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Division of Special Education

  • Students and Parents

    Transition is the lifelong process of individual evolution, growth and development. Transition is a part of our lives from birth through adult life. DOTS focuses on the transition from high school to successful adult living.

    It is never too early to start preparing for the transition to adult life. Families can provide their children with choices to practice decision making. Additionally, families can promote their child's independence by gradually having them take over parts of or entire chores around the house.

    Elementary School Students Middle School Students High School Student

DOTS Guide

PDF icon Parent Transition Guide
 with LESSONS to complete at home with child to support sucessful transition. 

PDF icon Spanish Parent Transition Guide 

Guia para padres con LECCIONES para completar en casa con el niño para apoyar una transiciión exitosa.

PDF icon Korean Parent Transition Guide

성공적인 학습을 지원하기 위해 자녀와 함께 집에서 수업을 진행하는 학부모 가이드

"Roadmap to Transition: A Handbook for Autistic Youth Transitioning into Adulthood"
 PDF icon Roadmap Handbook
A plain language handbook created to help young people with autism understand and plan for their transition to adult life.

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability Internet icon

Taking Charge of Your Money: An Introduction to Financial Capability

Developing Financial Capability Among Youth: How Families Can Help 

IDEA 2004 states that “Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP team, and updated annually, thereafter, the IEP must include – (1) Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills” [300.320 (b) (1)].

The transition assessment process for a student is ongoing and occurs over time. Information collected is documented within a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) to support the development of identified post secondary goals in Education/Training, Employment, and Independent Living. The assessment process supports IEP teams in identifying the following information:

  • Career Interests and goals
  • Employment readiness
  • Independent living skills

Most Commonly Used Transition Assessment Methods

  • Interviews and questionnaires
  • Curriculum-based assessments
  • Direct Observation
  • Transition planning inventories
  • Interest Inventories
  • Personality or preference tests
  • Career development measures
  • On the job or training evaluations


DOTS teachers provide training and support in writing Individualized Transition Plans, or ITPs. The ITP is a portion of the IEP that deals explicitly with transition instruction and activities. The ITP process begins before students turn 14. Students are given an interest assessment and the ITP portion of the IEP is included.

Students and parents are encouraged to participate in the ITP process through providing information on student interests, goals and dreams as well as the student's current abilities.

  • Assist with chores at home, such as dishes, folding laundry and making the bed. Increasingly take over your personal care: set out clean clothes for yourself the night before, make sure you are well groomed (nails cut, hair brushed, body washed), etc.
  • Prepare for the transition to Middle School by taking a tour with classmates or parents, meeting the teachers you will have, and asking the school to find you a peer buddy who can provide support in your initial days at the school.
  • Spend at least a part of the school day integrated in a classroom with non-disabled peers.
    Have parents or teachers or another adult teach you how to shake hands properly and make eye contact.
  • Practice speaking up for yourself in class when you need help. Likewise, think of your own list of questions or concerns for you annual doctor visits and ask the doctor questions yourself.
  • Practice counting change, and begin saving money to work towards a bigger goal.
  • Increase your responsibilities at home. Assist with additional chores, supervise younger siblings, begin to practice cooking simple meals, etc.
  • Prepare for the transition to High School by taking a tour with classmates or parents. Take time to learn how credits work (it's different than middle school), and make sure you several adults you can go to if you need help.
  • Take charge of a portion of the grocery list. Plan a meal, list the ingredients, and try to find them in the store while remaining under budget.
  • Talk to the adults in your life about work. What do they do for a job? What do they like about it? What don't they like? This will help you begin to think about what you are looking for in a job.
  • Practice taking public transportation with a trusted adult. Have them make you the person in charge of figuring out which bus to take and which stop to get off at. You might also find directions to a destination and give them to an adult driving you around. This can help you learn the neighborhood streets and how to get around someday when you are the one driving.
  • Begin to volunteer at a community agency or assisting a trusted neighbor on your street. It might lead to paid work, and even if not, it will give you a reference when you start to apply for paying jobs
  • Take a class at an Occupational or Skills Center for credit. You will learn a valuable vocational skill and get to try something new. You can also take classes for free at Community colleges with your counselor's permission. Taking these classes now will save you money and help you get ahead.
  • Visit colleges and/or programs that you might be interested in attending after high school. It's great to visit these programs early (9th or 10th grade) so you have plenty of time to meet the requirements they may have.
  • Get involved in clubs or activities at school. They can help you make friends with common interests, connect you to teachers and staff who care about you, and can help develop your social skills.
  • Research careers of interest as much as possible. Look up information online. Find out what skills/experience employers look for when hiring for that job and work on developing them. Work up the courage to speak to people who have those jobs and find out more about what it is like.
  • Read and understand your IEP with the help of an adult. What is your disability? What accommodations are written in to help you? Are you getting the accommodations you need? This is a great time to take more responsibility for your education.
  • Practice interviewing skills with your DOTS teacher or an adult at home. Interviewing is a skill that takes time and practice to develop.

