The IEP meetings are crucial for not only diploma planning, but also for transition planning and career preparation. Good transition goals in the IEP (which are critical years prior to high school graduation) can include workplace experiences that help students learn about employment settings and vocational opportunities and specific plans for developing self-determination skills. IDEA requires that in addition to parents, the student, and school personnel, the other agency representatives that are likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services must participate in the meetings. Outside agency representatives may include: vocational rehabilitation counselors, county social workers, secondary education or technical center staff, independent living center staff etc.
If your son or daughter cannot attend a college or university, consider enrolling him or her in one of Florida’s local technical centers. Technical centers have a variety of vocational/technical training programs for standard and special diploma students, career preparation workshops, and apprenticeship programs. The PASS program at the FL Atlantic Technical Center, for example, is a transition employment program for 18 to 22 year old students with disabilities. Other opportunities for community based employment and internship opportunities for your teenager include: Project SEARCH, STEPS (see Special Needs Section) or the Florida High School/High Tech (HS/HT) Program.