Transition to Adult Life

Image of Transition Resources CD Transition to Adulthood

A comprehensive resource guide to
Transition to Adulthood.

SPAN has compiled this information in collaboration with:

NJ Department of Health and Senior Services
Family WRAP
Academies @ Englewood
NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities
Champions for Progress

SPANís Transition from School to Adult Life project, funded by the IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey, provides technical assistance to families and professionals throughout New Jersey regarding federal and state transition requirements for youth with disabilities as they enter into the school year in which they turn 14.  Telephone technical assistance is provided to families throughout the year, and direct customized assistance to families of youth with special health care needs, in particular, youth with HIV/AIDS status and youth served within the foster care system can be provided when the situation warrants more intense support. Workshops are conducted for parents and professionals on a regional basis and cover topics such as Basic Rights in Transition, Transition into College, and Transition into Employment.  Several Transition Teleconferences are provided each year and are recorded so families/professionals can access information at times convenient to them.

What is transition?

Transition is the process that prepares students for adult life after high school. Starting at age 14 (by the day your child turns 14) there needs to be a statement of transition service needs. This is the long-range educational plan that ensures students take the appropriate classes in high school. It prepares them either for college or for the world of work, depending on the interests and wishes of the student and his/her parents.

There must be a transition statement (long range goal) in the IEP, based on the studentís preference, and it must take into consideration the studentís needs and desires. In other words, the IEP should now focus on what your child wants in adult life. Starting at age 16, or younger if appropriate, there needs to be a statement of needed transition services.

This is a much broader plan and includes areas of instruction, employment, community experiences, post-school adult living, related services, and if appropriate, daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation. At least one year prior to turning 18, the IEP must address that your son or daughter will reach the age of majority and begin making IEP decisions for him/herself. Transition is based on long-range outcomes, not annual goals.

It is critical to start with transition planning at the beginning of the IEP when a student is 14 or older. Transition should become the strategy that guides the rest of the IEP. Students are required to be invited to their IEP meeting if transition will be discussed.

To read the "On Point" article from the
National Institute for Urban School Development, entitled,
 On Transition Services for Youth with Disabilities,

This video explains to young people with medical conditions or disabilities the importance of taking care of their health as they transition into adulthood and take responsibility for themselves. Includes information on taking medicines, talking with doctors, carrying an emergency health information card, keeping a health care notebook, paying for health care, going to college and planning for accommodations, eating the right foods, exercising and more. 
For more information visit this link: 


Guidelines for Transition: Basic Stuff to Know!

Why is Transition So Important?

Transition - Terms and Concepts

For more information on Transition to Adult Life, contact Alice Hunnicutt at (973) 642-8100, or send email to