Four Types of Transition Plans

Previous Topic: Students with Disabilities - School & Work

Next Topic: What Should Each Transition Plan Cover?

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.