Adolescent Health Transition Project
Why Health?
Health in the IEP
For School Nurses

Involving the Teen

The focus of all the efforts of family and school staff is the teen or young adult!

lDEA 2004 requires that the young person be invited to any IEP meeting where his or her transition will be discussed. The young person is not required to attend, and many avoid any involvement in the process. However, the quality of the plan has the potential to be much better if the person who is being planned for participates! Supporting the teen to take charge and practice self advocacy during the Transition IEP meeting can be a very empowering approach. The young person who is able to take charge of even a portion of their own IEP meeting is given a big boost of confidence at a time in their life when it can really make a difference!

Resources for involving the young person:

transition toolkitThe PDF document Transition Tool Kit from the New Hampshire Parent Information Center on Special Education offers the following suggestions for encouraging youth participation:

  • Begin early. Many youth find it is difficult to start being involved when they are in high school because by then they may have developed negative feelings about special education. Find ways to involve them earlier.
  • Help them prepare – Teach about the special education and transition process. Youth also need to know about their IEP and its purpose. Youth often report feeling frustrated by being invited to an IEP meeting and not know what is going on. They need to be taught the “lingo” and vocabulary and effective communication strategies.
  • Self-awareness – Youth need to have an awareness and understanding of their disability, learning styles, strengths and needs.
  • Give them the skills – Youth need to be taught self-advocacy and communication skills.
  • Provide opportunities for involvement – Youth need multiple ways to be involved and have options beyond just attending an IEP meeting. Not all youth will go to a meeting. Their lack of willingness to attend does not mean they do not have anything important to say. Some youth have simply never been asked to attend a meeting in a way they understood or felt their input was truly wanted. From a youth’s perspective, the focus of IEP meetings is on filling out the IEP and not listening to what they have to say. To youth, it seems that piece of paper is running the meeting.

To learn more about the NH approach, and download sections or the entire tool kit, go here:

Other Resources

PDF document = PDF file. To view and print PDF files, you must download Adobe Acrobat Reader. Get Adobe Reader



This project is housed at the Center on Human Development and Disability (CHDD) at the University of Washington
Box 357920, Seattle, WA 98195-7920 | 206.685.1350 | Fax: 206.598.7815
© 2012| Privacy and Terms |Contact: