Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The following are frequently asked questions.

Start a Transition Plan

Who is the app for? Who designed it?

This app is intended to serve as a guide to West Virginia students, family members, and educators during the transition planning process. It is based on the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA - http://tinyurl.com/jcvoaz3. As a West Virginia student with a disability who may be turning 14 years or older, or a family member of a transition age student, this app can help you prepare for the Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting where transition planning will be discussed and the transition plan will be created. Individuals residing outside of West Virginia may use this free app, but the information needed for transition plans in other states may be different.

This app was originally designed by the Disability Rights Center of Kansas, a non-profit organization. The app was adapted by Disability Rights of West Virginia (DRWV) and designed to meet transition planning needs in West Virginia. For more information about DRWV, please go to www.drofwv.org.

What is a transition plan?

A transition plan helps you move into adult life after high school. In West Virginia, the school must develop a written transition plan as part of your Individualized Education Program (IEP) if you are 16 or older. Having an effective transition plan is important. It helps plan for your goals after high school so that the right services and supports will be obtained to meet your goals. A well written transition plan can help you achieve things like getting a job, training for a job, living independently and going to college.

The transition plan must be about your needs, wants, and goals. It should also include goals and timelines for IEP team members to follow. This will help to make sure progress is being made towards your transition goals. Transition planning occurs as part of the IEP process. Beginning at age 14, or younger, you should be involved in discussing your transition planning wants and needs prior to your IEP team meeting. Your IEP team writes your transition plan during your IEP team meeting. The transition plan is a legal part of your IEP and must be attached to the IEP the school sends to you and your family.

What is an age appropriate transition assessment?

Transition assessments help you learn more about what you would like to do after high school. The teacher may ask about your goals after high school and what you are good at. A teacher might ask your family members and other teachers about your skills and interests. You might complete a career assessment on the computer, or try a few different jobs to see what skills, strengths and needs you have in community employment settings. You may also take academic assessments to help prepare for college. Your transition plan must be based on at least one recent age-appropriate transition assessment.

What are transition services?

Transition services are a part of your transition plan. They are activities you complete while in school to help you meet your goals for after high school. These activities will help you improve on skills needed to help get a job, keep a job, go to college and live independently. Examples of these services are: help to complete interest inventories and explore careers, job shadowing, etc.

Both your school and WVDRS are required to offer transition services. Both groups are required to work together to provided school age students eligible for their services. WVDRS provides both Pre-Transition services ( students do not need to fill out an application to receive) and Transition Services (students must apply to WVDRS and be found eligible to receive.) Please see FAQ information in questions below for information on WVDRS and How to apply for their services.

Beginning at age 14, your IEP team must discuss transition services at your IEP meeting. The West Virginia Division of Education (WVDE) recently made the following changes: effective July 1, 2018 a Transition Plan is to be developed no later than the first IEP to be in effect when the student is 15 or younger , and by July 1, 2019, it is to be developed no later than the first IEP to be in effect when the student is 14 or younger. A list of classes and supports you need to help prepare you to move to adult life must also be provided.

How long can transition services be provided through school?

Depending on the services needed, students in West Virginia can continue to get transition services through the end of the school year in which they turn 21. The IEP team must discuss the types of transition services needed and how long those services should be provided. Some guidelines for considering when a student will continue to have transition services after 12th grade are if a student:

(a) did not earn sufficient general education credits to obtain a regular diploma and is not planning to seek a GED or other alternative pathway to graduation;

(b) has not fully achieved all IEP goals;

(c) completed all requirements for graduation, but is still in need of such services to move on to the next steps related to her/his postsecondary goals (e.g. – going to college, entering a job training program, having a paid job that can be maintained with adult services).

What services are available from the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (WVDRS)?

The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (WVDRS) can provide many services and supports to help qualified students with disabilities move to adult life. WVDRS may pay for things like college classes, technical training, getting a job, developing new job skills, work-related items – such as tools, clothing, assistive technology … and so much more.

Your IEP team will provide information on WVDRS services and may invite WVDRS to your IEP team meeting with your parent/guardian or your consent if you are an adult student. It is VERY important for you and your family to apply for WVDRS services and follow through with the responsibilities as a consumer of those services provided. Too often students and their family do not follow up with WVDRS. If you do not follow up and apply for WVDRS services, you lose out on receiving WVDRS’s great services that can assist with supporting your employment plan.

How do I apply for WVDRS services?

If you want to work and have a disability that makes it difficult for you to get or keep a job, you can apply for services with WVDRS. You will need to contact your local WVDRS office and request an appointment with a WVDRS counselor to apply for WVDRS services. You will be contacted by WVDRS with the date, and time of your appointment, and name of the WVDRS counselor. You can bring anyone you want with you to your appointments at WVDRS. To obtain the phone number for the closest WVDRS office visit www.wvdrs.org or call 1-800-642-8207.

What can be expected at my appointment with the West Virginia Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (WVDRS)?

