating with the IEP team, assistive technology, and home skills. More information is available from www.pacer.org External.

Paths to Transition

This resource from the Perkins School for the Blind includes detailed explanations of transition concepts and offers tools such as assessment templates, as well as independent living activities for parents to use to prepare their children for life on their own. More information is available from www.perkinselearning.org/transition/about External.

Perkins Collaborative Resource Network

A service of the Department of Education, the Perkins Collaborative Resource Network grants funding for Career and Technical Education programs throughout the United States. More information is available from https://cte.ed.gov External.

Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)

The Rehabilitation Services Administration assists state and local vocational rehabilitation agencies and other services to people with disabilities to better facilitate their successful transition to the work force. More information is available from https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/rsa/index.html External.

Tool Kit on Teaching and Assessing Students with Disabilities

A resource provided by the U.S. Department of Education, the Tool Kit offer the latest resources and research to aid educators in assessing the educational progress of students with disabilities. More information is available from https://osepideasthatwork.org/federal-resources-stakeholders/tool-kits/tool-kit-teaching-and-assessing-students-disabilities External.

Transition Services

Transition Services is a multiple chapter resource guide from the National Association of Special Education Teachers. It describes the transition process and has detailed sections covering what educators should do when implementing a transition plan for their students. It covers the basic topics, such as the IEP, while also providing guidance on less-discussed topics such as social and sexual issues in the transition plan. More information is available from www.naset.org/transervices4.0.html External.

TRIO

TRIO is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education granting funds to academic programs and educational institutions to assist them in aiding students from marginalized communities, including students with disabilities. More information is available from https:www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/trio/index.html#programs External.

University of Oklahoma: Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment

The Zarrow Center offers many lesson plans for students, educators, and parents to learn fundamental concepts related to transition. It has lesson plans for students on how to construct an IEP, lead an IEP meeting, and access their progress in meeting the agreed goals. More information is available from http://www.ou.edu/education/centers-and-partnerships/zarrow/transition-education-materials External.

US Department of Education - Ideas that Work Page

The Ideas That Work page is designed to facilitate access to information on and from programs supported by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The website has a listing of resources for students, parents, and others with an interest in the education of students with disabilities. More information is available from www.osepideasthatwork.org External.

US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice enforces the nation’s civil rights laws. The Disability Rights Section works to implement the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Through enforcement, certification, as well as mediation, the Section works to ensure that entities remain compliant with the ADA. Interested parties can call the Section with ADA questions. More information is available from www.justice.gov/crt External.

Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research Training Center (VCU RRTC)

This program provides resources on evidenced-based practices to aid people with disabilities, their advocates, and employers in employment and retention. It provides links to free resources and articles they have developed that addresses post-secondary transition. More information is available from https://vcurrtc.org External.

Keywords for Searching Online

Here are some terms you may want to consider using when researching transitions online:

  • College students with disabilities
  • Educational counseling
  • Independent living skills for the blind
  • Orientation and mobility
  • People with visual disabilities—Education (Higher)—United States
  • Post-secondary transition for students with disabilities
  • Rehabilitation counseling
  • School-to-work transition—United States
  • Students with disabilities—Life skills guides
  • Students with visual disabilities—Life skills
  • Transition to college
  • Vocational guidance
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Youth with disabilities—Vocational education—United States

Directory

Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP)
4380 N. Campbell Ave., Ste. #200
Tucson, AZ 85718
520-887-6816
520-887-6826 fax
www.acvrep.org External

AccessText Network
512 Means St. NW, Ste. 250
Atlanta, GA 303181
866-271-4968 toll-free
404-894-7565 fax
[email protected]
www.accesstext.org External

AccreditedOnlineColleges.org
PO Box 961
Seattle, WA 98101
www.accreditedonlinecolleges.org External

Affordable Colleges Online
PO Box 77022
San Francisco, CA 94107
[email protected]
www.affordablecollegesonline.org External

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
2013 H St. NW, Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20006
202-521-4316
800-840-8844 toll-free
[email protected]
www.aapd.com External

American Foundation for the Blind
1401 South Clark St., Ste. 730
Arlington, VA 22202
212-502-7600
www.afb.org External

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Ave.
PO Box 6085
Louisville, KY 40206
502-895-2405
800-223-1839 toll-free
502) 899-2284 fax
[email protected]
www.aph.org External

Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired
5680 King Centre Dr., Ste. 600
Alexandria, VA 22315
703-671-4500
703-671 6391 fax
[email protected]
aerbvi.org External

