Transition to Adult

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This handbook is a guide to assist you identifying the various options that are available for your student. It will also be a tool in developing your student's Individualized Education and Transition Plans. Between the ages of 18-21 years, young adults with disabilities and their families must exchange the security of the school environment for a complex system of adult service programs. The federal, state and local agencies that support adults with disabilities each have very different sets of rules and requirements and, unlike the schools, are not mandated to serve all citizens. It is important to remember that while all students are entitled to a free appropriate education, access to adult services is based on eligibility and availability of funds.


IEP-Individualized Education Plan. Developed each year in the Annual Case Review with parents, teachers, and student. This plan outlines your student's goals and objectives for the upcoming school year.


ITP-Individualized Transition Plan. A part of the IEP developed annually once the student turns the age of 14. It guides the development of the special education and related services; the student will pursue a diploma or certificate of graduation.


Guardianship-When a student turns eighteen, he/she becomes his/her own legal guardian, unless contested by a parent. You should seek legal advice if you have questions.


BDD-Bureau of Development Disabilities. The BDDS assists eligible developmentally delayed individuals to receive the community and residential support needed for success. Contact your local office for eligibility requirements and do so early as there is a long waiting list.


VR-Vocational Rehabilitation. VR works with eligible individuals with disabilities to achieve their employment goals. Applicants must have a mental or physical impairment that substantially interferes with their ability to work. Students should apply to VR during their final two years of high school.  Medicaid-Provides coverage for persons of limited income and resources that require ongoing medical need.


Transition Planning Timeline

Early Childhood:

  • Enroll in First Steps program (0-3 years).
  • Help develop your student's first IEP (3 years +).
  • Look into SSDI/SSI/Medicaid/Respite Programs.
  • Develop behavior management strategies.
  • Create a file for medical information.
  • Get your student involved in the community.
  • Contact BDDS to get your student's name or waiver waiting lists. It can take up to 10 years for services.
  • Explore what options are available for your student's education: inclusion, resource, or combination.


  • Continue above list.
  • Attend every IEP meeting! This is where you will plan for your student’s future.
  • Explore residential options. Where will your student live after graduation?
  • Introduce the concept of work into everyday activities.
  • Use routines at home for self-care and daily living skills.
  • Make your child a productive part of the household by introducing chores and allowance.
  • Help student develop friendships and social skills at home.
  • Explore available opportunities at the upper grade levels and beyond.
  • Support the introduction of in class jobs at school.
  • Get involved in after school programs.

    Middle School:

  • Continue above lists.
  • Attend every IEP meeting!
  • Begin career exploration in school and in community. Job shadow, volunteer and participate in community service projects.
  • Support teacher’s efforts to provide job training as part of the school program, including jobs at schools.
  • Explore what options are available for your student’s education: inclusion, resource, or combinations.
  • Explore student’s community recreation and leisure interests. Get involved!

    Transition Planning Timeline

    Age 14:

  • Continue above lists.
  • Attend every IEP meeting. Transition planning begins. Help develop the ITP!
  • Research how funding sources can benefit your student. (SSI, Medicaid, etc.)
  • Find out about graduation requirements ISTEP/Pathways, Certificate).
  • Decide if student is on diploma or certificate track for high school graduation.
  • Expand career exploration.

    Age 15:

  • Continue above lists.
  • Attend every IEP meeting and continue to develop ITP!
  • Be sure class choices are appropriate; explore vocational training program.
  • Attend Transition Fairs and other educational opportunities that offer information about future planning needs such as residential, guardianship, employment, and recreational activities.
  • Continue to maintain medical and updated school psychological testing records.

    Age 16:

  • Continue above lists.
  • Attend every IEP meeting and continue to develop ITP!
  • Find and hold a part-time paid or volunteer job in the community.
  • Discuss how long the student will attend high school 4 years or through age 21.
  • Attend information meetings about future planning.
  • Make sure finances are in order.
  • Obtain Indiana State ID card at local License Branch.
  • Take Driver’s Education when appropriate.
  • Investigate guardianship or power of attorney procedures and determine student’s best interest.

