Transition Resources

In making the transition from the school years to adult life, students who are blind or visually impaired need information and advice specific to their needs. In this section you'll find resources for students, parents, families, and professionals.

Ardis Bazyn and Sheila Styron share advice, from the student's perspective, on how to make college a successful experience. They cover a range of topics, including Choosing the Right College or University, Using Disabled Student Services, Knowing the Laws that Affect You, Training and Recruiting Readers and Drivers, Working your guide dog on campus, Auxiliary Aids and Services for Students with Disabilities, and Contacting Advocacy Organizations of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Source: American Council of the Blind

This site provides a good overview on the effect of visual impairments on learning, types of assistive technology, and the kinds of accommodations provided at colleges. Includes a list of scholarships and grants.

Source: Affordable Colleges Online

This 185-page guide addresses the importance of self-determination, student involvement in the transition process, instruction and assessment, and much more (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

Source: Council for Exceptional Children

This article suggests bringing a buddy to an IEP meeting, and also lists strategies for parents to try if it appears that the meeting will be stressful; also available in Spanish.

Source: Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

Identifies various types of transition assessment, guidelines for conducting an assessment, and criteria for selection of assessment tools.

Source: National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC)

This document helps parents prepare their children for legal majority. It explains guardianship, the transfer of rights, and considerations about graduation.

Source: National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET)

A helpful checklist of features to consider when searching for a living situation for an elder with visual impairment. Includes environmental, staff, and policy issues.

Source: VisionAware

A discussion of community-based rehabilitation, a description of projects in Uganda, and recommendations that are applicable to projects in other locations. Also available in PDF.

Source: Community Eye Health Journal

The necessity of understanding and integrating local culture into community-based rehabilitation programs. Also available in PDF.

Source: Community Eye Health Journal

This chapter from Sustainable Development and Persons with Disabilities: The Process of Self-Empowerment introduces community-based rehabilitation and assesses its possibilities and limitations.

Source: Africa Development Forum

This overview of community-based rehabilitation has links to related documents, including a matrix for designing a CBR strategy.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

In this 30-minute webcast, Mary Zatta describes the purpose and components of a vocational portfolio, and discusses the importance of development processes.

For more information on this topic, see this title from Perkins Publications: School to Work - Developing Transitional Portfolios for Students with Significant Disabilities

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

This resource is available for sale in print at the site in the title, and is free for download at the links that follow. It offers state and local education agencies a framework from which meaningful, appropriate programming for students who are deafblind can be developed. These guidelines identify the knowledge and skills educators need to assist their students who are deafblind reach their full potential and become successful, contributing members of our society.  Developed by leaders in the field of deafblindness, guide offers insight on implications of combined vision and hearing loss on learning and the need for specialized assessment, program planning and service delivery.

Best Practices: Designed for educational administrators at all levels – state, local and program. Guide addresses key aspects of addressing student communication needs, building a staff and developing a team approach.

Chapter 1: Foundations (Download PDF)
This chapter describes the skills and knowledge that educators must possess in order to teach children who are deafblind. This group of children presents very diverse and complex educational needs. Critical areas of educational programming need to address the development of communication, appropriate assessment, and working with families.

Chapter 2: Educational Personnel (Download PDF)
The student who is deafblind is usually served by a large, diverse educational team. The term educational personnel refers to those persons providing services within an educational setting. Programs serving students with deafblindness should have appropriately qualified team members and provide ongoing supervision, mentoring, and professional development. To ensure that quality services are provided, at least one member of this team (a deafblind specialist) should have an in-depth knowledge and expertise in deafblindness adequate to assure equal access to the student who is deafblind to all aspects of the learning environment. This chapter presents the issues that should be considered by educational personnel who serve students who are deafblind.