BLIND Inc.
100 E Twenty-Second St.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
612-872-0100
800-597-9558 toll-free
612-872-9358 fax
[email protected]
www.blindinc.org External

Bookshare
www.bookshare.org External

Carroll Center for Blind
770 Centre St.
Newton, MA 02458-2597
617-969-6200
800-852-3131 toll-free
617-969-6204 fax
https://carroll.org External

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
200 Harvard Mill Sq., Ste. 210
Wakefield, MA 01880
781-245-2212
[email protected]
www.cast.org External

The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education
576 Olive St., Ste. 300
Eugene, OR 97401
541-359-4210
458-215-4957 fax
[email protected]
www.cadreworks.org External

Center for Parent Information and Resources
c/o Statewide Parent Advocacy Network
35 Halsey St., Fourth Fl.
Newark, NJ 07102
973-642-8100
[email protected]
www.parentcenterhub.org External

Center for the Visually Impaired
739 W. Peachtree St. NW
Atlanta, GA 30308
404-875-9011
404-607-0062 fax
www.cviga.org External

Center on Transition Innovations
Virginia Commonwealth University
1314 W. Main St.
Box 842011
Richmond, VA 23284-2011
804) 828-1851
804) 828-2494 TTY
804) 828-2193 fax
[email protected]
https://centerontransition.org External

Client Assistance Program
1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636) toll free
www.benefits.gov External

Colorado Center for the Blind
2233 W. Shepperd Ave.
Littleton, CO 80120
303-778-1130
303-778-1598 fax
[email protected]
http://coloradocenterfortheblind.org External

Colorado Dept. of Education
Office of Special Education
1560 Broadway, Ste. 1100
Denver, CO 80202
303-866-6694
303-860-7060 TTY
303-866-3808 fax
[email protected]
www.cde.state.co.us/cdesped/iep_resources External

Council for Exceptional Children
3100 Clarendon Blvd., Ste. 600
Arlington, VA 22201-5332
888-232-7733 toll-free
866-915-5000 TTY
[email protected]
www.cec.sped.org External

The DaSy Center
333 Ravenswood Ave., BS333
SRI International
Menlo Park, CA 94025
650-859-3881
https://dasycenter.org External

Envision Rehabilitation Center
610 N. Main St.
Wichita, KS 67203
316) 440-1600
866-319-4646 toll-free
316-425-7165 fax
[email protected]
www.envisionus.com External

Federation for Children with Special Needs
529 Main St., Ste. 1M3
Boston, MA 02129
617-236-7210
[email protected]
https://fcsn.org/ External

Getting Hired
1-866-352-7481 toll-free
www.gettinghired.com/en External

Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired
700 Elm St.
Winnetka, IL 60093-2554
847-446-8111
800-323-4238 toll-free
847-446-9916 fax
847-441-8111 TTY
[email protected]
www.hadley.edu External

HathiTrust
University of Michigan Library
1001 N. Buhr Building
200 Hill St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734-764-8016
[email protected]
www.hathitrust.org External

HEATH Resource Center at the National Youth Transitions Center
The George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development
2134 G St. NW, Ste. 308
Washington, D.C. 20052-0001
[email protected]
www.heath.gwu.edu External

IAAIS
1294 E. 1600 Rd.
Lawrence KS 66046
800-280-5325 toll-free
[email protected]
www.iaais.org External

Job Accommodation Network
PO Box 6080
Morgantown, WV 26506-6080
304-293-7186
800-526-7234 toll-free
877-781-9403 TTY
304-293-5407 fax
[email protected]
https://askjan.org External

Learning Ally
20 Roszel Rd.
Princeton, NJ 08540
800-221-4792 toll-free
[email protected]
www.learningally.org External

LibriVox
[email protected]
https://librivox.org External

Louisiana Center for the Blind
101 S. Trenton St.
Ruston, LA 71270
318-251-2891
800-234-4166 toll-free
318-251-0109 fax
[email protected]
www.louisianacenter.org External

National Association of Special Education Teachers
1250 Connecticut Ave. NW, Ste. 200
Washington DC 20036
800-754-4421 toll-free
[email protected]
www.naset.org External

National Association of State Directors of Special Education Inc. (NASDSE)
1800 Diagonal Rd., Ste. 600
Alexandria, VA 22314
703-519-3800
703-519-3808 fax
www.nasdse.org External

National Business and Disability Council at the Viscardi Center (NBDC)
201 I.U. Willets Rd.
Albertson, NY 11507
516-465-1400
[email protected]
www.viscardicenter.org External

