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Transition. Going from here to there. Making changes. It’s what everyone does all the time. And the word is especially meaningful for parents – how will my child make the transition to adulthood, to independence, to a happy and fulfilling life? If your child has a disability, these questions may have even greater significance. The good news is that transition planning is a team effort of you, your child, your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team, health care providers, and other service providers in the community. If your son or daughter has a disability, Transition Planning and Services are a federally required part of your child’s public education. What is the goal of Transition Planning and Services? It’s simple. From wherever your child is today to an adult life of learning, meaningful work, friends and a role in the community… in other words, what we all want for all of our children.



For a comprehensive list of activities you can do with your elementary and/or middle school child to help them prepare for transition, use our K-8 Career Explorer Tool.


While this part of Maryland Learning Links includes sections for children and for educators, it is primarily meant to provide parents with the information they need to support the successful transition of their children to adulthood. It’s filled with real-world practical information and tools like our K-8 Career Explorer Tool [link] and several timelines that can help you better understand and make the most of Transition Planning and Services, no matter where your child is in the process. You will also find a wealth of resources on the subject of transition planning so that you will be connected to useful information beyond this site.


Some of the big ideas presented here include:

  • The importance of self-determination and self-advocacy – The more your child can know and do what is best for himself and share this information with others, the more likely he will have a successful transition to adulthood.
  • Transition is more than getting a job after high school – Transition planning is meant to help your child get a job, but it’s also about helping your child prepare for and select postsecondary education and training … and to improve his personal, social and daily living skills—all key components of adulthood.
  • Every aspect of the transition planning process should be built around your child’s strengths and interests – Transition is different for every single child, so your child’s Transition Planning and Services must be tailored to his or her goals for employment, postsecondary education and training, and other aspects of adulthood.
  • Knowledge is power – The more you know about your child’s strengths, interests and preferences, your child’s school, the laws that are the basis of special education/transition planning services, the better you can help your child achieve the future she desires.
  • You must be proactive – Every school system is deeply invested in its students, but no one is as invested in your child’s future as you are; your child needs you to be involved throughout the special education process, including transition planning for future employment, education and independent living. By thinking and acting proactively, you may find resources and solutions before other Individualized Education Program (IEP) team members.
  • Transition is all about teamwork – While you will always be your child’s greatest champion, transition planning is most successful when it’s a team effort; the team of course, includes you and your child, but it also includes your child’s teachers and other school staff, medical personnel and therapists and other service providers in the community.


You remain the single biggest influence in your child’s life—even when he or she is in high school.

Transition planning is all about tapping your child’s potential and helping him or her prepare for the most meaningful life possible.

Anne Arundel Medical Center has joined Project Search, a national job development program for students with disabilities.  The Center offers supported positions to several students each year.  Click here to read more about the program in the Baltimore Sun.


ActionPACT Series
This three part series focuses on student portfolios and provides critical information to support students as they reach key milestones in transition: elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, and high school to post-secondary experiences. Click the titles below to learn more.

The Purpose and Types of Portfolios for Students with Disabilities

The Digital Portfolio in Secondary Transition Planning

Constructing an Effective Secondary Transition Digital Portfolio

Accredited Online Colleges

Accredited Online Colleges offers information about a variety of online and offline paths student can take to further their education.  They also provide resources about accommodations for students with disabilities. Click here for details.

Why Not Work?

Click here to meet Neil Christopher of Acadia Windows and Doors, and to watch a heartwarming story of a company that offers opportunities to people with disabilities. 

Maryland Youth Leadership Forum/Independence Now identifies high school students with disabilities who have demonstrated qualities of leadership potential, academic success, and involvement in their school community.  These students attend a four-day seminar on a college campus to provide them with training, role models and mentors.


Maryland Transitioning Youth is a state website designed to help families and caregivers of children with disabilities find information about transition planning, post-secondary education and employment services. Check it out!