Chapter 3: Assessment (Download PDF)
The assessment of students who are deafblind is challenging. There are no standardized tests specifically designed for deafblindness. The reason is that there is no typical student who is deafblind who can serve as the norm upon which to base assessment or evaluation tools. Often, students have varying degrees of sensory losses and additional cognitive, physical and emotional challenges. Each of these factors and their combined impact must be carefully considered, and the student should be assessed in a holistic way. This chapter presents the factors that must be considered in order for an assessment to be a fair appraisal of students’ abilities, challenges, and priorities for instruction.

Chapter 4: Services and Placement Options (Download PDF)
This chapter provides an overview of the issues surrounding services and placement options for children who are deafblind. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004 requires that an array of services and placement options be available to students with disabilities. The goal of placement in the least restrictive environment (LRE) will only be realized when the student has full access to the curriculum and educational environment in his/her communication forms, has authentic interactions with both peers and professional personnel, and achieves high educational performance standards (National Association of State Directors of Special Education [NASDSE], 2006, p. 51). The services provided for students who are deafblind must be well coordinated and implemented in a collaborative manner to meet the identified needs of the student.

Chapter 5: Supportive Structure and Administration (Download PDF)
Deafblindness is a low-incidence disability; therefore, it is important that state and local administrators work collaboratively and creatively with existing resources and develop new resources when necessary to expand state capacity and to assure that students have quality IEPs/ITPs developed by teams that have expertise in deafblindness. A common challenge is that state and local educational administrators are often unaware that some of their special education students are deafblind because those students, especially when they have multiple disabilities, are counted under different categories of disabilities.

Appendix A (Download PDF)
Competencies for Teachers of Learners Who Are Deafblind (1997) B. McLetchie & M. Riggio, Eds. These are statements of knowledge and skills required for teachers of learners who are deafblind. At the core of the teacher competencies is the teacher’s ability to build a strong, trusting, personal relationship with the learner. Based upon a trusting relationship, teachers can use their specialized competencies in deafblindness to assist the learner in developing his or her own personal and social competence.

Appendix B (Download PDF)
Excerpt from: The NTAC Outcome and Performance Indicators: A System for Documenting Outcomes for Children and Youth with Deaf-Blindness, their Families, and the Service Providers and Systems that Serve Them.

Appendix C (Download PDF)
Recommendations on the Training of Interveners for Students who are Deafblind (2004) Alsop, L. et. al. This document outlines training practices and competencies recommended for intervener training. The document addresses many of the issues identified by the Intervener Task Force and later the Community of Practice Focusing on Interveners and Paraprofessionals. It includes a common understanding of the definition and role of an intervener, a list of recommended competencies, levels of learning for staff development and training, recommended training practices and a checklist of considerations for developing an intervener training system.

Appendix D (Download PDF)
Competencies for Training Interveners to Work with Children/Students with Deafblindness (2004) Alsop, L. This is a copy of the validation survey used to determine the appropriateness of each competency listed for interveners working one-to-one with students who are deafblind.

Source: Perkins School for the Blind

This 8-page brief provides an introduction to the transition process, including taking an early, long-range approach to planning, developing a comprehensive plan, an overview of participants in developing the transition plan, transferring rights at the age of majority, and putting it all together.

Source: ERIC Digest

Towson University (MD) offers an online course to introduce advocates to how to use traditional and online media advocacy techniques to build awareness of disability issues. The course uses readings and media resources to guide participants through 12 self-paced units. Certificate of Completion is available.

Source: Towson University

Frequently asked questions on the housing rights of people with disabilities, and the legal responsibilities of housing providers and building and design professionals.


This site now houses the resources from NICHCY, including Babies and Early Interventionists. In addition, there are also sections on: Child Care, Child Outcomes, Family Outcomes, IFSP, and Transition.

Source: Center for Parent Information and Resources

Educational Advocacy is a self-directed tutorial that addresses topics of educational advocacy for parents, educators, and policymakers. Continuing education credits are available.

Source: Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind

A review of teaching and intervention practices in transition services, with an evaluation of which practices correlate to a good transition outcome.

Source: NSTTAC