Secondary Transition: Q & A

Education, Transition Services, and the IEP

Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) and the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP) are the vocational rehabilitation agencies for the state of Michigan. Adult agencies (or community agencies) vary from area to area.

  • Customized Employment (CE) is an approach to hiring, retention, and return to work that matches a job seeker’s strengths, the conditions under which they will be successful, and their interests to the needs of an employer. It can bring people from diverse populations, including those with disabilities, into the workplace to contribute their talents to meet critical business needs. CE utilizes an individualized approach to employment planning and job development — one person at a time and one employer at a time. The National Disability Institute has CE information and resources available.
  • Customized Employment is offered through MRS and BSBP. The agency collects data through the Discovery process and will determine the level of support an individual may need in employment. The agency decides what will be the best fit for the student going forward. If a student does not qualify for customized employment, then there are skilled building opportunities in the community.

Reference flow of service regarding the timeline for transition services. The Seamless Flow of Transition Services Document can be used as a reference for the timeline of transition services. This document can be used as a visual with the team as the student moves to a new program(s).

Planning for Competitive Integrated Employment

CIE is considered the first and foremost goal of employment for individuals with disabilities. Most definitions of CIE include the following components: 

  1. Working alongside people without disabilities
  2. Making commensurate wage and benefits as compared to individuals without disabilities
  3. Opportunities for advancement as compared to individuals without disabilities

This process can begin at any time. From a school perspective, the process ideally begins no later than age 14 when IEP teams begin preparing for developing an IEP transition plan by the age of 16. Vocational rehabilitation has put some time considerations in place to assist with billing, but since Discovery is a “process,” there are really no time limits – it is an ongoing process of gathering information to inform CIE plans.

Discovery should be conducted as a team and include observations and interviews by all school staff and staff from collaborative partners as well (e.g. MRS, BSBP, CMH). It may be helpful to establish a team lead to help the process move along smoothly, but it should not be done as a single person.

There are many resources available, including V3 Discovery, VCU on Discovery, and NTACT CIE Toolkit.

Interagency Coordination and Collaboration

Check out the alphabetical list and descriptions of agencies found in the Tools for Interagency Coordination and Collaboration, titled Michigan Community Resources Directory. Outside the basic agencies for helping students, such as MRS and CMH, you may need to get to know what is in your community. Consider organizing and holding a community conversation to learn more about who is in your neighborhood that can help with transitioning students (including local businesses, worship centers, and agencies).

In addition to the alphabetical directory, the Navigating Michigan Community Agencies document has more information about basic guidelines for assisting teams and navigating how and when to involve community agencies. This tool also has links to find the contact person in your area for START, schools, Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS), Michigan Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP), Community Mental Health (CMH), and other agencies.

Use technology to be efficient and save time:

  • Use Doodle, Survey Monkey, Google Forms, or other tools to help with scheduling and communication
  • Keep a spreadsheet of agency and business contacts
  • Use hybrid models for meetings (virtual and in-person options combined)
  • Invite several agencies to parent-teacher conference night to help parents get information (plan parent informational meetings at times/places where parents are already gathered)
  • Maintain good notes and put all communication in writing to be shared among team members (including action plans and to-do lists of who is doing what).

Empowering Students

Supported decision-making involves individuals with disabilities making decisions for themselves, and enlisting help in making important decisions when support is needed. Most people exercise supported decision-making when they feel it is appropriate and have the right to make their own decisions. Self-determination and self-advocacy are the primary aspects of supported decision-making and reaching greater independence. Self-determination involves self-awareness, problem-solving, and goal-setting. Self-advocacy is part of self-determination and involves knowing when you need help and the supports you need, and how to request assistance. Find out more at START’s Secondary Transition Supported Decision-Making.

The website I’m Determined is a great resource for individuals with disabilities or anyone interested in learning more about self-determination. The easy-to-use website has numerous resources, toolkits, templates, and an application for setting goals; defining strengths, preferences, interests, needs (SPIN); videos; and much more. For additional information, training, and resources on self-determination, go to the START Planning for Secondary Transition Supported Decision-Making page.

OCALI’s Overview of Social Skills Functioning provides information on why gaining social-emotional skills is linked to improved outcomes into adulthood and social skills intervention strategies that promote skill acquisition.

Independent Living

Planning for life after high school is important across the following domains: living arrangements, personal and health care, community living, transportation, and social and recreational living activities.

The revised Casey Life Skills is a free, comprehensive independent living skills toolkit that calculates scores in specific living domains including daily living, healthy relationships, work and study habits, accessing community resources, financial management, computer literacy, online safety, civic engagement, and navigating public systems. There are a number of recognized tools and a comprehensive assessment database at Transition TN. Users need to create a free login to access the database which allows filtering on assessment focus (e.g. strengths, interests, needs); assessment approach (e.g. task analysis, inventories, surveys); language (e.g. English, Arabic, French); completed by field (e.g. family member, student, an educator); and cost (e.g. yes or no)

The Columbia Regional Inclusive Services (CRIS Oregon) offers a free downloadable toolkit with excellent descriptions, downloadable checklists, targeting skills for growth, and more.

Page last modified June 13, 2022