Education and Transition

Autism Spectrum Disorders: Transition to Adulthood

  • Transition to Adulthood is one of the free online training modules offered by the University of Missouri Thompson Center for individuals with ASD, their families, and community professionals. The module provides information regarding key life areas essential to a successful transition, such as health, safety, community living, and employment, as well as information about when to begin transition in each area and the available resources for families and providers.

Training Module Series from the University of Missouri Thompson Center

  • This free, online training module series provides information and training related to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The modules discuss a variety of topics, from the characteristics and screening processes to the process of transitioning to adulthood for individuals with ASD. Four of the five modules are intended for any care provider or family member, while one is specific to medical providers. 

We Connect Now

  • This website provides information and support to help college students with disabilities remain informed, connected, and successful in higher education and employment. The site provides website links, blogs, news, and information on current laws and events, while personal stories and interviews provide support. The site also provides job postings and search tips. Also available in Spanish:

Look! I'm in College!

  • Look! I'm in College! is a half-hour documentary about NYC public school students with autism who attended college and have now begun work. The film follows the four young men through their journey in education at Pace University. It also introduces viewers to the teachers and educators who made their education possible. 

Autism Speaks Transition Toolkit

  • This guide was created to ease the transition to adulthood for young people with autism. Families will gain a greater understanding of how to support their child during this time. Some topics in this toolkit include: self-advocacy skills, community living, employment and many more. This guide gives families options to explore and the opportunities available for their child. It leads families through the transition process from beginning to end. The kit is available as a free download at the link provided above.


  • CONNECT Modules were created to enable parents and teachers to better promote early childhood skills in children with disabilities. Young children benefit from being in the same environment as their general education peers to provide a foundation for later self-determination. These four modules include: Embedded Interventions, Transition, Communication for Collaboration and Family-Professional Partnerships. Each one includes activities, videos and handouts to teach children and support staff how to participate in their learning. This site also includes additional helpful resources for parents and teachers.

The University of Okalahoma- Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment

  • Transition education materials: Student-directed transition planning lesson materials and transition education higher education class materials, Self-determination assessment tools: AIR Self-Determination Assessment, the ARC Self-Determination Scale, and Field & Hoffman Self-Determination Assessment, and Self-determination assessment educational materials: ChoiceMaker Self-Determination Transition Curriculum, IEP Team Education Module (including PowerPoint), It's Not Easy (interview slide show), and Who's Future Is It Anyway? 2nd Edition (package available for no charge). 

State-Level Efforts to Recruit and Retain Qualified Special Education Personnel Including Related Service Providers

  • Providing adequate education and accommodations for students with disabilities is critical to self-determination. For the past three years, the number of qualified special education teachers has been decreasing. It is a continuing challenge for the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) to recruit and keep skilled special education teachers. In an effort to discover what recruitment methods individual states are finding success with, Personnel Improvement Center and Project Forum conducted a survey of all the state education agencies (SEAs). This analysis details what activities states are using to recruit and increase retention. Common approaches include job fairs, professional development opportunities and collaboration with teacher preparation programs.

Great Ideas: Using Service-Learning and Differentiated Instruction to Help Your Students Succeed. Gent, P. (2009).

  • This hands-on guide shows K-12 educators methods to promote service-learning in classrooms across the country. From planning and funding to monitoring results, this book guides readers step-by-step through the service-learning process. Students will enhance their job skills and develop a positive self-image through their service-learning experiences.

Quick Guides to Inclusion: Ideas for Educating Students with Disabilities, Vol. 1 Giangreco, M.& Ayres, B. (1997).

  • This book provides busy K-12 teachers with a quick, pleasant, and practical guide to including students with disabilities in general education classrooms. With this user-friendly guidebook, educators will have a source for fast, real-world advice on key inclusion topics such as using universal design for learning, listening to students’ perspectives, and conducting community-based instruction.

Restructuring for Caring and Effective Education: Piecing the Puzzle Together. 2nd ed., Villa, R.& Thousand, J. (1999).

  • This new edition reflects the broad changes in special and general education and shows the vital roles of students, faculty, and families in creating and maintaining inclusive schools and classrooms. Readers will learn curriculum, instruction, and assessment in inclusive classrooms, strategies for mutual teaming and co-teaching, ways to motivate students, and a framework for understanding and facilitating systems change.

Steps to Independence: Teaching Everyday Skills to Children with Special Needs. 4th ed., Baker, B.& Brightman, A. (2003).

