Make a Donation
  Follow us: Visit our Facebook page Visit our Twitter page Visit our YouTube page  
Toggle to Enable full Section 508 compliance
PEATC, Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center
Assisting families of children with special needs since 1978
Girl on horseback with many ribbons


"Dude Where's My Transition Plan" booklet cover Dude, Where's My Transition Plan
i'm determined Logo Virginia Department of Education Self-Determination Project
Virginia Intercommunity Transition Council Logo Virginia Inter-community Transition Council
Cover of the Soft Skills Publication: Soft Skills - to Pay the Bills.  Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)'s Soft Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success
TransitPlanning4All Community Transportation Association of America's Strengthening Inclusive Coordinated Transportation Partnerships to Promote Community Living

Transitioning to Adult Life

The NEXT STEPS needed to transition into adulthood.

The Arc's Center FREE Resources for FUTURE PLANNING

Learn about Decision-making options for people with DD

Understand the myths and limits of guardianship

Learn how to make, review, and adjust a decision-making plan throughout a person's life to maximize their ability to make their own decisions

DRS Transition Materials

DRS Transition Services Flyer
General marketing flyer for transition services for students, families, school staff, and community partners

Orientation To DRS Transition Services Video
This video has been developed for students, families or caregivers to give general information about DRS transition services including what to expect and their role in the VR process.

DRS Transition Services Guide
This 9-page Transition Guide was created for students, families, and community partners to explain the transition process and how to best access DRS. It covers topics such as referral, application, eligibility, services offered, suggested timeline, and frequently asked questions.

DRS Transition Sharepoint Site
A public site that can be viewed by anyone with an internet connection
Offers access to outreach and reference materials, DRS presentations, local cooperative agreements and more
Items of interest will be posted frequently and you're invited to suggest or share helpful tools and resources for posting.
NOTE: If you receive a log-in popup window just close it and you'll automatically be directed to the site.

Request Training

Bringing together all the elements needed for a successful transition for a youth with a disability can be a monumental effort. The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) in collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University - Rehabilitation Research Training Center is offering a webinar series for parents, students with disabilities, and the professionals who work with them.

All Webinars are Free. To view please click on the links below each webinar description.

Laying the Groundwork for Transition
Cathy Healy, Project Director, Katherine Wittig,Transition Specialist

Secondary transition has been characterized as an activity similar to "herding cats." As one aspect of transition is identified and addressed, three or more issues float to the top. Parents, transitioning youth, and special educators need clarification about transition, and how to go about planning for it while in the midst of it.

Katherine Wittig the VCU-T/TAC transition specialist will present the steps involved in developing measurable post secondary goals.

PEATC director of training, Cathy Healy will guide families and professionals in the foundations of transition and the importance of partnership development.

Using a case study the transition expert will lead the participants in the development of post secondary goals laying the groundwork for transition planning under the IDEA.

(Length 41:33 minutes)

Exploring the Future & Creating a Timeline
Katherine Wittig, Erica Lovelace

The Rehabilitation Act of the Workforce Investment Act is a component of secondary transition planning. Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) representatives want and need to be a part of the transition team but often feel like guests at the schoolroom door. Sometimes, it is the easy things that are the hardest. When should a teacher invite VR into the process and what is the role of the VR counselor?

Using a case study, a transition specialist and a VR counselor will walk through the process of identifying services and the timelines for accessing services. Information regarding the age of majority for students who are about to turn age 18 will be introduced.

(Length 43:33 minutes)

Challenging Tradition through Life Long Learning & Economic Empowerment
Michael Morris, Elizabeth Getzel

It has long been believed that life long learning belongs to a few academically gifted individuals. In a 21st century information economy, learning never ends. A two or four year college education is for most people the portal to life long learning, where students enrich themselves and grow networks of people with similar fields of interests and desires.

