Ask the Experts

What Is a Transition IEP Meeting?

“My son is a high school student with ADHD and LD. He has an IEP and his school wants him to attend a “transition IEP meeting.” What is that? He hasn’t attended his IEP meetings in the past, and I am not sure whether he should do so now, since he isn’t really comfortable having an IEP.”

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) contains extensive provisions about what should happen as students get ready to graduate from high school. This process, called transition, should begin with the IEP meeting that will be held when the student turns 16, although some states schedule the meeting at a younger age. The school is required to invite the student, and, if he doesn’t attend, the school needs to take steps to ensure that his “preferences and interests are considered.” (Students who have Section 504 Plans are not entitled to transition services, since that law does not mention transition.)

Transition meetings should address the student’s plans after high school, look at whether his coursework is on track for graduation, and review services he will need to be ready for college or the workplace (driver’s education, financial literacy, and foreign language credits). If your son doesn’t like having an IEP, this might be the time to get him more involved. He will need to understand his challenges — and recognize his strengths — to advocate for himself once he graduates.