WiTransition

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The following are frequently asked questions.

Who is the app for? Who designed it?

This app is intended to serve as a guide to Wisconsin students, family members, and educators during the transition planning process. It is based on the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA - http://tinyurl.com/jcvoaz3. As a Wisconsin student with a disability who may be turning 14 years or older, or a family member of a transition age student, this app can help prepare for the Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting where transition planning will be discussed and the Postsecondary Transition Plan (PTP) will be created. Individuals residing outside of Wisconsin may use this free app, but the information needed for transition plans in other states may be different.

This app was originally designed by the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, a non-profit organization. The app was adapted by the Transition Improvement Grant (TIG) staff and designed to meet transition planning needs in Wisconsin. The TIG is a discretionary grant of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (WDPI), aimed to improve transition planning in Wisconsin. For more information about TIG, please go to www.witig.org

What is a Postsecondary Transition Plan (PTP)?

A postsecondary transition plan, or PTP, helps the student move into adult life after high school. In Wisconsin, the school must develop a written PTP as part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) if the student is 14 or older. Having an effective PTP is important. It helps plan for the student’s goals after high school so that the right services and supports needed will be obtain to meet the students goals. A well written PTP can help achieve things like getting a job, training for a job, living independently and going to college.

The PTP must be about the student’s needs, wants, and goals. It should also include goals and timelines for IEP team members to follow. This will help to make sure progress is being made towards the student’s transition goals. Transition planning occurs as part of the IEP process within the PTP. Beginning at age 14 or younger, the student should be involved in discussing their transition planning wants and needs prior to the IEP team meeting. The IEP team writes the PTP during the IEP team meeting. The PTP is a legal part of the IEP and must be attached to the IEP the school sends to the student and family.

What is an Age Appropriate Transition Assessment?

Transition assessments help the student learn more about what they would like to do after high school. The teacher may ask about the student’s goals after high school and what they are good at. A teacher might ask family members and other teachers about the student’s skills and interests. The student might complete a career assessment on the computer, or try a few different jobs to see what skills, strengths and needs the student has in community employment settings. They may also take academic assessments to help prepare for college. The Postsecondary Transition Plan (PTP) must be based on at least one recent age-appropriate transition assessment.

What are Transition Services?

Transition services are a part of the PTP. They are activities completed while in school to help meet the student’s goals for after high school. These activities will help the student improve on skills needed to help get a job, keep a job, go to college and live independently.

Beginning the year a student turns 14, the IEP must explain the transition services needed for that student. A list of classes and supports the student needs to help prepare them to move to adult life must also be provided.

How long can transition services be provided through school?

Transition services are focused on the student’s needs, preferences and interests. Transition services start through transition planning by a student’s 14th birthday in Wisconsin. Depending on the services needed, students in Wisconsin can continue to get transition services through the end of the school year in which they turn 21. The IEP team must discuss the types of transition services needed and how long those services should be provided. Some guidelines for considering when a student will continue to have transition services after 12th grade are if a student:

(a) did not earn sufficient general education credits to obtain a regular diploma and is not planning to seek a GED or other alternative pathway to graduation; (b) has not fully achieved all IEP goals; (c) completed all requirements for graduation, but is still in need of such services to move on to the next steps related to her/his postsecondary goals (e.g. – going to college, entering a job training program, having a paid job that can be maintained with adult services).

What services are available from the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)?

The Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) program can provide many services and supports to help qualified students with disabilities move to adult life. DVR may pay for things like college classes, technical training, getting a job, developing new job skills, work-related items – such as tools, clothing, assistive technology … and so much more.

The IEP team will provide information on DVR services and may invite DVR to the IEP team meeting with parent/guardian or adult student consent. It is VERY important for the student and family to apply for DVR services and follow through with the responsibilities as a consumer of those services provided. Too often students and their family do not follow up with DVR. That means they lose out on receiving DVR’s great services that assist with supporting the student’s employment plan.

How to apply for the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) Services?

If the student wants to work and has a disability that makes it difficult for them to get or keep a job, they can apply for services with DVR. They will need to complete an application on-line. The student can get help from a family member, guardian, or teacher to complete the application. Once the application is filled out, it might take a little time to hear back from DVR. DVR will send the student a letter in the mail telling them the next step. Watch for this in the mail after the application has been submitted. To apply for DVR services, visit https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dvr/referral_request.htm and complete the online referral process or contact your local DVR office. If assistance is needed in finding the closest DVR office, visit https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dvr/locations/ or call 1-800-442-3477.

What can be expected when the student contacts the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)?

After applying for services, DVR will determine if they can provide services to the student through an eligibility determination process. The following must be true for the student to receive services:

1. The student has a physical or mental impairment,
2. The impairment is a substantial impediment to employment, and
3. The student needs DVR services to prepare for, secure, retain, or regain employment.