Surveys of parents and students with disabilities reflect a divergent view of life long learning and access to post secondary education. Findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS2)* of students with disabilities find that more than half of youth with disabilities expect that they will continue their education. Unfortunately less than a third of parents expect them to do so.

The importance of post secondary education cannot be denied - the higher the educational attainment is for an individual; the higher the annual income is. (USDOL) Emerging models of access to higher education by students with disabilities are challenging traditional thinking. Hand in hand with life long learning is the concern about economic security. About two thirds of students polled by the NLTS2 study believe that they will definitely be financially independent, yet less than a third of parents believe this will be true. Traditionally people with disabilities have been socialized to be dependent upon social security benefits. Unfortunately living in poverty is a requirement of being eligible for certain public benefits. Some of the tools and strategies that youth with disabilities and families can leverage to make economic security a reality will be discussed.

(Length 1:07:53sec)

From Segregated to Customized: The Shift to Personalized Employment
Laura Owens, Executive Director APSE

There is a shift occurring in the way we think about youth with disabilities and their futures. No longer directed into segregated facility based programs, today students with disabilities are dreaming of bright futures that include jobs. Employment goals are incorporated into Transition IEPs, but what is really involved in securing and retaining a job? Laura Owens, the executive director of APSE, the Network on Employment will provide an overview of options, policies and the strategies to support students with disabilities and their families prepare for employment.

(Length 48:34 minutes)

In Support of Supported Decision-making
Lisa Morgan

For some students with intellectual, developmental, and mental disabilities there is a move to gain legal guardianship over the individual when the young person reaches the age of majority. Other families are taking a less proactive stance and instead are engaging in an activity known as Supported Decision Making (SDM). "It is based on the principle that all individuals have a right to self-determination and respect for their autonomy, irrespective of disability." -Open Society Mental Health Initiative determination."

(Length 39:50 minutes)

Assistive Technology & Transition: Evaluation, Identification, & Acquisition
Dr. Joey Wallace

Assistive Technology has become the greatest equalizer for people with disabilities in accessing pathways to community living, employment, post secondary education and more. For students with disabilities and families it may not be clear who has responsibility for selecting, managing, and financing assistive technologies. Once a student leaves the confines of the protections of IDEA mandated services what happens to their AT needs? For some students, the only thing preventing successful transition is Assistive Technology.

(Length 29:40 minutes)

Opportunities Offered through Career Tech Ed
Domenic Giandomenico

Once known as vocational education, today's Career Technical Education programs are preparing students for 21st Century jobs. Green collar jobs will be an important part of the future workforce. Students with disabilities can find opportunities within Career Tech Ed. A recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce finds that "jobs requiring middle and high levels of education and skills will continue to dominate America’s economy. These jobs require at least a high school education; more likely, though, they require some level of postsecondary education and/or training, resulting in a two- or four-year degree, an industry-recognized credential, a certification, or some other terminal indication of mastery."

(Length 29:50 minutes)

Transition and the Arts: Tapping into Creative Opportunities (NEW)
Betty Siegal

Artistic career endeavors might not be the most realistic dream for a youth with a disability. Performing arts are at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the arts business world. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is a world leader in providing opportunities for young adults with disabilities. In an attempt to challenge industry leaders the Experiential Education Initiative (EEI) program was launched to develop inclusive opportunities in the arts. A young man with a disability discusses his experiences with the director of accessibility at the JFK Center for Performing Arts.

(Length 35:15 minutes)

Student Voice: The Transition to College
Liz Getzel

The transition from high school to college is challenging for all students. However students with disabilities once protected and supported by IDEA policy may be unaware of the challenges facing them once they enter higher education. Parents also have a new role to play when students with disabilities enter college. Support for students with disabilities on the college campus looks different, feels different, and must be asked for by the student not the parent. College students with disabilities coming into a new level of awareness report the strategies, successes, and the ways that they've learned to navigate higher education. The new website will be introduced.

