Planning and implementing the transition from secondary school to independent adulthood should focus on equipping young adults with disabilities to manage and be responsible for their lives. Transition life plans which define the path a young person with a disability can follow toward this end are “person centered” and change as the experience and circumstances of the student change, but they always focus on helping the student become his or her own case manager and advocate.
While some people with disabilities may require more support than others, all transition plans should address how students with disabilities can get the information, skills, and experience they need. Service providers and family members involved in the transition process should focus on empowering students with disabilities to fully participate in the key decisions in their lives. To do this, they must help the student develop confidence and skill in expressing his or her needs, interests, and preferences. This entails helping students with disabilities find their own voices, not speaking for them.
The most effective transition plans are developed and implemented early and are fully supported by the student, the school, the family, and by community agencies. Effective transition plans address multiple areas of adult living: self-care, employment, education, and social participation, equipping students with disabilities to meet the detailed requirements of everyday living while enabling them to take responsible control of their lives.