Transitions from Starting School to Adulthood
Transitions are a part of life as children grow up, start school, change schools and leave school. Change can be full of excitement, however at the same time it can be confusing and cause anxiety over what lies ahead.
What is a transition?
For a child with a disability a transition occurs when there is a change between two settings or between services and support programs.
Children and families face many transitions, including:
- When the child first starts school
- From grade to grade
- Between elementary to senior elementary school
- From elementary to secondary school
- From secondary school to College/University/Work Force/Community Living
Many students struggle with change and some parents struggle with “letting go” as their child grows up. For students with disabilities, issues may be compounded by the need for:
- Special equipment
- Health and personal care supports at school
- Special education programs and services
The following tips help parents to prepare themselves, as well as their child, for transitions.
Tip Sheets are also available in
Note: These Tip Sheets have been developed through a Parents Reaching Out Grant, from the Ontario Ministry of Education Parent Engagement Office, in partnership with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and the Ontario Association of Children’s Rehabilitation Services (OACRS).
Parent Transition Tip Sheets
- Parent Tips for Successful Transitions
- Parent Tips for Transitions from Hospital or Care and Treatment Programs to Home or School
- Parent Tips on Accessibility during Transitions
- Parent Tips for Transition of Health and Personal Care Supports
- Parent Tips on Transition of Equipment
Student Transition Tip Sheets
Tip sheets on Helping Your Child
- Parent Tips on Preparing Children and Youth for Transitions
- Tips on Preparing Children and Youth to be Self Advocates
- Website Resources to Support Transitions (Sorted by Topic)
Additional information on the Easter Seals Ontario website:
The organizations and resources listed below can offer support to help you through transitions.
- ARCH Disability Law Centre website, telephone: (416) 482-8255 or toll-free: 1-866-482-2724
- Attendant Services
- Education Law
- Services for Persons with Intellectual Disability
- CanCHILD Centre for Childhood Disability, phone: (905) 525-9140 ext. 27850
- The KIT: Keeping it Together™ is an organizational tool available in two versions, one for parents, and one for the youth, developed by CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, and the Hamilton Family Network. It is a way to organize information, and to assist parents, and youth when interacting with different service systems, for example health, education, and recreation.
- Taking the Leap: Helping Children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) transition to High School
- A Guide for Educators
- A Guide for Teens with Cerebral Palsy (CP)
- A Guide for Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy (CP)
- Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) provincial website, phone: (416) 750-1720
- Find your local CCAC
- Specialized Health Services
- School Health Support Services
- Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) website:
- Find your local DSO Office
- Applying for Services and Supports
- Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
- Services offered include recommendations for living more independently, pursuing interests and employment and accessing useful programs and services. For more information visit hollandbloorview.ca or phone call (416) 425-6220 ext. 3205.
- Disability Ontario Online Resources for Transition to Adulthood (D.O.O.R.2Adulthood) on-line resources
- Bloorview School Authority
- Hospital for Sick Kids
- Visiting Sick Kids Family Guidebook
- Good 2 Go Transition Program Transition Interventions and Tools
- Parent Tip Sheets
- My Health Passport (for youth)
- Transition Readiness Checklist for Patients
- Transition Readiness Checklist – Parent version
- Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning and the University of Guelph-Humber
- Pathways to Post Secondary: A Transition Guide for People with Disabilities to Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning and the University of Guelph-Humber
- McMaster University Health Services, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Laurentian University, CanCHILD Centre for Childhood Disability Research, created a Resource Guide highlighting effective transition practices, “The Best Journey to Adult Life for Youth with Disabilities” available on-line at: http://transitions.canchild.ca/en/OurResearch/bestpractices.asp
- The National Education Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
- NEADS transition guide entitled “Moving On”
- Awards and scholarships for students with disabilities
- Ontario March of Dimes
- The March of Dimes offers assistance for adults 18 years or older (16 years for attendant care). Programs include: employment advice & training, mobility aid funding, home & vehicle modification, independent living support, recreation and integration services. For more information, call (416) 425-3463 or toll-free 1-800-263-3463 or www.marchofdimes.ca
- Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Disability Support Program Employment Supports The Ontario Disability Support Program is a provincial program intended to meet the needs of people with disabilities and help them become more independent. ODSP has 2 parts, Income Support and Employment Support. To qualify:
- You must be over 18 years of age
- Have a substantial physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurrent and is expected to last one year or more
- The program is income based. For more information and an application package, contact your local Ministry of Community and Social Services office (blue pages of the telephone book) or visit www.mcss.gov.on.ca/mcss/english/pillars/social/odsp.
- Ontario Human Rights Commission
- Guidelines on Accessible Education website
- Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
- Human Rights Legal Support Services
- Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services
- Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services
- Making Ontario Accessible
- Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Disability Support Program Employment Supports (see above)
- Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
- Assistive Devices Program
- Ontario Ministry of Education
- Planning Entry to School A Resource Guide (2007)
- Transition Planning: A Resource Guide (2002)
- The Individual Education Plan (IEP) A Resource Guide (2004)
- Creating Pathways to Success, New Education and Career Life Planning Program for Ontario Schools (2012)
- Policy/Program Memorandum 156, Supporting Transitions for Students with Special Needs (2013)
- Ontario Ministry of Education – Ontario Skills Passport
- or Ontario Skills Passport
- Education and Career Life Planning
- Games for development of essential skills and work habits
- Interactive Learning Resources for educators and trainers
- Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
- Choose a Career
- Students with Disabilities
- Employment Ontario
- Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP)
- Special Needs Opportunity Windows (SNOW) is an online provider of resources and professional development opportunities for educators and parents of student with special needs.
- Easter Seals Ontario awards post secondary scholarships annually. For more information, call (416) 421-8377, toll-free at 1-800-668-6252.
- There are many post secondary educational scholarships for students with a disability. For more information, contact:
- The National Education Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) at (613) 526-8008 or visit the college/university of your choice.
- Student Awards provides access to an extensive database of scholarships and bursaries offered by public and private sector organizations, as well as post secondary institutions.
- Scholarships Canada provides a database on scholarships, awards and bursaries from across Canada.
- Youth Path
- A Government of Canada source for information about programs and services available for youth, including youth with disabilities, at the local level and beyond. It serves employers of youth and youth service providers.