TIEP Meetings & Tips for Helping Youth Prepare For Transition

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IDEA requires that a TIEP meeting be designed as 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.

Before the Meeting

  • Get a copy of your IEP and go over it with your caregivers, teachers or other trusted adults until you understand it.
  • Get a copy of any evaluations or reports that will be discussed at the meeting.
  • Ask questions about the parts you don’t understand.
  • Think about what you want to do. Write out your ideas ahead of time, and practice what you want to tell your team about your goals.
  • Do your homework by learning what classes or training you need to achieve your goals.
  • Invite someone you trust to attend the meeting to encourage and support you. It could be a relative, friend, guardian ad litem, or attorney.
  • Be sure you get enough sleep the night before and eat a good breakfast the day of your transition IEP meeting.

During the Meeting

  • Discuss with your team how your disability will affect your goals and plans.
  • Know your strengths and your weaknesses.
  • Focus your abilities and possibilities, but be realistic.
  • Know your rights. What will you do if your IEP team makes a decision you don’t agree with? Remember: If you have concerns, the law guarantees you another meeting, and you have a right to a hearing if you disagree.
  • Believe in yourself and your success.

Diploma Options

One of the choices a student must make is what type of diploma to work towards.  In Florida there are several options:

  • Standard Diploma
  • Special Diploma Option One
  • Special Diploma Option Two*

* Some small districts do not offer an Option Two Special Diploma

Students should consider the choices carefully.  Often, students with disabilities are behind in high school credits.  Finishing school with peers by obtaining a special diploma sounds like a good idea.  But, young people have been unpleasantly surprised to learn that they have to take the GED in order to get into community college.

Special diplomas may or may not be accepted by vocational school, community college, or military recruiters. Certificates of completion are not accepted by community college, military recruiters and are not recognized by employers.

Learn more at:

  • High School Diploma Options for Students with Disabilities: Getting the Right Fit. (FDOE 2004)

Tips For Team Leaders

Here are a few tips for the team leader, whether it is the student, a family member, a friend or professional advocate ...

  • Read and get familiar with the laws that cover the youth’s rights. Bring copies to the meetings.
  • If an agency representative says, “It’s not our job,” research the issue and you may be able to respond, “Yes, it is”.
  • Know the agencies and organizations that are equipped to help. Some will give you invaluable information, some will provide services and some will advocate to enforce the law if necessary. Others may need prodding.
  • Remember that any of the plans can be amended to add services whenever necessary. Should you learn of one that would help you attain your goal, get it written into the plan.
  • Make your requests in writing and get the answers in writing. If the youth is denied services, request in writing that the decision, its reason and the grounds for denial be provided in writing.
  • Go up the chain of command. If an agency representative denies a service and you disagree, go to that person’s supervisor, then to the agency head. Then follow the agency’s appeal procedures. If you don’t know the rules and procedures, ask for them. They should be available in writing.
  • In dealing with denial of services and other problems, you can obtain information and referral, and possibly legal representation from Disability Rights Florida or your local legal aid program.  
  • Make certain the plans contain measurable goals. Without measurability, it is difficult to determine if the student is making adequate progress toward his or her goal.
  • Ask for an evaluation to show the need for services. For example, instead of requesting speech therapy for a child, request a speech evaluation. Then, if you disagree with the evaluation, you have the right to an independent evaluation at public expense.
  • Ask for evaluation reports prepared by professionals who can accurately measure the student’s needs and abilities. Future evaluations will measure his or her progress. Services should be provided based on the evaluation findings. Evaluations are mandatory for students covered  by IDEA, and are both desirable and available for 504 students.
  • Ask for a copy of all evaluations before any meeting at which it will be discussed. Study the evaluation and be ready to proceed with it or ask for another if it doesn’t seem adequate and correct.
  • Take other stakeholders to the planning meetings. While advocating you’ll be more effective if you’re not alone. Take experts who will back up your judgment, friends or counselors who can speak knowledgeably about the situation, professionals who know the system and other advisers who can help the team stay on track. Your companions may not need to speak at all, yet may nonetheless give weight to your analysis of the situation.
  • Don’t back down to please the professionals working with you. Back down only when you decide you’ve been wrong about the youth’s needs and strengths.
  • Generally, you’ll accomplish more if you show respect for the professionals, even if they become impatient with you — but respect does not mean you have to agree with them. You may go online and read the Web sites of advocates and lawyers who have worked successfully with people with disabilities. Many of their tips are excellent and of no cost to you.
  • Remember that most decisions are not final. Stick with what works. Keep your written records in order. Should you encounter resistance, call another meeting, ask for another assessment, be persistent, quote the laws again, pull out the regulations. If you have tried to resolve the conflict yourself and have been unsuccessful contact Disability Rights Florida for advocacy and legal help.

Tips For Helping Youth Prepare For Transition

  • Talk to young people about their hopes and dreams for adulthood.
  • Assist the young person to develop goals for the future.
  • Encourage the youth to participate in community activities.
  • Have high expectations of the young person’s abilities.
  • Help the youth meet adults with disabilities who can serve as mentors and role models.
  • Work with the young person to learn about his or her disability, the transition process and self-advocacy.
  • Observe the youth’s skills at socializing, organizing, workplace behaviors and independent living.
  • Assign the young person chores.
  • Give the young person the opportunity to budget and spend money.
  • Role-play situations that the youth might encounter.
  • Help the youth learn to use public transportation.
  • Discuss the youth’s medical and transition needs with his or her physician.
  • Call the young person’s teachers to request that transition and financial planning begin as soon as possible.
  • Help the youth plan for future living arrangements by budgeting with real numbers.  (example: build a budget using newspapers to research what jobs pay and the cost of apartments).
  • Take field trips to find prices for the items needed for a home.
  • Be proactive and plan early.