After three years together, many of my fantastic students are transitioning to high school this year. When I think about them moving on, I am incredibly emotional as they have grown so much over the past three years and I am really going to miss them! But before I can sit down and have a good cry about their departure, I must complete something called a transition plan for all my students.
With the introduction of PPM 156 in 2014, a transition plan is now required for all students who have an IEP, whether or not they have been identified. Transition plans are often embedded within the IEP and are reviewed as part of the IEP review process. Transition plans can be made for in class, grade to grade or school to school transitions. In some circumstances, the board may decide to create a transition plan for a student without an IEP but who is receiving Special Education supports. In addition, PPM 140 outlines the mandatory use of ABA methods to support students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in all aspects of school including transitions.
PPM 156 outlines what must be included in Transition Plans. They must include: goals, support needs, the actions required to achieve the goals, roles and responsibilities, and timelines. The aim is to have students develop independence skills so that they can be successful in moving through their school career in Ontario. Below are some examples of transition goals I have used for students in the past.
Goal: Student will independently transition between activities within the school day.
The actions required to achieve the goals: Student will use anxiety reducing choice board when feeling overwhelmed during transitions.
Roles and Responsibilities: Teacher and Educational Assistants will develop choice board in consultation with the student. Teacher and Educational Assistants will support student in identifying times in the day when the choice board will be beneficial.
Timelines: Choice board created in September. Used as needed throughout the school year.
Goal: Student will transition to a new school
The action required to achieve the goal: Student will receive a social story about their new school.
Roles and Responsibilities: Teacher and Educational Assistants will review the social story in class with the student. Parents will review the social story over the summer prior to the transition to a new school.
Timelines: Prior to the transition.
According to PPM 156, transition meetings are not a mandatory part of the process of transitioning between schools. However, if you are able to arrange to meet with teachers who have taught your students at another school or who will be teaching them in the future, it is very beneficial. In the past two years, I have presented my students to high schools and I have attended many presentations for my incoming students. These presentations are very beneficial because they allow time for questions and discussion about how to best support the student’s needs. If you have never presented a student at a transition meeting before, here is some information that I highlight:
- Background information: name, date of birth, IPRC identification, language(s) spoken at home
- Supports: Information about any support being provided in or out of school such as Speech and Language Support, Occupational Therapy, Behaviour Therapy etc..
- Student’s Strengths and Needs
- Medical Information: medication that the student takes, allergies, special equipment that they use.
- Communication: verbal, assistive device, augmentative communication etc.. Also, what kind of supports they have to support their understanding in the classroom such as visual schedules, social stories, choice boards, independent work system bins.
- Interests, Motivators, Reinforcements, Dislikes
- Literacy and Numeracy Skills: letter, word and number recognition, ability to write and recognize personal information such as phone number and address.
- Assistive Technology: Boardmaker, Clicker 5 or 6, iPad, touch screen, wireless mouse, SMARTBoard.
- Mobility: outline support needed for student to move around the classroom and school such as adult assistance or a walker.
- Behaviour: Outline any physical aggression or challenges with self-regulation.
- Personal Care: level of independence with eating, dressing and toileting.
- Transportation: requirement of a travel assistant or harness to successfully ride a bus to school.
Niagara Catholic District School Board created a great resource to support with transition planning. There are many great examples of transition plans in this resource and is a great tool to use if you have never written a transition plan before.
A group of school boards collaborated on a one page support guide for educators about writing transition plans.
The Ministry of Education has created a resource that is an overview of Special Education in Ontario.