Transition services in school: What is required by IDEA law and regulations?

TRANSITION SERVICES [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1401(34)]
Transition Services means a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability designed within a results-oriented process that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. The coordinated set of activities is based on each student’s needs, taking into account the student’s strengths, preferences and interests, and includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, the acquisition of daily living skills and provision of a functional vocational evaluation.

How this might be done for your high school age child with disabilities

Ask that a transition assessment be performed to determine her current strengths, preferences, and interests. Have a discussion of those results at the IEP meeting. The coordinated services mentioned above can be provided by anyone, for instance, several of my daughter’s were provided by us, her parents. Depending on the age of your child, strengths, preferences, and interests should be driving course and program choices. Teachers (and parents and anyone else) can find information at the National Technical Assistance Center for Transition, NTACT. NTACT Website
Some districts choose to use a class setting to do many assessments and career awareness stuff, but that is not a federal requirement! If your child has to miss time with a therapist or specialized instruction because a transition “class” has to fit in the schedule, you probably need to find another solution. These are often classes that waste a lot of time, time that kids with disabilities don’t always have.