  • This animated book gives parents of children from age 3 through young adulthood strategies for teaching children the life skills to live as independently as possible. Parents will learn the basics of skill teaching, behavior problem management, and supporting independence with this step-by-step guidebook. This fourth edition also includes links to useful web pages and a new chapter on strengthening partnerships with other teachers.

Peer Support Strategies for Improving All Students' Social Lives and Learning. Carter, E., Cushing, L., & Kennedy, C. (2008).

  • This all-inclusive guide is an absolute necessity for all middle and high school educators. It offers a step-by-step guide on implementing and promoting peer support strategies to help students achieve academic goals, make new friends and live full lives.

Listening to the Experts: Students with Disabilities Speak Out. Keefe, E., Moore, V., Duff, F., & Fisher, D. (2006).

  • This unique book offers readers an exclusive look at students with disabilities’ experiences in the classroom. They offer insight such as feelings about special education, the characteristics of good educators, and practices that facilitated their performance in the classroom. A necessity for all educators, this book presents the information needed for valuable teaching practices and ways to include all students in intellectual challenges.

Young Children's Behavior: Practical Approaches for Caregivers and Teachers. 3rd ed., Porter, L. (2008).

  • This updated edition helps teachers and caregivers develop appropriate techniques for solving preschool children’s behavioral problems in an affirmative way. All of the suggestions for building children’s self esteem and insight into specific behaviors found in the first editions are still included. Readers will also discover information on sensory integration difficulties and behavioral differences in gender.

The Transition Handbook: Strategies High School Teachers Use That Work! Hughes, C.& Carter, E. (1999).

  • This user-friendly resource includes practical strategies, supported with the latest research that secondary school teachers can use with students who have disabilities, who are at risk for failure, or who need further support making the transition from high school to adult life. These strategies help develop supports in the school, at work, and in the community while they boost students' social capability. Teachers will enjoy the handbook's easy-to-use, menu style format that lets them turn to the applicable strategies they need without having to read the entire book.

Going to College: Expanding Opportunities for People with Disabilities. Getzel, E.&Wehman, P. (2005).

  • With this research-based book, readers will learn what they can do to make this crucial opportunity of going to college available to young people with a wide range of disabilities. Professionals who work in high schools and colleges will use this book to help students prepare, transition, and thrive in college and the working world. Also included are case studies, best practices, program guidelines, and strategies for success.

Universal Design for Transition: A Roadmap for Planning and Instruction. Thoma, C., Bartholomew, C., & Scott, L. (2009).

  • This book helps transition specialists and educators learn how to assist in the transition of students with disabilities during the critical middle- and high-school years. Educators will learn how to help students achieve academic goals, make sound decisions about their future, and make a successful transition to adult life. Readers get practical guidance, teaching tips, and case studies that clearly demonstrate how to present information and skills in multiple settings in a variety of engaging ways.

Teaching Students with Mental Retardation: Providing Access to the General Curriculum. Wehmeyer, M.L. , Sands, D., Knowlton, E., & Kozleski, E. (2001).

  • Combining research-based theory with step-by-step processes and planning forms, this useful text is the helpful in building curricula that include students with mental retardation and meet their individual needs. Teachers and educators will find the assistance, research, and realistic strategies necessary to make certain that students with mental retardation or other support needs have access to the general curriculum.

Steps to Self-Determination: A Curriculum to Help Adolescents Learn to Achieve Their Goals. Hoffman. A.& Field, S. (2005).

  • This book gives educators a curriculum designed to help students in secondary education set goals for the future. This includes identifying strengths and weaknesses, assessing needs, and establishing communication and negotiation skills.

Promoting Social Success: A Curriculum for Children with Special Needs. Gary N. Siperstein, Ph.D., & Emily Paige Rickards, M.A.

  • This easy-to-use guide offers elementary school teachers a research-based curriculum designed to develop and enhance young students’ social and cognitive skills both inside and outside the classroom. Through these 66 activity-based lessons, students will learn emotional and behavioral regulation, problem solving and decision making skills, how to set and achieve social goals and how to improve their overall social skills. Every lesson focuses on a different aspect of social development. Other helpful materials include student handouts, newsletters for parents, and additional resource lists.

Self-Advocacy Skills for Students with Learning Disabilities: Making it Happen in College and Beyond. Reiff, H. (2007).

  • This book offers revolutionary research about promoting self-advocacy in students with disabilities. It offers readers strategies and resources to learn the skills they need to be successful in and after college.

