(Note: This is an expanded section of the article, " Supporting Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders through Postsecondary Transition", contributed by Anna Merrill.
The main article can be found at: https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/supporting-youth-with-autism-spectrum-disorders-through-postsecondary-transition)
Tips for Writing Transition IEP Goals
Contributed by Anna Merrill, Graduate Assistant
One of the most important things to remember when thinking about the transition of a student with ASD is to consider the ultimate goal and how you are preparing that student for achieving that goal. One way in which the public education system has ensured that schools support transition is through the creation of transition goals for students within the Individual Education Program (IEP). Federal legislation requires that no later than when the child turns 16 (although age requirements vary by state) the IEP must include:
1) Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and where appropriate, independent living skills; and
2) The transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals.
Tip 1: Talk to the Student
When the IEP team begins formulating the transition goals the first step is always to ask the student! It may seem obvious, but sometimes teams can forget that the goals should be based on the dreams of the student - not their teachers or parents. Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask a student regarding employment, postsecondary education, and independent living.
• What kind of work would you like to do?
• What kind of training will you need for that work?
• What kind of environment would you enjoy working in?
• Will you need any supports on the job?
• Are you interested in pursuing higher education after you leave high school?
• Have you investigated what types of colleges or universities would match your interests/needs/environment?
• What supports will you need to succeed in a postsecondary academic environment?
• Where would you like to live (with your family, on your own, with a friend)?
• What kind of skills will need to make it happen (cooking, cleaning, using transportation)?
• How will you take care of your health needs?
• How will you manage financially?
Tip 2: Draft Some Goals as a Team
Once you have gathered information from the student and have a clear picture on the vision for their future it is time to start actually writing goals. The goal does not need to be perfect the first time you write it. The entire IEP team should be involved in crafting some goals that can then be reviewed by the team and revised. Once the team has a list of goals consider the following questions as you revise:
• Can the goals be measured?
• Are the goals written to take place after the student graduates from school?
• Are there annual IEP goals that reasonably enable the student to meet the postsecondary goal (s) or make progress
toward meeting the goal (s)?
• Are there transition services in the IEP that focus on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child to facilitate his or her movement from school to post-school?
Tip 3: Finalize the Goals and Match Them to Transition Services
Once the team has developed IEP goals that everyone is confident reflects the postsecondary goals of the student it is important to address what services will be needed to support that student meeting their goals. Consider the table below as a guide for what this might look like.