(Length 55:32 minutes)

Marian Vessels, Director DBTAC: Mid-Atlantic ADA Center — Knowing what to disclose about a disability is as important as knowing when to disclose this personal information. Parents and transition professionals play a key role in preparing students with disabilities for this eventuality. Knowledge about key policies is only a part of the information youth with disabilities need to understand when talking self-disclosure and requesting accommodations.

(Length 39:36)

Don’t Leave School Without It-What’s in Your Wallet?

Stacey Milbern, Community Outreach Director, Ryan Pinion Director of Partnerships and Action, and intern Jessica Smith of the National Youth Leadership Network present youth perspectives on the important areas students with disabilities should be considering as they leave adolescence and enter adulthood. Choice without information is not really a choice. Community without access is really not community. Listen to how the National Youth Leadership Network is working to ensure that young people with disabilities enter adulthood fully prepared to navigate life.

(Length 39:23)

Guardianship – Rights, Risks, and Responsibilities

Sue Swenson, former Ex. Director, US Arc, and former Commissioner of Administration on Developmental Disabilities — Local school divisions must inform parents of the rights of youth with disabilities a full year before the student with a disability reaches the age of majority. State directives about guardianship, conservatorship, powers of attorney and other information are made available to families. However, families should understand the full responsibilities and risks associated with assuming guardianship of their children. Sue Swenson a parent and long time internationally renowned advocate outlines the questions parents should be asking prior to taking these steps.

(Length 39:53)

Parents As Essential Partners in Transition

Ann Turnbull, The Beach Center, Kansas University — Parents are looking for options for their young adult children with high support needs as they transition from high school to life. As partners with adult service providers parents can be the catalyst to ensure successful employment outcomes. But parents need help from service providers. They do not have access to evidence based practices found in professional journals nor do they have the time to devote to developing employment plans. Ann Turnbull from The Beach Center in Kansas University knows all too well the struggles parents of young adults with high support needs face in staring down convention and identifying alternative employment paths. Prevailing myths about the role parents play in supporting adult children’s work opportunities are explored.

(Length 42:26)

The New Ticket To Work Program - What’s in it for Young People

Sallie Rhodes, CESSI Ticket to Work Program Specialist — The Social Security Administration is serious about ensuring young people with disabilities have the option of embarking upon meaningful careers and life long self-sufficiency. The Ticket to Work program is one tool to support new job seekers. Learn how young people with disabilities can access the array of Social Security work incentive programs and how they can take advantage of the resources Ticket to Work employment networks provide.

(Length 33:01)

Universal Design for Learning-a Pathway for Lifelong Learning

Frances G. Smith, Ed.D.,CVE, Coordinator of Technology and Distance Learning VCU TTAC — Technology advances are opening doors for people with disabilities in ways never before imagined. Families and educators can learn how classroom accommodations may be transferred in the transition to post school life. Parents can leverage this information to help their transition age youth with disabilities embrace strategies to help them become life long learners.

(Length 39:30)

US Department of Education Logo The contents of this factsheet were developed under a grant from the US Department of Education, # H328M090002.
However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should
not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Project Officer, Lisa Gorove.

8003 Forbes Place, Suite 310
Springfield, VA 22151
703-923-0010 (phone)
800-869-6782 (toll free)

Copyright © 2020 PEATC - Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center. All rights reserved.

Content on this site was produced, in part, with grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education, under CFDA # 84.328M, #84.310A, and #84.235F. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Education, any other agency of the U.S. government, or any other source.

PEATC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to building positive futures for Virginia's children by working collaboratively with families, schools and communities in order to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life. Our special focus is children with disabilities. You can reach PEATC by calling 703-923-0010 (Voice/TTY), or sending an e-mail to

Celebrating 30 Years of Building Better Futures for Virginia's Children

Toggle to Enable full Section 508 compliance

Tested and Passed Section 508 Compatibility by PCCC on May 28th, 2013

Toggle to enable mobile site

Report broken links to