The MLO Minute: By, Dennis McAndrews, Esq.
On August 31, the United States Department of Education issued a policy statement on special education transition planning to all public school and charter school officials, together with vocational rehabilitation programs. This major statement emphasizes that while “recognizing that COVID-19 has resulted in students accessing educational services differently than in the past, whether it be virtually, in-person or a hybrid approach, the importance of the provision of transition and pre-employment transition services has not changed.” This policy statement encourages public educational agencies to “engage in innovative strategies, involving students and youth with disabilities and their families in the transition and pre-employment transition processes as early as possible”. (Click here for the August 31st, 2020 USDOE letter.)
The US DOE emphasizes that transition must involve “an outcome oriented process” in which schools work in collaboration with students and their families to provide “outreach efforts and the coordinated provision of services”. Notably, the policy statement emphasized that these transition services, which under federal law must involve community-based activities and measurable annual goals based upon relevant transition assessments, must be provided for all students with disabilities, “including those with the most significant disabilities”. Finally, Transition programs in students’ IEPs must present “meaningful opportunities to prepare for the transition from school…in order to further maximize independence in their communities, self-sufficiency, and prepare for competitive integrated employment”. This policy statement followed a comprehensive transition guide which was also recently released by the US DOE. (Click here for “A Transition Guide To Postsecondary Education and Employment For Students and Youth with Disabilities“.)
Our firm possesses the collective experience of over a century of special education advocacy, and has been a leader in pursuing meaningful, community-based, transition programs for students with disabilities for many years, and has advocated for hundreds of students with transition needs. Our initial consultation is without charge, and most of our cases are handled without fees paid by parents of children with disabilities.