What are transition services?

Transition planning is an on-going process that begins at age 14 to prepare students with disabilities for life after high school. It requires planning, skill development, and network support. The LINK Center assists families in connecting to the information and resources necessary for a successful transition.

“Transition” means thinking about and planning for all areas of life including:

  • Academic courses  
  • Non-academic courses and learning experiences
  • Employment and related training opportunities  
  • Healthcare 
  • Adult service agencies and systems 

Community engagement and leisure activities

Transition Planning:

  • Starts at age 14 in Massachusetts 
  • Includes experiences both in school and in the community  
  • Helps define a student’s vision of a meaningful adult life 
  • Supports a student in becoming a self-advocate
  • Provides opportunities for skill development  

Should Transition Planning be part of the IEP?

YES, Once a student with special needs turns 14, it is important to consider postsecondary goals while completing her or his Individual Education Program (IEP).  The IEP should be informed by the Transition Planning Form (TPF).  

View/Download a copy of the Transition Planning Form (TPF)

View/Download a copy of the Massachusetts Individual Education Plan

Our brochure on the Transition Planning Form: TIPS: The Transition Planning Form  

Learn about the Transition Planning Form (TPF) and how to use the form to help write the IEP.  

link to brochure + languages 

More Information on Transition Planning and the IEP  

  • A webinar on Secondary Transition Basics for School Professionals from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 

What is the Age of Majority?  

When any young person in Massachusetts turns 18, they reach the “age of majority.”  This means they are legally considered adults, with adult rights and responsibilities.  For example, they can sign their own Individualized Education Plans (IEP), vote, or take out a loan.  Reaching the age of majority impacts how students receive special education services. According to law, a student and parent must be informed about the transfer of rights from parent to student at least one year prior to the student reaching the age of 18.  Once that student turns 18, the school district must get consent from the student to continue special education services.  

Our Age of Majority Brochure 

Link to FCSN’s Age of Majority Brochure as a .pdf  Can we take “link center” out of link?  Is that necessary? 

More Information on the Age of Majority 

  • Find the forms you need at 

  • Getting Ready for When Your Teen Reaches the Age of Majority:  A Parent’s Guide 


What are the important laws that impact transition services?  

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004. 20 USC 1400 or IDEA ensures that all students with disabilities have access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).   FAPE includes individualized special education and related services to prepare students for further education, employment, and independent living.   

Schools are responsible to provide transition services under IDEA and define these services as: “a coordinated set of activities for a student with disabilities, designed within a results-oriented process, focused on improving academic and functional achievement that promotes movement from school to post-school activities…” IDEA (20 U.S.C. 1401 (34))  

  • Understand parental rights (Can they click on this to get to it? Link is below) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 


Massachusetts Chapter 71b (link to the law) 

is the Massachusetts law that guarantees the rights of all young people with special needs (age 3-22) to an educational program best suited to their needs.  

Massachusetts Chapter 688 (also known as the “Turning 22 law”) was enacted in 1984 to provide a planning process for young adults with severe disabilities as they leave special education and transition into the adult service system.   

More information on Chapter 688 from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) 

Our Chapter 688 Referral Brochure  DESE_Brochure_Chapter_688_Referral-1.pdf (  

More Information on the laws defining transition planning 

Family Guide to Transition Services
The Secondary Transition Planning Process brochure
Transition Timelines
Student Vision Tools
Age of Majority
Transition Assessments
Transition in the IEP