When the student is ready, DVR will provide a written plan to support job goals. Think of this plan as being similar to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) at school. The DVR plan has a similar name, but a different purpose. This written plan is called an “IPE” (Individual Plan for Employment). The IPE has specific job goals and the DVR services to help the student be successful in achieving their employment goal.

The student and the DVR counselor work together to write the IPE. Again, teamwork is important. The student and DVR counselor must keep in contact monthly and review the employment plan yearly. It must list dates, job goals, employment start date, needed DVR services, and student requirements for participation. The IPE lists services and who pays for them. DVR usually has 90 days to develop this plan. It is important to apply for DVR services two years prior to the student’s high school graduation date.

Will the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) staff be the ones to provide employment services?

DVR is the first agency the student meets with to begin their employment journey as they can help with preparing for a job. If the student qualifies, DVR helps pay for employment services, but DVR does not provide those services directly. Instead, DVR will provide options of different agencies that will help further the student’s skills in preparing for work, look at the job skills they already have, help match job skills to a job and help find and keep a job. It will be important for the student to call or meet often with their DVR Counselor and the agency that helped them find a job.

What is an outside agency?

An outside agency is an adult agency that will assign an employee to the student to help provide resources, services, and payment for transition services written in your postsecondary transition plan (PTP). Often times, the student needs to be found eligible for an outside agency to provide services, so it is important to work with the family and IEP team to find the agency supports needed.

What will change after high school?

After high school, the student has the right to reasonable accommodations at college and work under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A college or university may not discriminate against an individual solely based on disability. They must provide reasonable accommodations to the student’s known disability. These accommodations must give the student an equal opportunity to participate in the school’s programs, activities, and services. This includes everything from the classroom to extracurricular activities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act provide students with disabilities powerful protections from discrimination. For more information visit, https://www.ada.gov and/or http://tinyurl.com/j5kjkrt

A student must have a mental or physical impairment that:

* substantially limits one or more major life activities, or
* has a record of such impairment, or
* is regarded as having such impairment.

Below are a couple of examples of help a student may receive from a college:

* Free auxiliary aids (ex. taped texts, note takers, interpreters, closed captioning). http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/auxaids.html
* Modifications to participate and benefit from their education (ex. extra time, notes, specialized materials, audio books, special technology). There are limitations to your rights in college. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act only applies to schools that receive federal funds. Some schools do not receive financial aid or federal funding. Colleges do not have to modify class content or academic standards if it fundamentally alters their program. This simply means that colleges are not required to reduce their standards for grading or degree requirements because of a person’s disability. Colleges can request adequate medical documentation from the student that proves the need for the requested help and the connection to the student’s disabilities.

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) helps individuals with disabilities get accommodations on the job. As an employee the individual must be able to complete the job tasks expected on the job, however if the individual needs assistance to complete the tasks, they can ask the employer for a job accommodation or a change in their job that will help them complete the job duties requested. An employer does not need to provide the individual with exactly what they want, but does need to provide the individual with some type of accommodation to meet their needs on the job.

How can the student be an effective advocate with the IEP team?

The student should state what they want their goals to be and what they feel they need to meet those goals. Be clear. The only purpose of the IEP team is to come up with an education program for the student. That means it is all about the student’s needs. The student should give the IEP team examples of what they are asking for and how it will help them.

Remember that teamwork can help the student ask for what they want. Build strong relationships with IEP team members. The IEP team members have a lot of educational knowledge. The student is the expert about themselves. The student and their family members know the student’s needs and goals best. The student should respect school staff, but not be afraid to say what they want for their life.

Special education has many professional terms. These terms can be confusing and scary to students and parents. The student should ask the IEP team to explain any term they do not understand. Remember, no one on the IEP team knows the student’s needs, interests, likes, and goals better than the student and his or her family members.

Good transition planning requires the student and family to tell the IEP team the student’s long-term plans and goals after high school. The more the student shares their hopes and dreams with the IEP team, the better their transition goal will be.

Transition meetings must focus on what the student wants to do. It is about the student’s interests. The IEP team must listen to the student. Students may find it difficult to tell their interests, dreams, and hopes for their future to the entire IEP team. The family and student should work together to find the best way for the student to tell the IEP team what they want and need in order to move to adult life.

Here are some ideas for a student to get his or her points across to the IEP team:

* Complete the transition app survey. This provides the student with a written document. It is called the student’s “Draft Transition Plan.” The student should then share this plan with their IEP team. It contains their goals for education, training, employment and sometimes independent living after high school. It will detail recommended transition services to assist the student in reaching their goals. The student should ask for the services and things listed in the “Draft Transition Plan.”
* Write down goals for adult life prior to the IEP meeting. Share these with the team.
* Ask family members to help tell the IEP team the student’s goals.
* Self-advocate. The student should speak up for themselves in the IEP meetings. Again, no one knows the student better than the student does. The student may want to watch the Speak Up video at http://witig.org/youth-community

Start a Postsecondary Transition Plan (PTP)