Minnesota Transition Guide for Teachers of Deaf/Hard of Hearing
What is Secondary Transition?
Secondary Transition planning is a partnership between students with disabilities, their families, the school, higher education, training programs, employers and community service providers. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Minnesota Statute, transition planning from school to adult life begins, at the latest, during grade 9. Transition areas that must be addressed in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) include: Employment, Postsecondary Education/Training and Independent Living (Home Living, Community Participation, and Recreation/Leisure).
The secondary transition planning process is a part of the student's IEP. The process of secondary transition includes assessments, family and student involvement, interagency collaboration, and providing community experiences. Transition services includes planning for academic and non-academic courses and learning experiences, employment and related training opportunities, and independent living activities. Secondary transition planning should be a bridge from school programs to participation in opportunities of adult life.
Recognition of difficulties, combined with discouraging statistics on the employment rates of people with disabilities, led the federal government to mandate transition planning as part of the IEP. There are currently four federal laws (Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Rehabilitation Act-Section 504, Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act (ADAA) and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)) and several state statutes that address students with disabilities transitioning from high school to postsecondary environments of work and/or education.
What is Indicator 13 and Why is it Important?
In 2007, the Office of Special Education Programs required states to develop a comprehensive state plan on 20 specific indicators that measure outcomes. Indicator 13 measures the percent of youth with IEPs aged 16 and above with an IEP that includes appropriate measurable postsecondary goals that are annually updated and based upon an age-appropriate transition assessment, transition services, including courses of study, that will reasonably enable the student to meet those postsecondary goals, and annual IEP goals related to the student’s transition services needs. There also must be evidence that the student was invited to the IEP team meeting where transition services are to be discussed and evidence that, if appropriate, a representative of any participating agency was invited to the IEP team meeting with the prior consent of the parent or student who has reached the age of majority (age 18 in Minnesota). (20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)).
How is Indicator 13 Measured?
Minnesota uses the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) Indicator 13 Checklist Questions to monitor students’ IEPs. The questions are as follows:
- Are there appropriate measurable postsecondary goals in the areas of training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills?
- Are the postsecondary goals updated annually?
- Is there evidence that the measurable postsecondary goals were based on age- appropriate transition assessment(s)?
- Are there transition services in the IEP that will reasonably enable the student to meet his or her postsecondary goals?
- Do the transition services include courses of study that will reasonably enable the student to meet his or her postsecondary goals?
- Is (are) there annual IEP goal(s) related to the student’s transition services needs?
- Is there evidence that the student was invited to the IEP team meeting where transition services were discussed?
- If appropriate, is there evidence that a representative of any participating agency was invited to the IEP team meeting with the prior consent of the parent or student who has reached the age of majority?
Transition Needs of Students Who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing
Students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) are a diverse group whose needs vary from person to person. The most prevalent challenges depend on several factors:
- When the hearing loss was diagnosed
- When education began
- If there are other disabilities
- Communication system or language(s) used at home
- Degree of hearing loss
The primary needs specific to students who are D/HH are the ability to access information and to communicate with others. This can--and does--impact all areas of the student’s life, including learning, relationships, recreation, and vocation. There are several modes of communication that can be used with people who have a hearing loss. Schools in Minnesota are able to assist in determining communication needs, providing accommodations, and making modifications to assist the student in learning and developing to his or her greatest potential.
Communication skills for students who are D/HH can range from spoken, written and/or a signed formal language. It is imperative that all forms of communication used by a person who is D/HH are respected and that they are in environments that encourage both their expressive and receptive communication. This standard should also be used when planning for the future. What communication accommodations will provide the richest communication experience? What supports need to be in place to facilitate communication (such as interpreters, assistive listening devices, and other adaptive equipment)?