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Tennessee Transition Resources

“Transition” refers to the process of navigating, or working through, changes in an individual’s services at key points throughout his/her life. Transition planning begins in childhood and continues throughout the lifespan to help individuals and families anticipate and prepare for the future.

Important transitions for individuals with disabilities may include:

Transition into Early Intervention Services (Birth to 2 years)

Tennessee Special Education Resources

Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS)
Offers a range of services designed to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities, from birth to 2 years, and their families. Through this comprehensive system of early intervention, services provided are:

  • Educational, behaviorial, functional, and psychological assessments
  • Various Therapies including: Behaviorial, Physical, Occupational, Speech & Language
  • Develop ideas for how a family can expand learning opportunities for their child at home and within the community,
  • Access counseling to benefit each child’s unique style of learning and growing

For information about and access to TEIS services, contact your local TEIS District Office.

Pathfinder Resources

Database of Services: Relevant keywords may include: Child Care Programs, IDEA Information and/or Training Programs, or Special Education Programs.

Other Resources

Alignment Nashville: The mission is to bring community organizations and resources into alignment so that their coordinated support of Nashville’s youth has a positive impact on public school success, children’s health, and the success of our community as a whole.

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Act Early Program: Comprehensive information on early childhood development includes printable resources and fact sheets on developmental milestones and developmental disabilities.

Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Tennessee (DLAC): Services provided are advocacy, legal services, and training for families regarding educational rights.

Family Voices of Tennessee: is a program of the Tennessee Disability Coalition, which provides advocacy and training to families on navigating the health care system. Family Voices assist families with transitioning from pediatric care into the adult healthcare system.

Tennessee Voices for Children: provides advocacy and training for families whose children have emotional, behavioral, and/or mental health diagnosis.

Zero to Three: Resources for families, professionals, and policymakers about early childhood development.

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Transition from Early Intervention Services to School Services

(3 years to 22 years)

A child with a disability is eligible for services from the school system from age 3 through age 22.

From Early Intervention Services to School Services

Transition planning from early intervention services through Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS) to school services should occur between 9 months to 90 days before a child's 3rd birthday:

  • Parent/Guardian(s) must request, in writing, a meeting with the school district (Local Education Agency or LEA) and the assigned TEIS Service Coordinator to discuss a child's eligibility for special education services.
  • At this meeting, or Transition Conference, your child's eligibility for special education services will be determined by the school district.
  • If eligible for Special Education services, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting will be scheduled to determine academic goals and relevant educational services. This meeting must take place before a child's 3rd birthday.
  • If not eligible for Special Education services, the TEIS Coordinator will discuss alternative community-based options.
  • Tennessee Special Education Resources

    Tennessee Early Intervention System Transition brochure: provides information about transition services available through TEIS. Last Revised in August 2009

    Tennessee Special Education Manual: provides information about services available through the Tennessee Department of Education, Special Education Division. Last Revised in 2010

    The Tennessee Department of Education, Transition Services provides information on secondary transition services and helps families to prepare children for adulthood.

    Pathfinder Resources

    Database of Services: Relevant keywords may include: Advocacy, Child Care Programs, Employment Services/Vocational Training, IDEA Information and/or Training Programs, Special Education Programs.

    School-Age (3-22 years)

    Self Advocacy Organizations and Programs in Tennessee

    Understanding School-Based Plans in Tennessee

    Other Resources

    Access Americorps: is an inclusion program for individuals with disabilities of Americorp. AmeriCorps members receive benefits in exchange for a term (10-12 months) of full-time service (1700 hours). During a term of service members receive a living allowance and at the completion of 1700 hours, an educational award that can be applied toward future educational training or to repay student loans.

    Alignment Nashville: The mission is to bring community organizations and resources into alignment so that their coordinated support of Nashville’s youth has a positive impact on public school success, children’s health, and the success of our community as a whole.

    Arc Tennessee, Secondary Transition Project: Educates families and students on the process of Secondary Transition including assessment, information gathering, planning, family and student involvement, interagency collaboration, and inclusive community experiences; helps students explore realistic possibilities for adult life and a meaningful future.

    Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Tennessee (DLAC): Services provided are advocacy, legal services, and training for families regarding educational rights.

    Family Voices of Tennessee: is a program of the Tennessee Disability Coalition, which provides advocacy and training to families on navigating the health care system. Family Voices assist families with transitioning from pediatric care into the adult healthcare system.

    Project Opportunity: is a career training and employment program for students with disabilities, ages 18 years - 22 years. Students are trained, both in a classroom setting as well as “on the job,” to be competitive applicants for existing positions within the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and community at large.

    Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation Services: provides an array of services to help individuals with disabilites to compete in the job market.

    Tennessee Voices for Children: provides advocacy and training for families whose children have emotional, behavioral, and/or mental health diagnosis.

    TennesseeWorks.org: is an information hub for employment resources for individuals with disabilities. The website was developed by the Tennessee Collaborative for Meaningful Work, which is focused on obtaining equal access to employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    Think College: is a website that provides resources for students and families who are preparing for post secondary education.

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    Transition from School Services to Adult Life (23 years and older)

    This transition includes educational programs and/or vocational training that prepare students with disabilities for adulthood after secondary education services have concluded.

    A child is entitled to receive Special Education and related services until age 22. It is important that a student’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) addresses transition issues during the secondary school years.

    Comprehensive planning well in advance will make the transition from school to adult life as seamless as possible.

    Tennessee Special Education Resources

    The Tennessee Department of Education, Transition Services provides information on secondary transition services and helps families to prepare children for adulthood.

