The Ontario Ministry of Education has developed a process to
help students with the transition to work, further education
and community living. An Individual Education Plan (IEP) must
be completed for each student with special education needs that
details the academic expectations for each year of school. Research
indicates that having both the parents and child
involved in the development of these plans can significantly
improve the likelihood of a successful transition. The following
information provides an overview of the process outlined by
the Ministry of Education and the role you should take in making
your way through the school transition process and integrating
it with your own family transition plan.
The School’s Role
Ontario, the Education Act, states that principals are responsible
for ensuring that an IEP is developed for each student who has
been identified as exceptional. If your child is 14 years of
age or older, the IEP must also include a transition plan to
appropriate postsecondary activities; for example, work, further
education and/or community living.
Principal will likely assign responsibility for coordinating
the development, implementation and monitoring of your child’s
IEP to one person – possibly the classroom teacher. The
Ministry of Education recommends that a team approach should
be used throughout the IEP process. In reviewing the following
information you will see the similarities between the planning
process in school and the personcentred transition planning
process described earlier.
following is a list of important information that will be included
in your child’s IEP:
are five phases to the IEP process which include the following:
1. gathering information;
2. setting the direction;
3. developing the plan;
4. carrying out the planned activities; and
5. reviewing and updating the IEP.
IEPs follow the timetable of a school year or semester. They
are developed in early fall and cover the time up to the end
of June or the end of a semester session. The IEP process involves
ongoing review, evaluation and adjustment on a term-by-term
basis. The IEP process is curriculum-oriented which means it
should focus on how your child is expected to progress through
the Ontario curriculum, with or without any modification of
development of the transition plan through the education system
should be consistent with the directions identified for your
child in their IEP. The goals and action plan in the IEP should
inform the development of the transition plan to ensure the
actions in each are moving towards a common objective. You will
need to ensure that both plans are consistent with your child’s
interests and preferences.
Ontario Ministry of Education and the School Boards in Central
West Region have developed guides and templates for parents
to assist with educational and transition planning. These can
be accessed through website links which are identified in Part
2: Tools & Resources, Transition Planning Resources under
Education Planning Documents.
These websites also include information on Special Education
Programs in Ontario and for each School Board.
The Value of Work Experience
you participate in the development of the IEP, you will need
to identify opportunities that will give your child a broad
range of experiences to help explore their strengths, abilities
and interests. Co-operative education and other forms of work
experience programs available through the education system are
an important part of developing a transition plan for your child.
Co-operative (co-op) education, work experience, and school–work
transition programs allow your child to experience a variety
of opportunities and to learn more about themselves and the
world of work.
education and work experience programs will require a written
learning plan that covers their work placement goals and activities.
To ensure the work experience is a meaningful one, the learning
plan for the work experience program must be linked and consistent
with the directions identified in the IEP – the student’s
goals, strengths and needs. It will be important for you or
your transition coordinator to be the link between your child’s
teacher and the co-op education teacher to ensure you make the
most of this opportunity.
information on the Co-operative Education and other forms of
Experiential Learning Program can be accessed through the Ministry
of Education website at: www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/curricul/secondary/coop/cooped.pdf
plan with the plan you are developing at home and make
good use of the education system resources available to you.
Your Role in the School Transition Plan
a parent, you have a significant role to play in the development
of your child’s IEP and their transition plan. Being involved
with your child means you have a better chance of developing
a successful plan consistent with your child’s vision
for the future.
the school system has established requirements, standards and
guidelines for developing the IEP and transition plan, the shape
of the process will likely be different in each school. Regardless
of the process, parents and students should be consulted and
involved in the development of the IEP and transition plan.
You should be prepared to be involved in the process to ensure
you are receiving the supports most appropriate for you and
prepared to ask lots of questions. Speak to the teacher, find
out what the process will be, who will be leading the activities,
who else will be involved, what will be developed and when.
Make sure the teacher knows that you and your child want to
be included in decision-making throughout the process. You will
need to ensure that the IEP and transition planning processes
are integrated and consistent with each other and moving in
a direction consistent with your child’s preferences and
you have started your own transition planning activities at
home, there should be an overlap with the information being
developed through the education system, for example, identifying
your child’s strengths, interests, dreams and areas to
work on. Consider linking the education transition.
Be an Active Participant
to establish the transition team by suggesting individuals you
know will be creative and reflect a positive attitude throughout
the planning process. Find out who will be involved from the
school – both school personnel and those from the community.
Do not hesitate to make suggestions as you see fit. Ask about
including a parent from another family in the neighbourhood
that has recently gone through transition planning.
Find out if your child could be provided with a peer mentor,
an older student about to leave the school system that has been
through the process.
prepared to share lots of information about your child. Share
any exercises you have already completed such as the vision
setting activity. In addition to advocating for your child and
presenting your views of them, it is also important to listen
to what others have to say and value their input. They may bring
a different but fresh perspective of your child that you may
prepared to participate in meetings by bringing creative ideas
and information to the table and encouraging the same of others.
Help to establish realistic goals and expectations for your
child. Then make sure activities are identified that help move
towards achieving your child’s goals both at home and
and seek out opportunities and experiences for your child during
their school years that will help them achieve their goals for
the future, for example, co-op experience, work experiences,
or volunteer opportunities.
These activities provide them with much needed work experiences
but are also great networking opportunities that will help your
child become connected to the community outside of school.
Stay in Touch
IEP and transition plan will require lots of monitoring and
review on a regular basis. Find out how this will be done and
how your child’s progress will be measured throughout
the year. Make sure that reviews focus on ensuring the directions
are still consistent with your child’s interests and strengths
and that identified activities are being completed as previously
assigned. Regular reviews are important to ensure that your
plan is on track and still consistent with a direction that
you and your child are comfortable with pursuing.
the lines of communication open with your child’s teacher.
Don’t feel you have to wait for the next meeting of the
transition team to discuss your child’s progress. Recommend
changes in goals, strategies and/or resources or support where
you see a need.
is your process. You will likely have to take an active role
throughout your child’s school career to ensure the process
is moving your child towards the achievement of their goals.
Making good use of the resources that are available through
the school system will help to create a plan that will provide
your child with many positive experiences to assist them make
the transition to adult life.