By: Becki Lauzon, M.A., CRC
Transition Specialist and Consultant
Having been a transition specialist, evaluator and consultant, as well as having worked different roles within the special education system for many years, I have come to learn that the “Post-Secondary Vision Statement” for a student is one of the most overlooked pieces of the transition and IEP process. To me, this is one of the MOST important parts of the transition planning process for students, their families, and their Team members. The vision statement is a key part of a student’s IEP, as well as their Transition Planning Form (TPF), once a student turns 14. Prior to a student turning 14, the vision statement should be completed collaboratively by the Team. Once a student turns 14, I encourage the student to have as much input as possible, no matter how realistic or unrealistic the vision is. There have been times when I have seen two vision statements on an IEP, one for the student and one for the parents and/or Team, depending on the situation. Many times, parents or school staff will ask for guidance on what information should be gathered and how to get that information from a student.
Below are some of the tips that I have learned and shared along the way:
- The vision will most likely change from year to year.
- The vision is what should be driving the development of the IEP.
- Starting at age 14, the vision statement that is in the IEP needs to correspond with the vision statement on the TPF.
- From age 14 on, the vision statement (as well as the TPF) should be read at the beginning of the IEP meeting to make sure the Team is focusing on the areas needed to assist a student in reaching their vision.
- If a student is unable to write their own vision, it is important that the Team incorporates what they know about the students’ strengths, interests, etc.
A vision statement can be long or short. It is not the length of it that matters, but the content. With the summer now starting, it is a good time to sit down with your student and start to discuss some of the below areas to be prepared for the upcoming school year.
- Do you want to pass MCAS?
- Do you want to earn a high school diploma?
- Do you want to stay in school until the age of 22?
- Do you want to go to a 2- or 4-year college?
- Do you want to take classes towards a certificate program/trade?
- Do you want to attend a community-based day program?
- Do you want to have a part-time job while you are still in school?
- What do you want to be when you are older (even if it is unrealistic)?
- Do you want to participate in volunteer work?
- Do you want to work part-time or full-time?
- If you are unsure about what job you might like, what tasks/activities do you enjoy doing?
- Independent Living
- Do you want to live on your own, in a shared living setting or stay living with family?
- Would you like to live alone or with a roommate?
- Do you want to live in the same area?
- How will you access the community (i.e., public transportation, driver’s license, family, etc.)?
- Do you want to work on developing your independent living skills, such as money management/budgeting, domestic skills, cooking, shopping, first aid, etc.?
- What do you want to do for fun (i.e., community events, sports, acting, working out, etc.)?
There are many resources available to families regarding what to do and not to do when it comes to writing a strong vision statement for a student of any age. Below are a few examples of resources that I have found helpful:
About the Author
Becki Lauzon, M.A., CRC, works with teens, young adults and their families out of the Newton, MA and Plainville, MA offices. Lauzon has unparalleled experience as a Transition Specialist, Transition Consultant and Vocational Program Coordinator. Lauzon will be providing transition assessment (including testing, functional evaluations and observations) consultation, case management, training and professional development for schools; and transition planning, consultation and coaching for transition-aged students and their parents.
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