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Mission Possible:  Planning a Successful Life for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Page history last edited by Kelly Ligon 9 years, 12 months ago

For the last couple of years, Innovations & Perspectives has published many articles about the secondary transition process.  One of the greatest challenges we have heard from our readers is how to involve students with atypical communication skills and intellectual disabilities in this process in a meaningful manner that allows the student to be in the driver’s seat.  Many of these students are the passengers on the road of life and often their voices are not heard as plans are made for their postsecondary life.  We challenge you to think differently.  Consider the student as the driver of a car, communication skills as the engine which keeps the car running, and the student’s preferences, interests, needs and strengths as the four wheels all integral parts of a successful trip toward meaningful transition assessments.


During this training we will be highlighting some tools that will assist you as you are helping your students identify their "SPIN" (Strengths, Preferences, Interests and Needs).  Consider a three-step process, similar to the K-W-L teaching strategy often used when introducing a new topic to students.


  1. What do you KNOW about the student?
    • What information about the student do you already have?  Locate pre-existing data through a record review.
    • How does your student show what he knows?  Be ready to adapt the assessment materials to meet his communication style.
    • Does the student use assistive technology (AT)?  Be sure the student’s AT needs are met during assessment. 
  2. What do you WANT to know?
    • Collect data related to preferences, interests, strengths and needs.  This might include informal interviews, informal observations, informal interest inventories/surveys, situational assessments, or commercially available assessments.
  3. What have you LEARNED about the student? 


Mission Possible:  Planning a Successful Life for Students with ID

Transition Process Graphic

Tri-State Transition Slide Guide

Transition Assessment Planning Guide

Who can help?  School Nurse; PE Teacher; OT; PT; SLP; Parents; Siblings; Family members; Teachers in other classes;

I'm Determined website:  http://www.imdetermined.org

Student Led IEPs

     Elementary It's All About Me!  Understanding My IEP

     Secondary I'm Determined! Understanding and Preparing For My IEP

     One Pager Template

     One Pager with Visuals

Recommended Commercial Assessments for Students with ID

Sample assessments available at VCU T/TAC

Additional online resources for transition services


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