In the United States today, there are approximately 10,000 children diagnosed as being deafblind. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides that “Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society. Improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities.”

As your child transitions from early childhood services to the public/private school environment, your active participation in the development and advocacy of his/her Individualized Education Program (IEP) becomes of paramount importance. There are numerous resources and organizations, including the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children (ODE OEC), available to increase your knowledge and insight to the many nuances of the IEP, and the IEP process. You need to take the time to fully understand the rights that have been afforded to your child by the IDEA. The ODE OEC has developed a comprehensive guide titled “Whose IDEA is this?” to assist you in understand procedural safeguard process. You can access the document at www.ode.education.oh.us

As your child begins approaching the age of 14, your focus should begin shifting towards post-secondary transition planning, goal setting and the development of a transition plan. Your child must be an integral part of this integral task and should be an included in all meetings in which transition is being discussed. OCDBE has a developed a Post-Secondary Transition manual which you may access within the Deafblind Information tab. In addition, there are numerous resources available on the web addressing Post-Secondary transition to assist you with this critical phase of your child’s journey.

As graduation approaches, you must engage in a discussion about whether your child will accept their diploma and take that next step which you have documented in their post-secondary transition plan. Or, exercise the option of staying in the public school setting and receive additional education and training. This option is provided within the IDEA and should be considered carefully on a case by case basis.

Post-secondary options are aplenty and are available. However, careful and successful planning through the post-secondary transition planning process will determine the success and or failure of the plan.