National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)
141 Middle Neck Rd.
Sands Point, NY 11050
503-838-8754
503-838-8150 fax
[email protected]
https://nationaldb.org External

National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability (NCWD/Youth)
c/o Institute for Educational Leadership
4301 Connecticut Ave. NW, Ste. 100
Washington, DC 20008-2304
877-871-0744 toll free
877-871-0665 TTY toll free
www.ncwd-youth.info External

National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
200 E. Wells St. at Jernigan Pl.
Baltimore, MD 21230
410-659-9314
410-685-5653 fax
www.nfb.org External

NFB Newsline
200 E. Wells St.
at Jernigan Pl.
Baltimore, MD 21230
866-504-7300 toll-free
[email protected]
nfb.org/programs-services/nfb-newsline External

National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS)
1291 Taylor St. NW
Washington, DC 20542
202-707-5100
800-424-8567 toll-free
[email protected]
www.loc.gov/nls

The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT)
704-687-8606
[email protected]
www.transitionta.org External

Open Library
Internet Archive
300 Funston Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118
415-561-6767
415-840-0391 fax
https://openlibrary.org External

Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER)
8161 Normandale Blvd.
Bloomington, MN 55437
952-838-9000
800-537-2237 toll free
952-838-0199 fax
www.pacer.org External

Perkins School for the Blind
175 N. Beacon St.
Watertown, MA 02472
617-924-3434
[email protected]
www.perkins.org External

Project Gutenberg
809 N. 1500 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
[email protected]
www.gutenberg.org External

Social Security Administration
Office of Public Inquiries
1100 W. High Rise
6401 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21235
800-772-1213 toll-free
800-325-0778 toll-free TTY
www.ssa.gov External

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 W. Forty-Fifth St.
Austin, TX 78756
512-454-8631
800-872-5273 toll-free
512-206-9453 fax
www.tsbvi.edu External

University of Oklahoma: Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment
820 Van Vleet Oval, Rm. 100
Norman, OK 73019
405-325-1081
www.ou.edu/education/centers-and-partnerships/zarrow External

US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Bldg.
400 Maryland Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
800-421-3481 toll-free
800-877-8339 toll-free TDD
202-453-6012 fax
[email protected]
www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr External

US Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
400 Maryland Ave. SW
Washington, DC 20202
202-245-7468
www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers External

US Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section–NYA
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20530
202-307-0663
800-514-0301 toll-free
800-514-0383 toll-free TTY
www.justice.gov/crt External

VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center
Virginia Commonwealth University
1314 W. Main St.
Box 842011
Richmond, VA 23284-2011
[email protected]
https://vcurrtc.org External
http://www.viscardicenter.org External

Bibliography

Allman, Carol B. and Sandra Lewis, eds. ECC Essentials: Teaching the Expanded Core Curriculum to Students with Visual Impairments. New York: AFB Press, 2014. 285-312.

Begun, Wynne, Pamela Leconte, Richard C. Lombard, Debra Neubert, Patricia Sitlington, eds. Assess for Success: A Practitioner’s Handbook on Transition Assessment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2007.

Flexer, Robert W., Robert M. Baer, Pamela A. Luft, and Thomas A. Simmons. Transition Planning for Secondary Students with Disabilities. Boston: Pearson, 2013.

“Getting Ready for When Your Teen Reaches the Age of Majority: A Parent’s Guide.” Center for Parent Information and Resources, March 10, 2015. www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/age-of-majority-parentguide External.

Grigal, Meg, Joseph Madus, Lyman Dukes III, and Debra Hart. Navigating the Transition for High School to College for Students with Disabilities. New York: Routledge, 2018.

Karger, Joanne, and Chuck Hitchcock. Access to the General Curriculum for Students with Disabilities: A Brief Legal Interpretation. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum, 2003. http://aem.cast.org/about/publications/2003/ncac-curriculum-access-legal-interpretation.html External.

Kauffman, James M., Daniel P. Hallahan, and Paige Cullen Pullen, eds., Handbook of Special Education. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2017.

"Parental Rights under IDEA." Center for Parent Information and Resources, October 2017. www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/parental-rights External.

Sacks, Sharon Z. and Mary C. Zatta, eds. Keys to Educational Success: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities. New York: AFB Press, 2016.

Sasseen, Stephanie. “Helping Students with Visual Impairments.” Lendedu, April 17, 2020. https://lendedu.com/blog/visual-impairment-resources-for-students/ External.

Trief, Ellen. College Bound: A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments. 2nd ed. New York: AFB Press, 2016.

Wehman, Paul. Essentials of Transition Planning. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., 2011.


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