During the appointment, a WVDRS counselor will complete your application for services. You should bring the following information with you to your appointment: Social Security number, proof of SSI/SSDI benefits if applicable, names and addresses of doctors, names and addresses of schools you have attended, medical insurance information, past job information, other information such as medical, psychological, or school records. WVDRS will determine if they can provide services to you through an eligibility determination process.

What happens after my appointment with the WVDRS Counselor?

WVDRS will usually have 60 days to determine if you are eligible for services. WVDRS may need you to complete evaluations and assessments to help with eligibility determination. WVDRS is mandated to ensure that individuals with the most significant disabilities are prioritized when sufficient resources aren’t available to serve all eligible applicants. When this occurs the WVDRS is under an Order of Selection (OS). When the WVDRS is under an OS it will also determine which of the four WVDRS categories the student is assigned to which based on the significance of disability; Category 1: eligible applicants with the most significant disabilities, Category 2: eligible applicants with significant disabilities, Category 3: eligible applicants with non-significant disabilities which result in permanent functional limitations, Category 4: eligible applicants with non-significant disabilities which do not result in permanent functional limitations. You will be notified by the WVDRS if you are eligible for services, (and if applicable) the OS category you are in and if that OS category is open. If you are in a category that is not open for WVDRS services at the time of application, you will be placed on a waiting list for services and will be notified of this by the WVDRS. You also have the right to appeal WVDRS decisions, for example if you do not agree with the eligibility determination and or OS category determined by WVDRS.

When you are ready, you and the WVDRS counselor work together to write your Individual Plan for Employment (IPE), a written plan to support your job goals. Think of this plan as being similar to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) at school. The WVDRS plan has a similar name, but a different purpose. The IPE has specific job goals and lists the services to help you be successful in achieving your employment goal. Teamwork is important. You and your WVDRS counselor must keep in contact at least bi-monthly and review the employment plan yearly. Your IPE must list dates, job goals, employment start date, needed services, who pays for the services and your requirements for participation. WVDRS usually has 90 days to develop this plan. It is important to apply for WVDRS services prior to your high school graduation, so that a WVDRS counselor can be a part of the student’s transition planning team and so that you will have a smooth transition from completing school to beginning adult life.

Will the WVDRS staff be the ones to provide my employment services?

WVDRS is usually the first agency you meet with to begin your employment journey. If you are eligible for services and are in a category open for services, WVDRS may help pay for the employment services in your IPE, however, WVDRS generally does not provide all of those services directly. Instead, WVDRS will identify agencies that will provide the services identified in your IPE. WVDRS usually identifies the agency, but you can choose a different agency to provide the services. The agency must be an approved WVDRS vendor. Examples of the services can include: help to further your skills in preparing for work, look at the job skills you already have, help match your job skills to a job and help you find and keep a job. It will be important for you to maintain contact with the agency(ies) specified in your IPE providing the employment services, like helping you find a job.

What is an outside agency in a transition plan?

An outside agency is an adult agency that will assign an employee to you to help provide resources, services, and payment for transition services written in the transition plan. Often times, you need to be found eligible for an outside agency to provide services, so it is important you work with your parents/guardians and IEP team to find an agency that can provide the supports you need.

What will change after high school?

After high school, you have the right to reasonable accommodations at college and work under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If you are eligible for accommodations, you are responsible for requesting the reasonable accommodations you need. This is very different than when you were in elementary through high school; the accommodations were provided based on your IEP and your parents did not request them. A college or university may not discriminate against an individual solely based on disability. They must provide reasonable accommodations to your known disability. These accommodations must give you an equal opportunity to participate in the school’s programs, activities, and services. This includes everything from the classroom to extracurricular activities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act provide students with disabilities powerful protections from discrimination.

Below are a couple of examples of help you may receive from a college:

* Free auxiliary aids (ex. taped texts, note takers, interpreters, closed captioning). http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/auxaids.html

* Modifications to participate and benefit from your education (ex. extra time, notes, specialized materials, audio books, special technology).

There are limitations to your rights in college. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act only applies to schools that receive federal funds. Some schools do not receive financial aid or federal funding. Colleges do not have to modify class content or academic standards if it fundamentally alters their program. This simply means that colleges are not required to reduce their standards for grading or degree requirements because of a person’s disability. Colleges can request adequate medical documentation from the student that proves the need for the requested help and the connection to the student’s disabilities.

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) helps individuals with disabilities get accommodations on the job. As an employee you must be able to complete the job tasks expected on the job, however if you need assistance to complete the tasks, you can ask the employer for a job accommodation or a change in their job that will help you complete the job duties requested. An employer does not need to provide you with the exact accommodation you requested, but does need to provide you with some type of accommodation to meet your needs on the job.

For more information about rights under the ADA and Section 504 go to, www.ada.gov and/or http://tinyurl.com/j5kjkrt.

How can I be an effective advocate with my IEP team?

You should tell your team what you want your goals to be and what you feel you need to meet those goals. Be clear. The only purpose of your IEP team is to come up with an education program for you. That means it is all about your needs. You should give your IEP team examples of what you are asking for and how it will help you.

