Like other aspects of special education, transition planning comes with its own language. Some terms may be familiar, some may not. Here are some commonly used terms:

  • An IEP (Individualized Education Program) is developed by the IEP team to address the academic and functional needs of a child between the ages of 5-21with a disability.
  • Transition Planning is documented in a section of the IEP that describes the actions needed to help the student make a successful transition to adulthood.
  • Postsecondary refers to the time period just after high school. It’s generally used to describe additional education and/or training that a student might receive for a career, independent living and community participation.
  • The Maryland High School Diploma and the Maryland High School Certificate of Program Completion – In the state of Maryland, a child receives a diploma if she has completed all of the necessary requirements (course credits, student service, passing necessary state tests). Children receive a certificate if either: they have completed four years of school beyond grade 8 and have been determined by their IEP team to be ready to enter the world of work and to act as responsible citizens; or they will reach the age of 21 by the end of the current school year.
  • Exit Document – The Maryland Exit Document provides students with IEP information that may be helpful as they transition to postsecondary activities such as employment, college and training, supported employment, or independent living provided by community agencies. The Exit Document Fact Sheet includes meaningful information about the young adult’s skills, strengths, and needed supports. It can also be helpful when young adults with disabilities must apply for assistance or reasonable accommodations in postsecondary education, employment, or independent living settings.
  • Entitlement and Eligibility – In Maryland, a child who receives special education services is entitled to a free appropriate education through the school year in which he turns 21 (IDEA, 2004) or has met the requirements for a Maryland high school diploma or certificate. Once a student exits school, he must meet the eligibility criteria and funding must be available in order to receive assistance from adult service agencies. A young adult becomes eligible for adult services, but he is no longer guaranteed those services in the same way he was guaranteed his education through the age of 21 or upon receiving his diploma or certificate. Download Maryland’s Transition Planning Guide and refer to page 5 for more information on eligibility.
  • Adult Services – There are several State agencies that may provide or purchase services to enable the young adult to be as independent as possible. These agencies have very specific eligibility criteria.
  • Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) – Every state in the U.S. has a PTI, which helps provide training for parents of children with disabilities. The PTI for the state of Maryland is the Parents’ Place of Maryland.