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Transition Planning

Thinking ahead helps your child get ahead.

Transition planning is an essential part of a child’s development into adulthood. That’s why it’s important to begin this planning early. Current guidelines suggest consideration as early as middle school. By age 15 or 16, the adult planning phase should be well underway.

Transition planning helps your child and your family properly prepare for life after high school—whether this means employment, postsecondary education and training, or independent living. With our guidance and your preparation, you and your child will better understand your available options and achieve greater success with the transition into adulthood.

Understanding and complying with the law.

Federal law supports transition planning and mandates that all children have access to a free and appropriate public education suited to their unique needs. Using the school’s special education transition evaluation, the IEP team will determine a student’s current skills, strengths, interests, and academic needs. From this information, the team will develop a plan detailing the necessary steps to create the best opportunity to advance the student from his or her current level to the desired one.


Appropriate ages for the various phases of the transition planning process are determined by each state and even the specific school district. At Butterfly Effects, our qualified experts are highly familiar with both state and federal guidelines, as well as with most school district requirements throughout the country. Count on our knowledge and experience to guide you and your child through the various stages of a successful transition.

As the caregiver, you play a vital role in your child’s future. It is essential that you share your special knowledge of your child and advocate for his or her best interests whenever necessary. We are here to help you. With your guidance and our support, your child can achieve his or her greatest potential, fulfilling the goals, outcomes and dreams you share together as a family.


Typically at age 18, a person gains the right to make decisions regarding her or his own welfare. This process assumes the person has the competency to understand the consequences of the decisions being made. In cases where Autism or another disability is involved, a parent or other caretaker may request guardianship status to legally assume decision-making responsibilities for the individual. There are many factors that should be weighed before making such a determination.

Guardians are usually appointed either to oversee the individual’s personal needs–such as healthcare, housing and clothing—or to oversee the legal and financial matters of the individual. In some cases, a single guardian may be assigned to handle both. The decision should be carefully considered, as the process is a difficult and costly one.

If your child is legally assigned a guardian, he or she will lose a great deal of independence. It is best, therefore, to assign a guardian only in cases where it is absolutely necessary to achieve the best interests of the individual. You may want to consider other alternatives such as a trust, family guidance, or a trusted family representative.

In general, the courts will favor a parent, adult sibling, or other trusted adult family member to assume this role. Regardless of who is appointed, the court will oversee the guardian to assure the individual’s affairs are handled honestly and appropriately. In most cases, this requires the guardian to submit regular reports to the court, particularly when requesting changes in medical care or living arrangements. A detailed record of all financial dealings must also be maintained.

Since laws vary by state, you should consult applicable laws in the state of residence to assure compliance. A qualified estate-planning attorney can also provide guidance throughout the process.

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The smallest change can have the most profound effect