Caution! Don’t Let the Transition Plan Fail Your Child

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My daughter has autism. Her goal is to get a college degree, not a specific kind of high school diploma.

Her high school told us she did not need a regular diploma to get a degree at our local community college.

The registrar at a local college said she cannot receive any type of certificate from any state funded college with a special education diploma.

If this is correct, the transition plan we put in place four years ago failed her.

Should I pull her out of school, homeschool, and work with her to pass a GED test?

Is that an acceptable diploma for higher education system? Will she be able to get a degree at any college with those diplomas?

You won’t have an answer to your questions until you do your research.

You will more than likely find the answers on the website for your local community college.  I searched websites for number of schools and found the information you asked about.

What Type of Diploma Does the College Require?

The schools I reviewed do not require a regular high school diploma. Your high school may have given you incorrect or incomplete information.

Some college websites indicate they do require a GED for students who do not have a regular high school diploma.

This may or may not agree with what you assumed about the entrance requirements.

Find out directly from the college what the entrance requirements are.

Learn Your State GED Information

Search the website or call your state Department of Education for GED information.

Use the state DOE directory on the Yellow Pages for Kids.

For example: The information on obtaining a High School Equivalency (formerly GED) in Nevada is here:

Find out what is included in the HSE / GED. If you are concerned she will have difficulty in some areas, find out if that is on the test in your state. What kind of math? Algebra? Algebra questions? Science?

Most states offer free study classes.

Some study centers require you to pass a pre-test before you can register to take the GED.

In our Nevada example, I learned that about half of the questions on the pre-test for math are algebra questions.

Check your state!

Review the IEP and Transition Plan

It may be that the IEP team has a misunderstanding about the wording in your daughter’s IEP. Your daughter may actually have the skills to pass the GED with her special ed diploma.

Take a look at your daughter’s IEP and transition plan.

  • Be sure you are clear of what the goal of her IEP is, as it is written.
  • Are her transition goals appropriate?
  • Has the school failed to provide what is required in the IEP?

Even if the IEP does not require more than has been provided, maybe it should.

You might want to contact an attorney in your state and ask these same questions.

An attorney who specializes in special education and represents parents in special education cases can help answer your questions.

  1. I know plenty of students graduating w/ a modified diploma (not a standard or advance) from VA, that r in college (community and 4 yr), including my daughter.
    You need to know what each college accepts that u r looking at.
    My child stayed in HS till she achieved the standard diploma on her IEP.

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