Preparing for transition requires a team approach that includes the student, the parent/carer, relevant school personnel and other training, employment and community agencies as appropriate.
It is important to remain focused on the individual student. Every transition plan will reflect the unique needs of the individual and capture their current and future goals and aspirations.
It is vital for students to participate as fully as possible in all aspects of the transition planning process. In order to empower students to take more control over their transition, they should be explicitly taught the skills required. This may include teaching students to advocate for themselves, to voice their opinions and to participate in decision-making about their future.
Student-focused planning is an approach that gives students with disability control over their planning for life after school. This approach brings together family, friends and others who support the student with disability to assist in creating a vision for the future. This type of planning supports the development of self-determination skills.
Supporting students to develop goals based on their skills and abilities, planning to achieve those goals and evaluating outcomes assists young people to develop self-determination skills. For students to develop the skills to set, meet and evaluate their progress towards goals, they require the ability to navigate the challenges they will face along the way. This includes the ability to seek support from others when required.
Parental involvement is vital, and has one of the most significant impacts on successful post-school outcomes for students with disability. Empowering students and their families to participate in decision-making and transition planning processes is a key component of post-school success.
In the early transition planning phase, the student and parent should work together to identify likes/dislikes, interests, hopes and dreams. It is important to note that the transition phase for parents/carers may be a stressful one, as the challenges brought by planning to transition from school can have a big impact on family life.
Opportunities provided by schools for families to become more informed about the transition process include:
- school or cluster information sessions on a range of transition issues, e.g. employment supports, disability funding options, Vocational Education and Training (VET), parent advocacy and self-determination training, the Public Trustee, Centrelink and other agency information
- visits to training and employment providers, universities and other post-school agencies
- meetings with the guidance officer or school transition officer to explore career awareness and assessment
- attendance at career and post-school options EXPOs.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will provide young people and their families/carers with greater choice on the types and ways support is provided. Families/carers will require support and information during this important transition as they begin to engage with new processes for accessing support. The NDIS website has resources and information for young people with disability and their families about access requirements, and the processes for planning and managing supports.