Four Types of Transition Plans

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Four types of transition plans have been created under federal law to protect young people with disabilities from discrimination in education and employment.

Young people with disabilities will have one or more — probably at least two — of these four types of plans, depending on which laws apply and the stage of transition the young person is experiencing.


The Individualized Education Program, or IEP — is a detailed, legal document that indicates the supports and services a student with a disability will receive to be provided a free and appropriate public education.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) requires that all students in special education have IEPs. IEPs are updated at least every year. If you feel your plan needs to be changed or clarified, you can request an interim review.

Students who are covered by IDEA and required to have IEPs are students between the ages of 3 and 22 who have been evaluated by the appropriate professionals and determined by a multidisciplinary team to be eligible because of one or more of 13 specific categories of disability. The categories are: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (DHH), Dual Sensory Impaired (deaf-blindness), Intellectual Disabilities, Orthopedic Impaired, Other Health Impaired, Emotional/Behavioral Disability, Developmental Disability, Specific Learning Disabilities, Speech and/or Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visually Impaired.

Those who are covered by IDEA are also eligible for assistance under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. During the student’s school years, the requirements of IDEA are more specific. To be sure a child receives the services he or she needs, IDEA requires schools to follow a concrete and specific process. That process guarantees that useful steps will be taken to give the child access to a free and appropriate public education.

For more information about IEPs, please visit our other Special Education Disability Topics.

504 Plans

A child with a disability who does not need special education and services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) may be eligible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

A child must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one major life activity, such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, writing, performing math calculations, working, caring for oneself and performing manual tasks.

Students with disabilities eligible for Section 504 but not IDEA – that is, students who need accommodations in education but do not need specially designed instruction — have a plan similar to an IEP called a “504 Plan.”

A 504 plan, like an IEP, specifies the steps to be taken to give the young person equal access to education. It describes the accommodations to make that education possible.

A 504 plan can and should be handled as carefully and thoroughly as the law requires for an IEP. The person with a disability, his or her parents and advocates have a right to insist on a thorough process and all necessary services and benefits for which the student is eligible.

Students who have 504 plans are not legally required to have separate transition plans, but they are entitled to transition planning as part of their 504 plan.


By age 16, students covered by IDEA are required to have a further plan as they grow into their late teens. In Florida, it’s called a Transition Individualized Education Plan (TIEP). The TIEP is designed to be a result-oriented process, that focuses on improving academic and functional achievement to facilitate the student’s movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living or community participation.


A student who has an IEP or a 504 Plan at school is likely to leave school with a new kind of plan — an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

The IPE is a blueprint for successful employment for a person who uses the services of the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) or the Division of Blind Services (DBS).

A student who is eligible for DVR or DBS has a right to an IPE developed by DVR or DBS before he or she leaves school. Without the IPE, the student cannot gain access to services from DVR or DBS.