Remember that teamwork can help you ask for what you want. Build strong relationships with your IEP team members. Your IEP team members have a lot of educational knowledge. You are the expert about you. You and your family members know your needs and goals best. You should respect school staff, but should not be afraid to say what you want for your life.

Special education has many professional terms. These terms can be confusing and scary to you and your parents. You should ask your IEP team to explain any term you do not understand. Remember, no one on the IEP team knows your needs, interests, likes, and goals better than you and your family members.

Good transition planning requires you and your family to tell your IEP team your long-term plans and goals for after high school. The more you share your hopes and dreams with your IEP team, the better your transition plan will be.

Transition meetings must focus on what you want to do. It is about your interests. Your IEP team must listen to you. You may find it difficult to tell your interests, dreams, and hopes for your future to your entire IEP team. You and your family should work together to find the best way for you to tell your IEP team what you want and need in order to move to adult life.

Here are some ideas for you to get your points across to your IEP team:

* Complete the transition app survey. This provides you with a written document. It is called your “Draft Transition Plan.” You should then share this plan with your IEP team. It contains your goals for education, training, employment and sometimes independent living after high school. It will detail recommended transition services to assist you in reaching your goals. You should ask for the services and things listed in your “Draft Transition Plan.”

* Write down your goals for adult life prior to your IEP meeting. Share these with your team.
* Ask family members to help you tell your IEP team your goals.
* Self-advocate. You should speak up for yourself in your IEP meetings. Again, no one knows you better than you.

How old do I need to be to use this app?

DRWV iTransition is meant to assist those who would receive employment transition services starting in high school. The process for employment transition services provided through your school starts as early as age 14.

Our services do not address anyone under the age of 13. We do not knowingly collect personal identifiable information from children under 13. If you are a parent or guardian and you are aware that your child has provided us with personal information, please contact us so that we will be able to do necessary actions.

What are transfer of educational rights that occur at age 18?

If you are a school age student and receive special education services, you are protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004 (IDEA). It is extremely important that you understand your due process rights to special education services so you will be able to advocate for yourself. In West Virginia:

Your Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team includes you, your parents, teachers and others. This team makes yearly plans about your education. Prior to the age of 18 your parents make decisions that affect your education. At age 18, these rights transfer to you and you become the decision maker about your special education services. It is important that you understand the choices that you will have to make when you turn 18. Prepare by talking to your parents, teachers and others in order to make the best decisions about the supports needed for your career and adult life.

What are career clusters?

Career clusters help you investigate careers and design your course of study to achieve your career goals. A career cluster is a grouping of occupations and broad industries based on commonalities. Within each career cluster there are multiple career pathways that represent a common set of skills and knowledge, both academic and technical, ranging from entry level to management, and include technical and professional career specialties. There are 16 career clusters.

In your IEP Transition Plan you will need to choose one career cluster. Your program of study, most of the classes you take, will be related to the career cluster you choose.

If you are interested in more than one career cluster, need help to choose a career cluster, find career surveys or locate other assessment tools to help you decide which career cluster you are most interested in, you can talk to your guidance counselor, your WVDRS counselor (if you have one) or another member of your IEP team.

For information on career clusters and jobs in each go to: http://www.pathwayswv.org/docs/Pathways_Student_Transition_Guide_Career-Clusters.pdf

How can transition planning help me succeed?

A transition plan is like a map, it helps you to develop a plan, so that you can successfully arrive at where YOU want to go. Your transition plan will help you achieve your goals for life after high school including work, living as independently as possible, and enjoying life in the community. Your goals are driven by your dreams, desires, and your abilities. Your IEP team, along with other supporters such as the WVDRS, will help you to develop your plan. But it is important that you participate in the process of developing your transition plan. For additional information go to www.drofwv.org/resources/ then on left hand side of the page, from the dropdown box select "Transition - School to Work/Adult Life."

What are reasonable accommodations?

Federal and State laws protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination in all aspects of employment. You have the right to reasonable accommodations in employment, which means you have a right to any reasonable change to your job or work environment that will enable you to perform essential job functions.

For additional information go to the Job Accommodations Network at https://askjan.org or call (800) 526-7234.

What are WIPA, IRWEs, PASS and Ticket to Work?

These are work incentive programs for individuals who are eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) is a program funded by the Social Security Administration to provide accurate information to Social Security beneficiaries about work incentive programs and issues related to these programs.

Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWE) are the costs associated with certain items and services people with disabilities may need so they can work. Examples may include medicine, disability-related changes to their home or vehicle, or costs for a service animal. IRWEs can help SSI and SSDI beneficiaries keep more of their SSI/SSDI payment while working.

Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) is an SSI provision to help individuals with disabilities return to work, by developing a plan to set aside income and resources, so they can pursue a work goal.

Ticket to Work is a Social Security program that supports career development for Social Security disability beneficiaries age 18 through 64 who want to work and make progress toward financial independence.

For additional information about these programs and if one or more of these programs could help you attain your employment goal contact the West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities at:1-304-293-4692 or http://wipa.cedwvu.org

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