Transition Planning for Students Reaching Age 16
As students get older and prepare to enter the Senior Years (high school), there is a need to identify what their hopes and dreams are for the future, and to begin to plan for the next phase in their life after school. This is a time for families to discuss and outline realistic plans for the future, taking into consideration the child’s and parents’ preferences for living and work options, training or educational opportunities, and recreational needs.
Transition planning often begins at school because that is where students spend the day and have individuals or a team of people who know them. To work towards a successful and smooth transition to adult life, planning needs to expand to include other pars of students’ lives. This is a time for the student, parents, and school team to begin the following steps in transition planning:
Identify the student’s strengths, abilities, skills, interests, and needs.
Identify programs that may be available to address the student’s individual needs.
Explore the availability of and requirements for post-secondary education, vocational training, and employment (including supportive work options)
independent or supported living options
leisure or social opportunities
Develop a person-centred plan for leaving school, based on the student’s individual needs and desires.
In Manitoba, transition planning for students with special needs should begin by at least age 16.
Students, parents, the school, support services workers, and others develop a written plan that outlines roles and responsibilities, timelines, and actions to be taken before students leave high school.
The guidelines are outlined in Manitoba Transition Planning Process Support Guidelines for Students with Special Needs Reaching Age 16.
Students with special needs require more intensive and coordinated planning than most high school students to enable them to make a successful transition when leaving school. The following checklist may help you and your child plan for important transitions in your child’s life.
Ask for a meeting with your child’s team to begin transition planning. At this meeting, discuss the supports currently in place for your child and some of the new or adult-focused supports that will be needed.
Plan Ahead and Work Together
In planning during this stage of your child’s life, begin with a clear understanding of:
who your child is and where he or she wants to be
what supports and services are available or need to be available
what actions need to be taken to achieve the transition plan
Ask yourself some questions.
What are your child’s strengths and needs?
What do you see your child doing in four or five years?
Where does your child see himself or herself?
Do you and your child have enough information to make decisions?
Do you need to investigate what opportunities or options are available?
Are there some specific skills your child needs to focus on to be as independent as possible?
Talk to your child’s teacher or other family or community support workers to assist you in the transition process. Gather information from various sources, such as the following:
Children’s Special Services
The Society for Manitobans with Disabilities (SMD)
Supported Living Programs
Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Employment and Income Assistance
Office of the Vulnerable Persons’ Commissioner
Regional Health Authority
For More Information
To find out more about the Healthy Child Manitoba protocols, talk to your child’s classroom teacher or resource teacher or visit the Department’s Special Education website: