As of 10/1/2017, this manual has been retired. For current policies, procedures, and standards for the Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Division, please refer to the following manuals:

In this manual, references to DARS now refer to TWC. The manual includes both links to public content and links to content available only to staff.

Chapter 33: Transition Services

(Revised 07/09, 05/15, 10/15)

33.1 Overview

33.1.1 Program Philosophy

Transition is a collaborative process that is student centered and student driven. It is a balance between independent living skills training and vocational skills training and involves the family, educational partners, community resources and other networks of support. Transition is an integral part of the education and rehabilitation process and is based on the individual needs, interests and preferences of the student. Effective Transition planning happens as early as possible and it can assist the student to develop the skills and attitudes necessary to work and live in the community. Transition planning and services are a flexible multi-year process that develops with the student.

33.1.2 Program Purpose

The purpose of the blind services Transition program is to provide consumers with visual impairments who are at least 10 years of age but under 24 (and who may have multiple disabilities) with vocational rehabilitation services to enable them to make informed decisions about their future goals. Transition counselors are VR counselors who manage a specialized caseload. The Transition program is often the link between the Blind Children's Vocational Discovery and Development Program (BCVDDP) and the adult Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VR). As a result, consumers benefit from a seamless delivery of services throughout each stage of their development. The Transition program is not a separate program but a subset of the VR program. Although this chapter is devoted to specific Transition topics, all rules and procedures in the VR manual apply to the Transition program, unless specifically addressed differently for the Transition program.

33.1.3 Legal Basis

(Revised 10/07, 12/07, 04/08)

Transition services are mandated by the following federal laws:

The IDEA defines transition services as follows:

"A coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that (A) is designed to be a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child'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; (B) is based on the individual child's needs, taking into account the child's strengths, preferences, and interests; (C) includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation."

See 20 U.S.C. 1401(34).

The Rehabilitation Act defines transition services as follows:

The term "transition services" means a coordinated set of activities for a student, designed within an outcome-oriented process, that promotes movement from school to post school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation. The coordinated set of activities shall be based upon the individual student's needs, taking into account the student's preferences and interests, and shall include instruction, community experiences, the development of employment and other post school adult living objectives, and, when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.

See the Rehabilitation Act Sections 7(37) and 103(a)(15). See 29 U.S.C. 705(37) and 723(a)(15).

Transition services must promote or facilitate employment as called for in the student's individualized plan for employment.

Key Terms from WIOA

Student with a Disability

A student with a disability is defined by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as anyone age 16-21 years old who is attending school, receiving services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Special Education) or considered 504 eligible (including those individuals who are working with Vocational Rehabilitation or VR).

WIOA gives some leeway for states to expand this definition based on local laws. In Texas, a student with a disability is anyone age 10-22** who is, or has, received services through special education or is considered 504 eligible. A person does not have to be currently attending school to fit this definition; however, whether or not the person received disability-related supports or services while in high school should be considered. Those individuals who were not considered individuals with disabilities while in high school, and those who have acquired disabilities since high school, are not considered to meet this definition.

**If an individual is 22, he or she will only meet the student with a disability definition if his or her 22nd birthday falls on or after September 1. In that case, the individual will meet the definition through August 31 of the following year.)

The only group of consumers who will receive services considered Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) are those who meet this WIOA definition. The same services can be provided to those not meeting this definition; however, they are not counted as Pre-ETS and should not be paid with Pre-ETS budget.

Youth with a Disability

According to WIOA requirements, 50 percent of the money that a state receives through supported employment state grants is used to support youth who have the most significant disabilities.

To receive services funded by supported employment grants, a youth with a disability must be:

33.2 Transition Team or Circle of Support

Transition planning is student centered, and its success relies on the collaboration between support systems that are a part of the transition team often called the Circle of Support. Youths with disabilities grow up to be adults with disabilities, and they have needs for good jobs, homes, friends and family, and community involvement. Transition planning ties together resources so that an independent life and vocational goals can be achieved. The earlier planning begins, the sooner supports and services can be coordinated to achieve the goals of the student. The following list identifies key members of the transition team, which should include a combination of professional and nonprofessional members who are interested in the success of the student. The transition team plans and develops long-term vocational and living goals that are consistent with the interests, needs, and preferences of the student.

33.2.1 Student or Transition Consumer

The student or transition consumer is the most important member of the transition team. The consumer is in the center of the Circle of Support and everything in transition planning revolves around him or her. Transition planning meets the needs of the consumer; the consumer does not meet the needs of transition planning or the needs of the other members of the team. The responsibility of the student or consumer is to be who he or she is and decide on postsecondary goals based on personal interests, preferences, and dreams. Working with the other members of the team will help the student or consumer explore and develop the steps to achieve his or her goals.

33.2.2 Transition Counselor

DBS provides transition services through Transition Counselors. These counselors are vocational rehabilitation counselors who specialize in assisting eligible blind and visually impaired youths. The Transition Counselor:

33.2.3 Family

When family support is available, family involvement in the transition process will significantly enhance both successful transition planning and a successful outcome. Each family has a unique set of values and cultural influences which will affect their concerns, opinions, and requests. The family's role in the Vocational Rehabilitation process is to:

33.2.4 Education

The role of the local education agency (LEA) is to provide a free and appropriate public education for students with disabilities, including a specialized instruction for students with visual impairments called the Expanded Core Curriculum.

The expanded core curriculum includes:

The local education agency also:

33.2.5 Other DBS Staff Members

Additional staff who specialize in a variety of areas can assist in the provision of Transition services and work in collaboration with the Transition counselor and consumer and/or family. EAS specialists, VRT's, VDU diagnosticians, and deafblind specialists are examples of staff who may provide additional support to the consumer. Everyone in the region who comes in contact with the consumer has an opportunity to support the consumer through high expectations and positive interactions.

33.2.6 Community Members

Additional consumer support can be found in collaboration with advocates, other service professionals, nonprofit organizations, clubs/associations, friends, and church members, etc.

33.3 VR Services for Transition Consumers

33.3.1 Overview

Youth and students with disabilities, as defined by WIOA, who have completed high school, have a high unemployment rate. If they are working they are more likely to be underemployed, without health benefits, and at risk of dropping out of postsecondary training. This is especially true for students who leave school without work experience. Research indicates that youth who obtain work experience while in high school often have higher rates of employment, earn higher salaries, and adjust more easily to the demands of the work place.

WIOA emphasizes the need to provide transition services and focus on the delivery of those services. The expectation is based on Title IV, Section 402, section 2 (7)(A)-(B), which explains that:

  1. A high portion of students with disabilities is leaving secondary education without being employed in competitive, integrated employment, or being enrolled in postsecondary education; and
  2. there is a substantial need to support such students as they transition from school to postsecondary life.

Transition planning is done as early as possible, especially if the student is at risk of dropping out or has cognitive or behavioral disabilities. Research indicates the following timelines.

In elementary school:

In middle school:

In high school:

Meeting these goals by age 22 depends on getting students involved as early as possible in their community through education and the rehabilitation process. Transition services provide a combination of curricular and extracurricular activities at home, at school, in vocational settings, and in the community. The more that students can practice their skills in natural environments, the more comfortable, confident, and competent they will be using their skills.

33.3.2 Core Skills

(Revised 04/10, 05/15, 12/15, 05/16)

It is often impractical for younger consumers to participate in comprehensive assessments similar to those used for adults; therefore, when working with consumers who are age 10 years or older and their families, the transition counselor assesses the consumer by using:

These sources provide information about the consumer's:

The transition counselor uses the information when working with the family and consumer to:

The transition counselor also uses the Core Skills Assessment (CSA) checklist to evaluate the consumer's confidence and competence in the Big Six core skill areas of:

Completing the CSA checklist often requires contacting the consumer more than once. The information obtained is used later to assist in planning the consumer's vocational rehabilitation (VR) program.

The CSA checklist is only one element of the overall assessment process. It provides information that is considered equal to the information provided by orientation and mobility (O&M) reports; low-vision evaluations; reports documenting the admissions, review, and dismissal (ARD) processes; and so on.

When the CSA checklist is completed, the transition counselor:

  1. documents important information and recommendations within the Comprehensive Assessment Summary case note entered into ReHabWorks;
  2. does not enter a stand-alone case note for the CSA checklist; and
  3. files a hard copy of the CSA checklist and any reports or notes used during the comprehensive assessment phase in the paper case folder.

During a new transition counselor's first year of employment, the counselor must routinely use the CSA checklist with every consumer. Doing so helps the counselor obtain a thorough knowledge of the six core skill areas. The counselor's immediate supervisor can require the counselor to continue using the CSA checklist for longer than the first year, when appropriate.

Experienced transition counselors who demonstrate a solid working knowledge of the core skill areas, as indicated by their case documentation, are not required to complete the CSA checklist, unless directed to do so by their immediate supervisor.

Pre-eligibility Trial Work

To help determine the eligibility of cases that are in pre-eligibility trial work, the CSA checklist should always be included as one of the assessments or evaluations used within the pre-eligibility trial work plan.

For complete information on Pre-eligibility Trial Work, see Chapter 3: Eligibility, 3.1 Determination of Eligibility-Overview.

Referral to a VRT

Because the vocational rehabilitation teacher (VRT) is not required to complete individual assessments of transition-aged consumers, when the transition counselor refers a consumer to a VRT, the counselor uses the information obtained through the CSA checklist and/or other assessments to identify within the long description of the service record the specific skill areas to be addressed.

VR services are available to help transition consumers achieve their living and vocational goals. These and other services help the consumer become competent in the six skill areas, achieve emotional adjustment, learn how to cope with the sighted world, and ultimately find a place in society. Core services can be provided, arranged, or purchased by the counselor through

Adjustment to Blindness

Adjustment to blindness is developed as a result of the following services.

Knowledge of eye conditions:

Positive self-esteem:

Self-advocacy:

IL Skills

IL Skills are developed as a result of the following services.

Personal/home management:

Organizational skills:

Social/recreational:

Travel Skills

Travel skills are developed through the following services.

Transportation in all modes:

Communication Skills

Communication skills are developed through the following services.

Braille:

Technology:

Recording and accessing information:

Support Systems

Support systems are developed through the following services.

Support groups:

Mentoring:

Parent/family support groups:

Educational support:

Peer supports:

Economic supports:

Vocational Skills

Vocational skills are developed through the following services.

Vocational assessment:

Career guidance:

Employment assistance (14 and older):

33.3.3 Pre-Employment Transition Services

Aside from the DBS confidence-building Big Six core skills (see 33.3.2 Core Skills), the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requires that 15 percent of federal funding for vocational rehabilitation (VR) be spent on providing Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) for individuals who meet the definition of a student with a disability (see 33.1.3 Legal Bases).

Individuals who do not meet the definition can receive the same services, but the services would be paid out of funds for regular consumer services.

There are a total of 14 Pre-ETS categories, defined by WIOA. Five of the categories are required; the other nine categories can be considered after the required services are provided.

The five required categories of Pre-Employment Transition Services are:

These Pre-Employment Transition Services can be provided to consumers at any point in the VR process, but should be provided with an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), when there is enough information to complete one. They can also be provided to individuals who are potentially eligible; for example, if a counselor provides training on self-advocacy to a special education class, the class can be counted as Pre-Employment Transition Services, as long as the individuals in the class meet the definition of a student with a disability, regardless of the individual's status in ReHabWorks.

The other nine categories of Pre-Employment Transition Services are:

33.3.4 Child Labor Laws

When making decisions about employment, child labor laws should be observed.

Minors 13 Years of Age

In the state of Texas, minors may not begin working in formal paid employment until the age of 14. Therefore, work experiences for 13-year-olds should be limited to volunteer activities and personally arranged activities such as babysitting.

Minors 14 and 15 Years of Age

There is no special work permit required for this age range, but there are restrictions on the number of hours that 14 and 15 year olds may work, the times that they may work, and the type of work that they are allowed to do; for example:

Limitations are placed on the work that 14 and 15 year olds may perform when they are employed in retail, food service, and gasoline service establishments.

Minors 16 and 17 Years of Age

There are no child labor law restrictions on the number of hours and times that 16 and 17 year olds may work. There are restrictions on working in occupations declared hazardous by the U.S. Department of Labor. For more detailed information on child labor laws, see child labor laws.

33.3.5 Project SEARCH

(Added 12/15, Revised 03/16)

Overview

Project SEARCH is an international initiative that supports partnerships between businesses (employers), local school districts, vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, and other disability organizations. Project SEARCH promotes successful long-term employment of VR consumers in stable, meaningful, integrated, and competitively compensated jobs by using a school-to-work internship approach for consumers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

The program takes place in business settings where immersion in the workplace facilitates the teaching and learning process as well as the acquisition of employability and marketable work skills. Project SEARCH consumers participate in three internships to explore a variety of career paths. The consumers work with a team that includes their family and the partnering agencies to create an employment goal and support the consumers during this important transition from school to work.

Project SEARCH Key Terms

For definitions of the following key terms as they relate to Project SEARCH, refer to the DRS Standards for Providers, Chapter 9: Project SEARCH, 9.2 Key Terms.

Project SEARCH Phases

Project SEARCH is composed of three phases.

Phase 1: Consumers enroll in internships that allow them to learn employment-related hard and soft skills in a real-life work environment. They attend daily classroom instruction that the local school district provides and that follows the Project SEARCH curriculum.

Phase 2: Consumers are placed in or find competitive integrated employment that earns the prevailing wage in the industry and that allows them to use the skills they have learned during their Project SEARCH internships. The job must be consistent with the services and goals outlined in the consumer's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

Phase 3: Consumers receive retention services as needed for ongoing support after the consumer has been employed for 90 days and the DARS case is closed. The long-term support organization provides retention services during this phase.

Project SEARCH services are provided through a collaborative process in which the Project SEARCH team-the DARS provider, host business, school district, long-term support organization, and DARS counselor-work together to help the consumer achieve the goals of the internship and placement. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Project SEARCH team members outlines the roles, relationships, and responsibilities.

The Project SEARCH team interviews and selects a DARS community rehabilitation provider (CRP) to work with DARS consumers at the host business site. The interview is a prerequisite to being eligible for a Project SEARCH service contract that allows DARS to purchase services from the provider.

DARS purchases the Asset Discovery Assessment for Project SEARCH consumers before school starts. Services include worksite-training for up to three rotations during the school year and end with successful job placement.

The Project SEARCH team interviews and selects the consumers who participate. DARS purchases services for consumers who participate in Project SEARCH and documents the services in each consumer's IPE.

Steps to Establish a Project SEARCH Site

To start a Project SEARCH program, DARS staff members first ensure that the following partners agree to start a program:

The team may begin without an identified host business or community rehabilitation provider (CRP). DARS does not select the CRP. The team selects the CRP based on an interview process with all the team members. DARS schedules interviews for interested CRPs that have a current DARS contract.

The national Project SEARCH office is contacted to request to start a program. Project SEARCH requires that a local partner hold a licensing agreement with its office, stating that the team will follow its model. The school district typically holds the license; DARS does not hold this license.

Project SEARCH requires a fee to start a program. Either the school district covers the fee, or local community partners raise the funds. These funds pay for the team's training on the Project SEARCH model.

Once the national Project SEARCH office approves the license, it schedules training for the team. After the formal training from the national office begins, the office supports the team by setting up monthly meetings for planning and maintaining the program. While the local school district and the CRP are involved in the daily operations of the program, the DARS staff members assigned to the team must maintain regular communication via email or conference calls in addition to the monthly planning meetings.

Project SEARCH Fees

Project SEARCH Benchmark service authorizations to the community rehabilitation provider (CRP) may be issued using only Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) funds.

Planning is important to ensure that the appropriate amount of money is budgeted for each benchmark.

For the fee structure provided to CRPs, refer to the DRS Standards for Providers, Chapter 9: Project SEARCH, 9.3 Fees.

Intern Selection Process

DARS must receive the name of students that complete a Project SEARCH application so they can begin the application process if they are not already receiving DARS services.

The Project SEARCH team interviews the applicants using a rubric system to determine who will be offered an internship at the host business. When DARS has not yet determined a student's eligibility for DARS services, the student may be selected for Project SEARCH pending the DARS eligibility decision.

Asset Discovery

DARS consumers must have been determined eligible for DARS services to begin Asset Discovery.

The service authorization for the Asset Discovery phase should be issued over the summer to allow the community rehabilitation provider (CRP) time to meet with all the consumers. This service should be completed by August 31.

For additional information about Asset Discovery, see the DRS Standards for Providers, Chapter 9: Project SEARCH, 9.4 Asset Discovery.

Worksite Training

Project SEARCH consumers must have an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) indicating their participation in the program and all additional services the counselor approves for participation (for example, transportation assistance and purchase of uniforms).

Since each Project SEARCH team determines the length of the rotations at the host business (8-12 weeks), it is important that the team create a calendar showing when rotations begin and end. This ensures that the rehabilitation services technician (RST) and vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) know when to issue service authorizations to the community rehabilitation provider (CRP).

For additional information regarding the Worksite Training, refer to the DRS Standards for Providers, Chapter 9: Project SEARCH, 9.5 Worksite Training Services.

Job Placement

The DARS3373, Project SEARCH Job Placement Services Plan, must be developed by the end of the third rotation or at any time during the rotations that the team determines that job placement opportunities are available to the consumer because of skills gained in the internships. Once the DARS3373 is complete, the counselor issues the Benchmark A service authorization for job placement services.

More than one service authorization may be open at the same time for internship rotations and job placement. The vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) attends the monthly steering committee meetings and the employment planning meetings each rotation to ensure that he or she is in regular communication with the Project SEARCH team and knows when service authorizations will be needed.

Job coaching, if needed, is included in the benchmark payment and must not be billed separately.

For additional information about the Job Placement phase, refer to the DRS Standards for Providers, Chapter 9: Project SEARCH, 9.6 SEARCH Job Placement and Retention Services.

33.4 Supported Employment

(Revised 06/13)

If it appears that a consumer is likely to require ongoing support in order to obtain and maintain community-integrated employment after completing high school, the transition counselor should begin planning for Supported Employment (SE) services during the consumer's last year of high school.

Planning the Supported Employment (SE) services allows the counselor and the consumer to offer recommendations on the choice of:

The consumer remains on a transition caseload until:

When the case status is Benchmark 5: Job Stability, the consumer's employment status is considered stable and the case is transferred to an adult VR caseload.

See Chapter 30: Supported Employment for complete information. For the definition of "youth with a disability," see 33.1.3 Legal Basis.

33.5 Adaptive Technology Purchases for VR Needs

33.5.1 Technology Evaluation

Students who may need adaptive technology to achieve their post-secondary goals should be referred to the Employment Assistance Specialist in their region to arrange for an adaptive technology evaluation during their senior year of high school.

33.5.2 Requirement

The transition counselor may purchase the assistive devices and adaptive equipment required by the technology evaluation, only if the items are needed for the consumer's postsecondary education or long-term employment.

Schools must identify the need for and make accommodations and modifications, based on a student's need to obtain an education. DARS does not provide services strictly for the purpose of accommodating an individual's need to obtain an education.

See 34 CFR Section 361.5(b)(55).

33.5.3 Consumer Option

Adaptive technology is changing rapidly. The student should be given the option of having equipment purchased while they are still in high school or waiting until after they graduate. If a student chooses to have equipment purchased while they are still in high school and this adaptive technology continues to meet the consumer's future employment needs, the agency may not be able to pay for more advanced technology at a later date.

33.5.4 Prior Approval

Purchases prior to the completion of the student's senior year of high school must be approved by the field director.

33.5.5 Purchase Procedures

(Revised 02/13)

To purchase telecommunications, sensory, and other technological aids and devices, follow the procedures in ReHabWorks. The justification for purchase in the case notes should clearly state that the adaptive technology is being purchased for postsecondary education or long-term employment.

33.5.6 Additional Services

The VR process is comprehensive and can assist the consumer in achieving vocational success. Any VR service needed, as listed elsewhere in this manual is available to Transition consumers.

33.6 Additional Vocational and Independent Living Enrichment Training

33.6.1 Description

(Revised 03/16)

The Transition Program provides a wide variety of enrichment training to assist young consumers to gain the experience and skills that they need to prepare for and make informed choices about whether and where they work, whether and where they obtain postsecondary education, and where and how they live within the community.

Adolescent consumers are provided opportunities to participate in group skills training, workshops, camps, and seminars. Families may also be included in some of the opportunities. These programs are a way of providing vocational rehabilitation (VR) services to consumers who can benefit from group training. Programs vary by state fiscal year and region, depending on the needs of the consumers.

Summer Work Experience

Employment, whether found by the consumer or obtained through work experience programs, the consumer is enabled to learn work-related skills and experience in the world of work. Many consumers use public transportation to travel to and from their jobs.

To work, consumers must:

Camps

Camps increase a consumer's self-confidence by providing opportunities to participate in challenging recreational activities. Camps generally focus on career exploration or increasing the consumer's prevocational and independent living skills.

Workshops and Seminars

Seminars and workshops may be held for a few hours or a few days. Topics include making the transition from school to work, driving with low-vision aids, succeeding in college, and services provided by dog guides.

Group Skills Training

Each state fiscal year, transition counselors decide with their field director about the type of group training needed in the field area. Many group training sessions are conducted with other organizations, such as the Educational Service Centers and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The transition counselor:

It is essential to incorporate the Big Six core skill areas and appropriate categories of Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) into group training to enable students to master the skills and attitudes necessary to live independently.

When planning training, it is also important to consider the goals established in the student's Individual Education Plan (IEP) and look for opportunities to provide training that allows the student to continue working toward reaching the goals.

Planning Considerations

When planning to provide group skills training, consider the following.

Target Population-Consider whether the project is open to participants from specific areas or to consumers statewide and design the training to address the rehabilitation needs of that targeted population.

Site-Consider the program site carefully. Although cost is an important consideration, the needs of the program and the participants must be given priority. The meeting site must be completely accessible, according to the standards established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Lodging-Consider the cost, consider whether family members are included in the group training sessions, and consider accessibility. It is generally easier to supervise consumers in camp or dormitory settings.

Objectives-Consider what is to be accomplished and the number and scope of activities that are reasonable within the time available.

Marketing-Determine the potential number of participants. Allow sufficient time for printing, mailing, and processing the responses to marketing materials. Make sure that brochures provide all essential information and that applications include mandatory signatures. Make sure that all printed materials are provided in an accessible format.

Outside Resources-Consider how to obtain assistance from outside resources, such as presenters and contributors of monetary donations, and from in-kind resources, such as free lodging or meeting space.

Travel and Safety Plan-Develop a system for ensuring that all consumers are accounted for and are transported safely; for example, the counselor may determine that a security guard, nurse, certified life guard, or licensed commercial driver is needed. It is recommended that a cellular phone be carried in vehicles transporting consumers.

Program Agenda-Ensure that the group training sessions have structured activities, with a minimum of free time built into the agenda.

Adequate Supervision-Although the amount of adult supervision needed will vary depending on the type of event and the needs of consumers, ensure that there is always at least one adult in attendance for every six adolescent consumers when the training activities do not include parents. In some circumstances, there may be a need for a smaller staff-to-participant ratio, such as one staff person to every three or four adolescents.

The host counselor gathers and maintains a copy of all documentation related to the project.

After the training is completed, the host counselor sends a summary report to the DARS central office within 30 days indicating the:

Written Approval-Best practice calls for the following materials to be included with the application. If a consumer who is a minor, or a consumer who has a court-appointed guardian, participates in any DARS-sponsored training session without his or her parent (or other representative), the following materials are required:

Overnight Programs-In addition to the items requiring written approval, each application for overnight programs must also include the following, when applicable:

Assistance with Medication-If the student is unable to manage his or her own medication, the transition counselor must take proper steps to see that the student's medication is handled appropriately.

Behavioral Expectations-Explain expected behavior and any other rules at the beginning of each group training session. Explain that failure to follow the rules may result in dismissal. It is the transition counselor's responsibility to inform consumers and their families that they are expected to follow the rules and participate fully in any agency programs that they attend.

33.6.2 Consumer Participation in Cost of Training

Seminars, workshops, camps, and summer work experiences are training activities; therefore, the consumer is not required to participate in their cost, including transportation to and from the activity. The Transition Counselor may use any agency-approved method for providing transportation to consumers. Consumers are required to provide their own money for incidental expenses, and will be asked to participate in the cost of transportation and recreational activities associated with training, if they do not meet economic resources criteria. Transportation that is available without cost to the agency shall be utilized, if available. Efforts shall be made to use the most cost effective method of transportation that will meet the needs of the program.

See Chapter 2: Intake, 2.3 Consumer Participation in Cost of Services for more information about consumer participation in cost of services.

33.6.3 Family Participation in Training Seminars

When parents (or another representative) and the consumer's siblings participate in a training activity with the consumer to further the consumer's vocational adjustment or rehabilitation, training costs are not subject to family participation. Families are required to provide their own money for incidental expenses and recreational activities. Transportation costs for family members are subject to economic resources criteria unless a parent or representative is required to participate in the activity in order for the consumer to attend. If a parent/representative is providing supervision or attendant care for their child in conjunction with an agency-sponsored activity, transportation costs for one parent/representative will be included in the training costs regardless of economic resources. The Field Director may waive the economic need criteria for an additional family member, on a case by case basis, when the parent/representative is providing supervision or attendant care for the consumer.

33.6.4 Multiregional Group Skills Training

Multiregional training must be approved by the host region's field director. If a consumer from one region participates in a training session that is sponsored by another region, the participating consumer's transition counselor may be asked to assist; however, the transition counselor's participation is contingent on the field director's approval.

Required Documentation for Group Skills Training

A case note must be completed regarding the consumer's participation as well as specific training activities.

33.7 Transition Planning and the IEP Process

(Revised 04/14)

DBS can play an important role in transition planning, as partners in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process. In working with Local Education Agency (LEA) staff and families throughout the IEP process, the transition counselor

In providing educational support services, the transition counselor must:

Transition Planning through the IEP

The focus of transition planning, through the use of the IEP, is on the student's vision for the future. Transition planning is initiated when the student turns 14 and is reviewed at least annually.

The transition planning should address all aspects of adult life, such as the student's plans for:

The plan should also:

Set timelines with projected beginning and ending dates for all activities leading toward attaining the student's goals.

33.7.1 Helpful Checklist of Transition Considerations

Consider the items in this checklist when transitioning students.

Items to Review
Advocacy and guardianship
Assessment requirements
Behavior management planning
Case management needs
Current educational needs
Day programs
Employment
Income support
Independent living skills
Lifetime support and planning
Medical needs and assistive devices
Recreation and leisure
Residential services
Supported employment
Therapies and treatments
Transportation
Vocational education and training
Any other areas that need to be addressed

33.7.2 IEP Meetings for Transition Consumers

Local Education Agency (LEA) Responsibilities

The LEA initiates Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings.

The school district must give a 30-day notice of the IEP meeting date. The notice requirement may be waived if all parties, including the parent and student, agree.

IEP meetings must include:

IEP meetings may also include:

Local education agencies notify transition counselors about their students' IEPs.

The Transition Counselor's Responsibilities in Transition Planning

Transition counselors should attend an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, when invited and when possible.

Participation by alternative means, such as teleconferencing or video conferencing may be an option. (See CFR 361.22(b)(1).)

Transition counselors may attend the IEP meeting for a student who has been identified as having a visual impairment even if the student is not currently a consumer.

When filling out the IEP, the transition counselors should offer the transition planning elements related to DBS services in the student's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

When providing educational support for the IEP, transition counselors must summarize the transition meeting in a case note with a specific heading as described in 33.9 Transition Performance Measures.

In most cases, the local education agency provides copies of the IEP to the student and the student's representative only. The transition counselor must therefore request copies of all IEPs when they are completed and place them in the student's file.

33.7.3 Adaptive Technology for Educational Needs

The Local Education Agency must provide adaptive equipment and assistive devices to meet the educational needs of secondary school students. The student may use the equipment at home to complete homework assignments and school projects. In accordance with IDEA requirements, if the student's ARD committee determines that a student with a disability needs home access to telecommunications, sensory devices, or other technological aids in order to meet the requirements of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), the LEA must provide the devices for home use in order to implement the student's IEP.

33.7.4 Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

Consumers attending TSBVI shall be served by the Transition counselor from their home community. The Transition counselor in the Austin Region will be available as a courtesy counselor on an as-needed basis.

33.7.5 Consumers Receiving Section 504 Services

Transition counselors may also work with eligible consumers and students who receive services related to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act instead of an IEP. Section 504 requires schools that receive federal funding to provide reasonable accommodations and modifications to enable students with disabilities to fully participate in the services and programs offered within the general curriculum. As with the IEP, the Transition counselor must request a copy of the 504 plan and place it in the consumer's case file.

33.7.6 Consumers Attending Their First Semester of College/Technical School

In most instances, Transition consumers remain on the Transition caseload until they have successfully completed their first semester of college or technical school. If the consumer attends a college or university that has a VR counselor assigned to that campus, the Transition counselor will let the college counselor know that the student is on campus. The college counselor will generally act as a courtesy counselor during the student's first semester.

In some situations, it may be more appropriate to transfer the student to the college counselor during the first semester. An example would be a situation where a student with a history of academic success attends a university several hours away from the Transition counselor's service area.

33.8 VR Process and Procedures

33.8.1 Referral Process

New Referrals

Young people who have graduated from high school should be referred to the adult VR Program for application.

Applicants with visual impairments who are at least 10 and under 24 who have not completed secondary school should be referred to the Transition counselor for application.

BCVDDP Criteria for Referring a Consumer to Transition

The specialist's decision to refer a consumer to the Transition Program must be based on the student's individual skill levels and readiness for transition services. Referrals to the Transition Program may be made as young as 10 years of age, but there is no automatic referral at any age.

Read more about BCVDD referral procedures in the DBS Blind Children's Vocational Discovery and Development Program Manual, Chapter 7: Service Delivery.

Continuum of Services

The following graphic depicts the progressive continuum of career development. The skills and knowledge acquired in one stage provide the foundation for the next stage.

Blind Children's Vocational Discovery and Development Program:

Transition Program:

Vocational Rehabilitation Program:

Illustration of the Continuum of Services, with the services described above

Age at Referral

The decision to refer a BCVDDP consumer to the Transition Program is based on the child's individual skills level and readiness for transition services.

New referrals age 10 years or older are referred directly to the Transition Program. A BCP specialist may open a case in BCVDDP for a new referral age 10 or older who is known to be multidisabled only after the transition counselor and blind children's specialist have

The purpose of the meeting is to provide the consumer and parent information about both programs so they can make an informed choice.

Regional Transition Team

The BCP specialist, transition counselor, children's and VR coordinators, field director, and other team members as appropriate will meet regularly to review BCP referrals to Transition or new referrals from Transition to BCP.

As necessary for the individual needs of the child, the regional transition team may include

Role of the Regional Transition Team

To optimize the services for the consumer, the regional team should

Transition Referral Process

The transition counselor

If the Consumer Is Eligible for Transition Services

When the transition counselor determines that the consumer is eligible for transition services, ReHabWorks generates an action to the blind children's specialist caseload to close the BCVDDP case.

If the Consumer Is Not Eligible for Transition Services

If the transition counselor determines that the consumer is not eligible for transition services, the transition counselor generates an action to the blind children's specialist that the consumer was determined ineligible.

33.8.2 Application Process

(Revised 09/14)

Application procedures are contained in this manual. The following additional procedures pertain to the Transition Program.

Minors

A minor is an individual who:

Step 1

Establish who the minor's representative is. A representative is a parent, other family member, guardian, or advocate respectively, unless a representative has been appointed by a court to represent the applicant or consumer, in which case the court-appointed representative is the representative.

For guidelines on establishing an individual or parent as the representative for the consumer, see Business Procedures Manual, Chapter 20: Confidentiality and Use of Consumer Records and Information, 20.1.1 Applicability.

Step 2

Contact the parents, if possible, if the minor is residing with an adult other than the parent. The counselor should make reasonable efforts to locate and involve the parent in service planning unless the child is living with a court-appointed representative. For example, a youth may be living with a grandparent while the parent is living elsewhere. If the parent can be contacted, the counselor should make reasonable efforts to involve the parent in services. If the parent indicates verbally that the person with whom the youth resides has permission to act as the youth's parent, the counselor should ask for verification in writing.

Step 3

Document contacts. Document actions to contact parents. If the counselor's reasonable efforts to contact the child's parent are not successful, the counselor must document:

Counselors may provide services if the parent fails to respond to the request for written permission or in cases where the parent's whereabouts are unknown.

Step 4

Obtain representative signature or applicant's signature, if no longer a minor. In addition to the representative's signature, a minor's signature is encouraged.

33.8.3 Eligibility

See Chapter 3: Eligibility for the complete procedures for determining eligibility.

33.8.4 Notice of Ineligibility

Upon a determination that a person is ineligible for services, the Transition Counselor must:

33.8.5 Notice of Eligibility

Upon a determination of eligibility, the Transition Counselor will follow the guidelines outlined in the Eligibility section of the VR manual notifying the consumer (and parent or representative if the consumer is a minor) and proceed with program planning.

33.8.6 Developing the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE)

(Revised 02/13)

According to the Rehabilitation Act, IPEs can be developed as early in the transition process as possible, and to do so is consistent with the goal and purpose of transition as identified in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA).

Studies have shown over time that students who had written goals earned more money and achieved their aspirations. It may be necessary to provide more vocational assessment and exploration for younger students in order to identify the student's interests and preferences, and help them make informed choices to find work and achieve their dreams. IPEs and amendments to IPEs develop as the student develops and makes more informed choices. IPEs are developed using the guidelines in Chapter 4: Planning, 4.3 Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), of this manual.

In partnership with consumers, transition counselors should:

Based on 34 CFR Section 361.22 and 361.45

IPEs should address:

Consumers Who Are Minors

If a consumer is a minor, the representative must be included in the planning process and sign all documents related to the consumer's program. The minor's signature is encouraged.

The signed documents include:

Consumers Age 18 and Older

IPEs for consumers who are age 18 and older are developed using the IPE guidelines in Chapter 4: Plan Development of this manual.

Transition Consumers Who Become Adults While Receiving Services

Unless a consumer has been assigned a court-appointed guardian, a consumer who reaches the age of 18 while receiving services has all of the rights and responsibilities of adulthood. Upon the consumer's 18th birthday, the transition counselor may no longer share information with schools, parents, or representatives who are not court-appointed guardians without the consumer's written permission.

Counseling with the consumer and the consumer's parents about the changes in rights at age 18 should begin early, particularly if guardianship issues may need to be addressed.

Note: The transition counselor must discuss the consumer's rights and responsibilities at the first meeting following the date that the consumer turns 18. Update the consumer's application for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, obtain the consumer's signature or PIN if not previously on file, and obtain a new signed release-of-information statement (DARS5061, Notice and Consent for Disclosure of Personal Information). The consumer may also change the PIN at this time, if the PIN is already on file.

Adult Consumers with Guardians

If an adult consumer has a legal guardian, the counselor continues to involve the guardian in all aspects of the consumer's case. A copy of the guardianship papers must be maintained in case records.

Additional Resources about Guardianship

Disability Rights Texas offers the following publications to help families make decisions about guardianship:

Other Resources

Other resources that may also be of assistance are the:

33.9 Transition Performance Measures

(Revised 03/16)

33.9.1 Overview

Each transition counselor sets transition performance goals every state fiscal year. As each student develops, the individualized plan for employment (IPE) is expanded and training is provided that matches the student's stage of development. By the time the student is ready to make the transition from school to work, he or she has had a range of assessments, training, and work experience. The following four performance measures reflect the success of regional services to transition consumers as well as the services that are outlined in the Transition Transfer Template.

33.9.2 Performance Measures

Numbers of Students Served in the Transition Program

This performance measure reflects how many students were served in the Transition Program. The measure varies according to the number of incoming consumers from the Blind Children's Vocational Discovery and Development Program (BCVDDP). In addition, each year, the DBS program specialists get names of identified students receiving visual impairment (VI) services from Texas Education Agency (TEA). This list is useful in cross-referencing with the caseloads to ensure that all students who can benefit from DBS services are identified. Contact your program specialist for more information.

Counselors must ensure that all possible referrals are made and processed through the vocational rehabilitation eligibility criteria. At the beginning of each state fiscal year, counselors should meet with the regional BCVDDP specialists to discuss upcoming referrals and make plans to begin the referral process. In addition, it is essential to work closely with the local education agency to get possible referrals each year including those names on the TEA identified VI list.

Individual Education Plans Developed

Transition services are unique in that the transition counselor is working with the student, probably the family, and the school to provide assistance that will enable the student to successfully reach a future employment outcome. Since the transition counselor has the knowledge and expertise regarding blind students of this age group, the TC is in the unique position of helping school personnel with planning for these students to incorporate activities that are prevocational and vocational in nature. Transition counselors may be able to provide information to school personnel regarding possible activities and services that the school can make available for these students. By law, students must have transition planning in the IEP at 16 years of age; although, transition planning may begin at age 14, and even earlier if the ARD or IEP deems these services necessary. Transition planning within the IEP identifies transition services to be provided in accordance with federal legislation. Components of the IEP that are services provided by DBS must be incorporated into the IPE of the student.

Regardless of whether the student has actual transition planning in his IEP because of his age, Transition Counselors may assist in the development of the IEP by attending the IEP meeting, through teleconference, or by providing information to be included in the IEP. Keep in mind that Transition planning is not limited to only attending the IEP meeting but includes a more comprehensive approach to Transition planning and includes year round support and services in collaboration with the LEA's.

