For children with disabilities, educators have the opportunity each year to engage the child and family in planning for the child's future. This opportunity is built into the IEP process as Step 1 Future Planning. Conversations and discussions about the future should be ongoing and occur outside of the context of a formal meeting. The IEP form is merely a place to document the thoughts, ideas, plans, visions, and processes that are discussed and identified for transition to adult life.
Educators and other school or agency personnel working with the child might change from year to year; however, child and family are the constant members of the IEP Team. As such, they bring the continuity of information about the child's preferences, interests, needs, and strengths. Children and families must be empowered to "own" their plans for the future, thereby facilitating seamless transitions from year to year and, eventually, to life as an adult.
Future Planning is always child centered and directed. Use the Step 3 Child Profile to describe the child as an individual including the child's preferences, interests, needs, and strengths. As the child moves from grade to grade getting closer to graduation, the plans for the future should become more specific to adult environments. By age 14, the child and his or her family will be ready to begin making informed decisions about high school courses for study and services needed for success in the transition to high school and beyond.
When Future Planning is an ongoing discussion throughout the years, the child, family and all members of the IEP Team should be confident that the Measurable Post Secondary Goals developed by age 14 are both realizable and visionary.
Last Modified: 10/11/2013 9:10:57 AM