    Age 17/Junior Year:

  • Continue above lists.
  • Attend every IEP meeting and continue to develop ITP!
  • Enroll in vocational classes if appropriate.
  • Establish graduation date.
  • Investigate post-secondary education options.
  • Discuss age of majority and transfer of rights to student at age 18.
  • Investigate guardianship procedures and determine student’s best interest.
  • Refer student to VR. Sign a Release of Information Form.
  • Investigate post high school living arrangements.

    Age 18/Senior Year:


  • Continue above lists.
  • Make necessary applications to colleges and other post-secondary institutions.
  • Re-apply for SSI and Medicaid.
  • Register to vote. Males register for selective service.
  • Transfer of rights to the student.
  • Establish legal guardianship or power of attorney, if necessary.
  • Review health insurance coverage: inform insurance carrier of student’s disability and investigate rider of continued eligibility.
  • Make sure school psychological testing/reevaluation is up to date.


    Age 19-21:

  • Continue above lists.
  • Monitor Vocational Education.
  • Contact post-secondary personnel.
  • Continue close contact with Adult Service Providers.
  • Ensure all necessary support services are ready to be provided immediately after graduation.

    Prior to Graduation/Secondary Education:

  • Make sure school psychological test is up to date.
  • Obtain any special testing records.
  • Contact VR.
  • Consult with High School Guidance counselor to get a thorough understanding how much support is necessary for success.
  • Make certain the college or vocational school you are interested in has support services.
  • Investigate post high school living arrangements.

Adult Service Providers

Income Support and Medical Services

Division of Family and Children's Services
201 E. Rudisill Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46806 (260)

Social Security Administration
5800 Fairfield Ave.
Fort Wayne, IN 46807
(260) 744-3280
(800) 772-1213

Vocational Services

Vocational Rehabilitation
219 W. Wayne St.
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
(260) 424-1595
TDD (260) 426-8905

Indiana Workforce Development
201 W. Rudisill Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46806
(260) 745-3555


Vocational/Residential Services

2628 S. Calhoun St.
Fort Wayne, IN 46807
(260) 744-6145

Bureau of Developmental
Disabilities (BDDS)
219 W. Wayne St.
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
(260) 423-2571

Eagle Employment Services
909 E. State Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
(260) 481-2828
(800) 481-2700 ext. 2828

Easter Seals ARC of Northeast IN
4919 Projects Dr.
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
(260) 482-8587

Goodwill Industries
1516 Magnavox Way
Fort Wayne, IN 46804
(260) 478-7617
(800) 666-2716

Your Friends and Neighbors
1515 Magnavox Way
Fort Wayne, IN 46804
(260) 459-1551

Other Services

First Call for Help
227 E Washington Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
(260) 426-4161

Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services
4701 Keystone Ave., Suite 222
Indianapolis, IN 46205
(800) 622-4845

League for the Blind and Disabled
5821 S. Anthony Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46816
(260) 441-0551

Park Center, Inc.
909 East State St.
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
(260) 481-2700
(866) 481-2700


Ball State University
Office of Disabled Student Development
Muncie, IN 47306
(765) 285-5293

International Business College
5699 Coventry Lane
Fort Wayne, IN 46808
(260) 459-4500

2101 Coliseum Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
(260) 481-6700

Indiana Business College
6413 N. Clinton
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
(260) 471-7667

Indiana Institute of Technology
1500 E. Washington Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46803
(260) 422-5561

Indiana Wesleyan University
8211 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN
(260) 436-7874

Ivy Tech State College
3800 N. Anthony Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 45805
(260) 484-9791

Brown Mackie College
3000 E. Coliseum Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46805
(260) 484-4400

Taylor University
1025 W. Rudisill Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46807
(260) 744-8600

University of St. Francis
2701 Spring St.
Fort Wayne, IN 46808
(260) 434-3100

Vincennes University
Admissions Office-GVH 72
Vincennes, IN 47591
(800) 742-9198

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