Transition Services 

High school students working on laptops


Parents, staff, and community members attending a Transition Services presentation


CPS students in group setting

The federal law governing special education, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), defines "transition services" as a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that:

  • is designed to be within 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;
  • is based on the individual child's needs, taking into account the child's strengths, preferences and interests; and
  • 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. [(20 U.S.C. 1401(34)]

Additionally, Illinois School Code requires that, beginning not later than the first Individualized Education Program (IEP) to be in effect when the child turns 14 1/2, and updated annually thereafter, the IEP shall include:

  • appropriate, measurable, postsecondary goals based upon age-appropriate assessments related to employment, education or training, and, as needed, independent living;
  • the transition services that are needed to assist the child in reaching those goals, including courses of study and any other needed services to be provided by entities other than the school district; and
  • any additional requirements set forth in Section 14-8.03 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/14-8.03].

The Transition Services Department:

  • Develops programs that support schools in preparing students with disabilities for life after high school inclusive of, but not limited to:
    • Planning for post-secondary education
    • Job development activities
    • Independent living skills training
    • Community based instruction and travel training
  • Provides staff development/training in best practices
  • Hosts informational family workshops in coordination with other agencies that provide services to students and adults with disabilities
  • Provides parent support and assistance
  • Facilitates linkages to adult services
  • Provides consultation to IEP Teams regarding development of individual transition plans

Transition Information

Parent/Student Resources

Development of Transition Plan in the IEP
During the IEP year in which the student turns 14 1/2, and each year after that, a transition plan will be included in the student's IEP. Please see the Transition Service Plan Guidelines for details on what should be included in a Transition Plan within and IEP.

Family Planning Resources
Transitioning from high school into adult life is exciting, but it can be daunting. For individuals with disabilities and their families there are many unique considerations. The ARC of Illinois has created this manual to support families during this time.

As a family, what should you be thinking about and when? Please see the Building Bridges to the Future Manual in both English and Spanish for a comprehensive guide to transition planning based on your child's age.

As a parent, are you having trouble deciding where to start? Please use this questionnaire to start your thinking about your son/daughter's transition.

Did you know that CPS offers Travel Training services to increase students' independence in navigating their community? You can learn more by reading this brochure and watching the following video.

Have you heard about self-determination? Self-determination is all about having the skills needed to take control of one's life. Please visit to learn more.

As a parent, have you thought about what happens when your child turns 18 and guardianship considerations? Please visit the Illinois Legal Aid website for more information.

Post-Secondary Linkages

As part of his/her transition to life after high school, a student with a disability may require supports and services from an adult provider. This can be for students who will be participating in higher education programs, vocational training programs, work settings, or community settings. Early planning is essential to ensure students with disabilities have access to the resources they need in adulthood.

The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center has detailed key differences in high school and college or adult services for students with disabilities.

The following state agencies provide supports to adults with disabilities deemed eligible:

Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS): DRS works with individuals with disabilities and their family members to assist them in making informed choices to attain full community participation through employment, education, and independent living opportunities. A student with a disability may be eligible for DRS services if the disability causes problems in preparing for, finding, or keeping a job. A referral should be made to DRS especially if there is a need for assistance in transition to employment or if a student needs additional skill development after high school to succeed in the work force. For more information on the referral process, please see the Making a Referral to DRS document. Please visit the DRS website.

Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities: If an individual with a developmental disability is seeking adult services and supports through the DHS Division of Developmental Disabilities, the point of entry is with the Pre-Admissions Screening (PAS) agencies. Please read this  help document for more information regarding becoming linked to a PAS Agency for referral to the PUNS list.

City Colleges of Chicago Information on supports for students with disabilities at the City Colleges of Chicago can be found here:  

Contact Information

Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services
Transition Services

42 W. Madison
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Phone (773) 553-1800
Fax (773) 553-1801


Page Last Modified on Wednesday, September 25, 2019