Promoting Self-Determination In Students with Developmental Disabilities (What Works for Special Needs Learners). Wehmeyer, M. L. (2007).

  • This volume reviews the span of accessible methods for teaching components of self-determination including choice making, problem solving, decision making, goal setting, self-advocacy, and self-regulated learning. It provides recommendations that teachers can put to use in the classroom. The strategies included have been shown to boost students' involvement in educational planning and support them in meeting their goals in school, the workplace, and the community.

The Handbook of Self-Determination Research. Deci, E. (2002).

  • This book summarizes the research of 30 psychologists who believe in the importance of self-determination for understanding basic motivational processes in order to solve real-world problems. Each of the 18 chapters focuses on issues in the self-regulation of behavior and up-to-date accounts of their research programs concerned with the self-determination of human behavior.

National Alliance for Secondary Education and Transition toolkit

  • This guide offers school systems and communities some solutions and tools to improve student achievement and transition to the workplace. It details what youth need to actively participate in employment and adulthood including the programs and services the state needs to provide. It includes research on current effective techniques used in schools and touches on the importance of family and community involvement in promoting national standards for secondary education. It offers self-assessment and goal-setting tools to help programs/states/or regions identify strengths and weaknesses. The need for national standards for secondary education is vital and this guide details what those standards mean.

Self-Determination Guide: Promoting Findings and Strategies from a Survey of Wisconsin Paraprofessionals

  • This inclusive tool uses the findings from a survey of Wisconsin Paraprofessionals to discover the most effective ways to teach self-determination at the elementary and secondary education levels. Promoting self-determination at an early age is an essential part of successful development for youth with disabilities. This guide aims to provide paraprofessionals with the strategies and techniques necessary to actively promote self-determination skills and knowledge in the classroom. It evaluates seven different areas of self-determination including choice-making, decision-making, problem-solving, goal-setting, self-advocacy, self-regulation, and self-awareness with resources and examples of how to teach each of these skills.

Charting the Course: Supporting the Career Development of Youth with Learning Disabilities

  • This in-depth guide offers professionals, practitioners, and administrators involved in education a comprehensive tool to help young adults with disabilities transition from education to the workforce. Through various models and reference charts, professionals will learn how to improve outcomes for students and young adults to establish themselves as adults and find the most suitable vocation. The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth created this manual to increase awareness and promote a different way of thinking to better support young people with disabilities. Chapter 4 focuses on Leadership and Self-Determination.

The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities

  • This workbook is intended to assist young people with disabilities help make informed decisions on disclosing their disability in educational, employment, and social settings. The first chapter addresses self-determination. It includes what disclosure is, individual rights and responsibilities regarding disclosure, and how and when it is appropriate to disclose one’s disability. Each chapter contains a discussion section and activities for individuals to practice disclosure scenarios. This guide helps young people with disabilities make informed decisions about disability disclosure.

  • National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth. (2005). The 411 on Disability Disclosure Workbook. Washington, DC: Institute for Educational Leadership.

"It's My Choice"

  • “It’s My Choice” by William T. Allen includes a 90-page downloadable pdf document and audio file to support individuals with disabilities to consider planning for the future. A number of topics appear, such as transition from school to adulthood, employment, housing, quality of life, and self-advocacy. Activities and checklists can be used independently or in a group setting with unlimited copying or alteration of materials granted. The text is available in Spanish, as well as in workbook format. After clicking the link, scroll down on the page that opens to access this product.

Self-Determination: Supporting Successful Transition

  • A research to practice brief written by Bremer, Kachgal, and Schoeller in April 2003 still applies to individuals with special needs transitioning to adulthood.   The article contains a chart of tips intended for professionals and families for promoting self-determination for youth with disabilities.

Who I Can Be Is Up to Me: Lessons in Self-Exploration and Self-Determination for Students with Disabilities in Learning

  • This program guide includes 15 lessons to help teachers implement self-determination strategies into their curriculum. These activities include recognizing strengths and weaknesses and preparing students with disabilities for the challenges they may face at home, at school and in the community. Students will learn how to explain their disabilities and ask for extra assistance when necessary.

Think College! Postsecondary Education Options for Students with Intellectual Disabilities

  • This vital resource for educators reveals the reality of today's postsecondary options and the best ways to support students with disabilities in the transition to college. This book provides first-person narratives from students and families of the benefits and difficulties of postsecondary education. Educators will get useful tools to construct effective programs for students with disabilities.