    Pathfinder Resources

    Database of Services: Relevant keywords may include: Advocacy, Employment Services/Vocational Training, or Secondary Transition Programs

    Employment Resources

    Post-Secondary Education Resources

    Self Advocacy Organizations and Programs in Tennessee

    Other Resources

    Access Americorps: is an inclusion program for individuals with disabilities of Americorp. AmeriCorps members receive benefits in exchange for a term (10-12 months) of full-time service (1700 hours). During a term of service members receive a living allowance and at the completion of 1700 hours, an educational award that can be applied toward future educational training or to repay student loans.

    Alignment Nashville: The mission is to bring community organizations and resources into alignment so that their coordinated support of Nashville’s youth has a positive impact on public school success, children’s health, and the success of our community as a whole.

    Arc of Tennessee, Secondary Transition Project: Educates families and students on the process of Secondary Transition including assessment, information gathering, planning, family and student involvement, interagency collaboration, and inclusive community experiences; helps students explore realistic possibilities for adult life and a meaningful future.

    Benefits To Work, a program to assist Social Security beneficiaries and recipients with disabilities who are exploring career development. The Center for Independent Living of Middle Tennessee operates the program for residents in parts of Middle & West Tennessee and Tennessee Disability Coalition operates the program for residents in parts of Middle & East Tennessee.

    Center on Disability and Employment (CDE) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville: provides research and outreach services for people with disabilities in the area of employment.

    Disability Law and Advocacy Center of Tennessee (DLAC): Services provided are advocacy, legal services, and training for families regarding educational rights.

    Emerging Leaders: a program that places college students with disabilities in fulfilling summer internships and provides them with leadership development opportunities.

    Employer Assistance & Resource Network (EARN): An initiative by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides tools and resources for jobseekers with disabilities and assist employers in the recruitment of employees with disabilities.

    Family Voices of Tennessee: is a program of the Tennessee Disability Coalition, which provides advocacy and training to families on navigating the health care system. Family Voices assist families with transitioning from pediatric care into the adult healthcare system.

    Job Accommodation Network (JAN): A service provided by the U.S. Labor Department, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) which provides information on job accommodations, self-employment, and small business opportunities.

    Next Steps at Vanderbilt University: A 2-year certification program for students with intellectual disabilities, providing individualized Programs of Study in the areas of education, social skills, and vocational training.

    Project Opportunity: is a career training and employment program for students with disabilities, ages 18 years - 22 years. Students are trained, both in a classroom setting as well as “on the job,” to be competitive applicants for existing positions within the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and community at large.

    Tennessee Career Centers: provides resources and job bank for individuals with disabilities.

    Tennessee Department of Education, Division of Career and Technical Education: provides resources on vocational education and training.

    Tennessee Small Business Centers provide business counseling and vocational training referrals.

    Tennessee Vocational Rehabilitation Services: provides an array of services to help individuals with disabilites to compete in the job market.

    Tennessee Voices for Children: provides advocacy and training for families whose children have emotional, behavioral, and/or mental health diagnosis.

    TennesseeWorks.org: is an information hub for employment resources for individuals with disabilities. The website was developed by the Tennessee Collaborative for Meaningful Work, which is focused on obtaining equal access to employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    Think College: is a website that provides resources for students and families who are preparing for post secondary education.

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See Also...

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Links

Other Links and Resources

  • TN Department of Education: Special Education Tools and Resources
  • The Lifespan Transitions Center at OCALI
    The Lifespan Transitions Center at OCALI (Ohio Center for Autism & Low Incidence) offers resources, training, technical assistance, and consultation to support the successful transition of individuals with autism and multiple disabilities throughout their school careers and into their adult lives. Resources address community living and employment.
  • Impact Newsletter: How College Benefits Us: Students with Intellectual Disabilities Speak Out
    Staff from the Institute for Community Inclusion, at the University of Massachusetts Boston, asked 50 students with intellectual disabilities who have participated in inclusive college experiences to share how they perceive they have benefited from attending college. Below are some of their comments on six different aspects of college life.
  • LearningPort
    A free online professional development library of education resources developed by the IDEA Partnership.
  • National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC)
    NSTTAC is a national Technical Assistance and Dissemination center. The mission of the NSTTAC is the full implementation of IDEA, to assist youth with disabilities and their families achieve desired post-school outcomes. Also, to assist states to build capacity in order to support and improve transition planning, services, and outcomes for youth with disabilities
  • National Alliance for Secondary Education and Transition
    The National Alliance for Secondary Education and Transition (NASET) is a national voluntary coalition of more than 40 organizations and advocacy groups representing special education, general education, career and technical education, youth development, multicultural perspectives, and parents.
  • HEATH Resource Center
    National clearinghouse on postsecondary education for persons with disabilities. It is supported by the U.S. Department of Education. HEATH has information about educational support services, policies, procedures, adaptations, and opportunities at American campuses, vocational-technical schools, and other postsecondary training entities.
  • Positive Educational Planning: A Guide to Thoughtful Preparation for the Educational Planning Process
    Positive Educational Planning is a simple planning portfolio that guides family members to reflect and share what they know of their child as a learner and a family member. The portfolio is sequenced in a way that presents the child as a complete and unique individual first. It then addresses broad aspects of their learning characteristics and concludes with consideration of learning priorities for the future. In it, you will find an example from one child’s family as illustration of the portfolio’s consideration points. You will also find a blank set of reproducible pages that can be used to create a portfolio for your own child.

Printable Materials and Resources