Transition planning must begin by the first IEP held after the student reaches age 16 or earlier if appropriate for the student. [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(VII); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.320(b).] It is important to begin the transition process when students are younger than 16 to ensure enough time to plan for and receive effective services. It is particularly important for students with significant disabilities and those at risk of dropping out of school.
Transition planning can occur at a combined IEP and ITP meeting or it can occur in a separate meeting. When a combined ITP/IEP meeting is held, transition planning should occur first and discussed as a component of the IEP. A separate transition planning IEP meeting can be beneficial because it allows more time to focus on the student’s desires and preferences. The ITP can be incorporated into the student’s existing IEP at that meeting.
No matter which method of planning is used, transition objectives, goals and activities should be identified and included in a student’s IEP. All assessment and IEP procedural requirements must be followed by the school district in the development of an ITP.