The Law

Section 300.347(c) of IDEA states: "In a State that transfers rights at the age majority, beginning at least one year before a student reaches the age of majority under State law, the student's IEP must include a statement that the student has been informed of his or her rights under Part B of the Act, if any, that will transfer to the student on reaching the age of majority, consistent with §300.517."

The Age of Majority in California is 18. Therefore, the student needs to be informed of their rights ON or before their 17th birthday. All educational rights will transfer to the student when they become 18. For students age 18 and older, the IEP should document how and when these students were informed about the transfer of rights.
Any required IEP notices shall be provided to the student who has reached the age of majority (age 18).
If the student is determined to be incompetent to act on his own behalf in assuming his/her rights, and a judge has appointed a legal conservator, then the rights do not transfer to the student. In this case, the IEP should indicate who the conservators are.
The state shall establish the procedures for appointing the parent of the child, or if the parent is not available, another appropriate individual, to represent the educational interests of the child.

A Word of Caution
Since any person reaching adulthood is presumed by the state to be competent, no other persons, including the person's parents may legally make decisions on his or her behalf. This is true even if a mental health agency or social service agency has determined for their own programs, that the person is mentally handicapped. An adult individual is presumed competent unless a court formally appoints someone as guardian.

Resources and Websites Internet icon
View the following websites for more information:

Conservatorship - California Courts

Guardianship - California Courts

Additional Legal Resources - Bet Tzedek 

Graduation Students with disabilities can earn a diploma or a certificate of completion. Students may earn a certificate of completion prior to receiving their diploma, as they may meet those requirements prior to meeting the requirements for a diploma.

Students with disabilities may be eligible to earn a diploma. Per District policy, students with an IEP earn a diploma if all of the following requirements are met:
• Complete required coursework;
• Earn the minimum required number of credits for their graduation year; and
• Complete non-course requirements (e.g. select career pathway, service learning)

Alternative Pathways to a Diploma within LAUSD
• There are seven types of Options Schools each serving a different type of student. You may access more information by visiting this webpage: Educational Options Program

• The Division of Adult and Career Education (DACE) offers pathways for High School Diploma, High School Equivalency, and other programs. You may access more information by visiting this webpage: Adult and Career Education

Certificate of Completion
Students with an IEP can earn a certificate of completion by meeting any one of the following conditions:
• Satisfactory completion of a prescribed alternative course of study as identified on the student’s IEP (min. credits for their graduation year) ; or
• Satisfactory achievement of his/her IEP goals and objectives during high school as determined by the IEP team; or
• Satisfactory high school attendance, participation in the instruction prescribed in his /her IEP, and achievement of the transition goals and objectives.

Students earning a certificate may continue to pursue a diploma and are eligible to receive special education services through age 22 or until the diploma is earned, whichever comes first.

Students who earn either a certificate or diploma are eligible to participate in one graduation ceremony as well as other activities related to graduation. Most students with disabilities are working toward a high school diploma. Talk to your counselor to ensure you are on track for graduation.

Note: Per CA Ed Code, 56026.1 (a) As provided in Section 300.102(a)(3)(i) of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, an individual with exceptional needs who graduates from high school with a regular high school diploma is no longer eligible for special education.

Transition Partnership Program (TPP) Work Experience, WorkAbility I (WAI), We Can Work (WCW), Blind Field Services (BFS) and Grantability are paid work based learning experience programs for students currently enrolled in a special education program approved by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Student participants accepted in TPP Work Experience, WorkAbility I (WAI), We Can Work (WCW), Blind Field Services (BFS) and Grantability may be assigned to either private sector businesses or non-profit organizations and will perform a variety of duties requiring entry-level skills.

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  •  Los Angeles Unified School District ♦ Division of Special Education 

    333 South Beaudry Avenue, 17th Floor, Los Angeles, CA  90017