World of Work

Students have a better chance of success in employment and independent living if they have opportunities and exposure to the World of Work before leaving high school. It is the Transition Counselors' responsibility to assist these students in World of Work activities. These activities fall into 4 categories:

  1. World of Work: Vocational Class-This category is met when the student attends a vocational class through the LEA. It takes collaboration on the part of the Transition Counselor and LEA staff to provide the student with career based instruction. Through collaboration and communication with LEA staff, the Transition Counselor will be aware of the academic programs and can advocate for the students involvement in career based instruction.
  2. World of Work: Career Exploration, Workshop, or Seminar-This category refers to students' participation in career exploration, seminars, or vocational based workshops whether it is through DBS or another entity. These experiences provide students with career based information and can be beneficial throughout the student's development. The more exposure these students can be involved in, the more information they will have to make informed decisions and learn about themselves and the World of Work. This category also includes participation in center programs such as CCRC or TSBVI where there is a significant career component.
  3. World of Work: Volunteer-This category includes participation in any volunteer experience whether provided in school or through other opportunities. Internships and apprenticeships are a valuable way of learning work skills and habits. Students can learn about specific job areas and gain some experience necessary to obtain paid work. Internships are a common career tool used by job seekers who want to transfer their skills into a new career. It provides the exposure and experience needed to launch a new career. Likewise, volunteer experiences can be beneficial to the students' development, and the sooner the better. LEA's often have available opportunities for the student but Transition Counselors should not limit these experiences to school settings. It is helpful to look for volunteer opportunities in local neighborhoods, churches, businesses, etc. The more these experiences can relate to the students' interests, needs and abilities, the more meaningful the experience will be and the more motivated the student will be to reach their potential.
  4. World of Work: Paid-This category includes any opportunity that provides the student with paid work experience. The law allows the students to work as young as 14 years of age. This allows the student to gain a tremendous amount of work experience before they leave high school. Summer work programs, supported employment opportunities, and part-time work during school are ways the student can gain experience and earn money. The more students use their skills in natural settings, the more comfortable they become using these skills and increase their confidence and competence. They learn more about real life and work expectations and develop the skills necessary to transition into adult life. There is no substitute for paid work. By the time, students leave high school; they need to have had experiences in this area. The Transition Counselor can collaborate with the local workforce boards, summer programs through CCRC or TSBVI or assist the student in finding work that is related to interests, needs and preferences. It is important that the Transition Counselor be as creative and open minded as possible when working with blind students to find paid work.

Number of Students Transferred to VR

(Revised 01/09, 02/12)

This category is the most important of the performance measures. By the time a student is transferred to adult VR, he or she should be stable in his or her choice of postsecondary work or training. In essence, the student has completed exploration, assessment, and preliminary work experience and has begun postsecondary training as a result of transition planning over the years. The job of the transition counselor is to assist the student in a smooth transition from school to work. After years of developing the transition plan, the student is ready to venture into adulthood meeting his or her long-term goals. There are four successful areas of adult VR that a student can transfer into, indicating that the transition program has been successfully completed.

  1. Transfer-employment. The student is transferring to the adult counselor after securing and becoming stable in his or her vocational goal and is working in the employment of his or her choice. This is competitive integrated employment including supported employment.
  2. Transfer-college. The student has successfully completed his or her first semester of college (including remedial courses), is making progress within a specified degree plan or certificate program, and is ready to move to the adult VR program. For more information on students being transferred to a designated college caseload, see Chapter 6: Academic, Vocational, and Technical Training, 6.1.3 Transfer to College Caseload.
  3. Transfer-vocational or technical school. The student has entered vocational or technical school and is stable in this training. This category also refers to specific job training (such as Lion's World Services for the Blind to train for work in the Internal Revenue Service).
  4. Transfer-participating fully in VR program. The consumer is fully participating in a VR program and in volunteer work or other "world of work" activities. This also includes consumers who have successfully attended and completed CCRC (or postsecondary program) training.

33.10 Documenting Performance Measures

With the exception of "Total number served," the measures are documented in the case notes by use of specific case note titles.

33.10.1 Individualized Education Program (IEP) Developed

If an IEP is developed, document the details of the meeting in a case note and edit the case note topic listing the topic and date. For example: "IEP Developed dd/mm/yy."

33.10.2 World of Work

(Revised 07/06, 02/13, 03/16)

World of Work (WoW) information is tracked in ReHabWorks by entering a World of Work Record.

The WoW link on the navigation menu

The available WoW categories are listed below, based on type of activity:

If the student has participated in a vocational program through his or her local school district, an agency-sponsored seminar, or volunteer work, and then participates in paid work during the same fiscal year, update the employment screen under "Profile".

Each WoW activity may be counted once for each occurrence. The WoW must not be counted for every month a student is in paid or volunteer work, or vocational class. Paid work can be counted for each job; a volunteer opportunity, if different from the first volunteer opportunity, may be counted as another volunteer opportunity. The same rules apply to workshops and seminars, career exploration, and vocational classes.

Note: When documenting summer or part-time employment, do not select the 90-day button. This button is used only for successful consumer closed cases.

33.10.3 Transfer to Adult Vocational Rehabilitation Services

(Revised 10/10, 02/12, 10/12)

A young adult is usually transferred to an adult VR caseload after he or she has entered postsecondary vocational training or employment. The transfer occurs when the consumer

Before a consumer is transferred to another caseload, the consumer's demographic information is updated in ReHabWorks. The consumer's Social Security number, home address, and phone number should be verified.

The VR coordinator reviews cases before they are transferred. Before this happens, key components of the case should be summarized using the Transition Transfer Template as a guide. The Transition Transfer Template should be pasted into a case note with the appropriate case note topic:

Note: If a consumer is enrolled in postsecondary training and is also working part-time in an entry-level position that is not part of the consumer's long-term vocational goal, the transfer is coded with the appropriate training rather than as paid work.

Rule: Transition counselors do not close cases in status 26. Cases are transferred to an adult VR caseload for final closure.

The receiving VR counselor must agree to the transfer before the Transition counselor completes the transfer. Any disagreements related to transferring a consumer from Transition to adult VR are addressed by the field director.

Unless the consumer is moving to a new region, he or she should have at least one contact with both the transition counselor and the vocational rehabilitation counselor before transfer.

For additional details related to the transfer of cases in the VR program, see Chapter 40: Case Management, 40.4 Guidelines for Referral and Transfer of Cases.