Transition: WEAK TRANSITION GOALS ARE NOT MEASURABLE

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Jenifer: My son is graduating from high school in June. Somebody who knows special ed thinks his goals are very weak and not leading him to be job ready or employable. His transition goals in the 18 plus program are very vague. One states that he will work toward job placement. It only has a goal and not objective. His teacher told me today that his transition goals don’t have to have objectives. They’re not even measurable and don’t include his present levels. Is that right?

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Kaycee

I’ve encountered this recently as well. Sounds like ‘transition’ is just a box they’re checking off out of obligation, and not a meaningful planning tool and conversation, as it should be. If they’re written in such a vague way, what is the purpose? Seems to me the law insists the school take action in preparing them for the next step, and the IEP should clarify and ensure the strategies or approaches that do so. At the very least, the annual goal should be measurable. Present levels might just list current expectations, input from parents and student, and the skills or action steps that should be taught to achieve the goal.

Sharon L.

Is it possible to get the person who helped you with this to go with you to the IEP meeting or find another professional to help. This is the best way to deal with this but it is very difficult. We had a similar problem with my son.

Jill G

Goals (transition or otherwise) don’t necessarily have to have objectives, if they’re written as measurable on their own (unless state law requires it). And a few un-measurable goals don’t necessarily mean your child isn’t prepared for life after school.

But let’s assume that you feel your child isn’t prepared. What can you do? If your son is graduating because he’s otherwise met graduation requirements, you can ask to postpone his graduation. If this is where you’re at, I suggest that you ask the Team to meet asap. Explain your concerns, and state that you disagree with the school’s proposal to end his special education eligibility (i.e his graduation) – follow up this request in writing. Ask for transition-related assessments in the areas of your/his concerns, and use the results develop appropriate goals and transition-related services.

If he is “aging out” of special education, you’re do have less options. I’m in Massachusetts and parents in my state have been successful in gaining services beyond eligibility through due process hearings, but I don’t know how successful this has been in other states.

If you’re in either category, or not sure where you’re at, I suggest that you connect with your local parent center (http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/).