Transition Planning - An Overview

Transition Planning: what is it?

Transition planning refers to the intentional and systematic process of preparing individuals with disabilities for the challenges and opportunities they may encounter as they move from adolescence to adulthood. It aims to empower these young individuals to achieve their personal goals, lead independent lives, and actively participate in their communities. Transition planning involves collaboration among the youth, their families, educators, healthcare professionals, and other relevant stakeholders.


Transition Planning Focus Areas

Vocational rehabilitation plays a crucial role in equipping individuals with disabilities with the skills and support needed to enter the workforce. It involves assessing their strengths, interests, and abilities, providing vocational training, and connecting them with suitable employment opportunities.

In addition to employment, post-secondary training and education are essential components of transition planning. This involves exploring educational options beyond high school, such as college, vocational schools, or specialized training programs, to enhance their knowledge and qualifications for future career paths.

Independent living skills are another vital aspect of transition planning, aiming to empower individuals with disabilities to live as independently as possible. These skills may include managing finances, cooking, cleaning, personal care, transportation, and navigating the community.

Finally, community participation is encouraged to foster social integration and meaningful engagement with others. This can involve involvement in recreational activities, joining community organizations, volunteering, and cultivating relationships to establish a sense of belonging and purpose.


Record keeping plays a pivotal role in maintaining accurate and up-to-date medical information. This includes keeping track of medical histories, diagnoses, medications, and treatment plans.

Organizing and maintaining home files is also important, as it allows individuals and their families to easily access and share pertinent medical documents and records with healthcare providers.

Understanding financial options is crucial for navigating the complexities of healthcare expenses. Exploring insurance coverage, government assistance programs, and other financial resources can help ensure that individuals have access to necessary healthcare services without undue financial burden.

Lastly, managing one’s money is an essential skill for individuals transitioning to adulthood. This includes budgeting, tracking expenses, and understanding financial responsibilities.

Guardianship, Conservatorship & Alternatives

Turning 18 typically marks the legal age of adulthood, and individuals with disabilities may experience changes in their legal rights and responsibilities. Guardianship is a legal arrangement where a court appoints a guardian to make decisions on behalf of an individual who is deemed unable to make informed decisions for themselves. Conservatorship, on the other hand, involves a court-appointed person managing the financial affairs of an individual who is unable to do so independently. These options are often pursued when it is determined that a disabled individual lacks the capacity to make decisions or manage their affairs. However, it’s essential to explore alternatives to guardianship and conservatorship that prioritize autonomy and self-determination. Supported decision-making, for instance, involves a collaborative approach where individuals receive assistance and guidance from trusted supporters to make informed choices. Person-centered planning is another alternative that emphasizes individual preferences, goals, and desires when creating a plan for future decision-making and support.

It is crucial to understand the laws related to individuals with disabilities, as they can affect rights related to education, employment, healthcare, housing, and accessibility. Transition planning should include a comprehensive understanding of these legal frameworks to ensure that disabled youth receive appropriate support and advocacy as they navigate the transition to adulthood.