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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Transition services (new Sec. 300.43) (proposed Sec. 300.42)

Comment: One commenter recommended replacing the word "child" with "student" in the definition of transition services.

Discussion: The definition of transition services follows the language in section 602(34) of the Act. The words "child" and "student" are used throughout the Act and we have used the statutory language in these regulations whenever possible.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter recommended that the regulations include vocational and career training through work-study as a type of transition service. A few commenters stated that the definition of transition services must specify that a student's need for transition services cannot be based on the category or severity of a student's disability, but rather on the student's individual needs.

Discussion: We do not believe it is necessary to change the definition of transition services because the definition is written broadly to include a range of services, including vocational and career training that are needed to meet the individual needs of a child with a disability. The definition clearly states that decisions regarding transition services must be made on the basis of the child's individual needs, taking into account the child's strengths, preferences, and interests. As with all special education and related services, the student's IEP Team determines the transition services that are needed to provide FAPE to a child with a disability based on the needs of the child, not on the disability category or severity of the disability. We do not believe further clarification is necessary.

Changes: None.

Comment: A few commenters stated that the regulations do not define "functional" or explain how a student's functional performance relates to the student's unique needs or affects the student's education. The commenters noted that the word "functional" is used throughout the regulations in various forms, including "functional assessment," "functional goals," "functional abilities," "functional needs," "functional achievement," and "functional performance," and should be defined to avoid confusion. One commenter recommended either defining the term or explicitly authorizing States to define the term.

One commenter recommended clarifying that "functional performance" must be a consideration for any child with a disability who may need services related to functional life skills and not just for students with significant cognitive disabilities. A few commenters stated that the definition of transition services must specify that "functional achievement" includes achievement in all major life functions, including behavior, social-emotional development, and daily living skills.

Discussion: We do not believe it is necessary to include a definition of "functional" in these regulations because the word is generally used to refer to activities and skills that are not considered academic or related to a child's academic achievement as measured on Statewide achievement tests. There is nothing in the Act that would prohibit a State from defining "functional," as long as the definition and its use are consistent with the Act.

We also do not believe it is necessary for the definition of transition services to refer to all the major life functions or to clarify that functional performance must be a consideration for any child with a disability, and not just for students with significant cognitive disabilities. As with all special education and related services, the student's IEP Team determines the services that are needed to provide FAPE to a child with a disability based on the needs of the child.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter requested a definition of "results-oriented process."

Discussion: The term "results-oriented process," which appears in the statutory definition of transition services, is generally used to refer to a process that focuses on results. Because we are using the plain meaning of the term (i.e., a process that focuses on results), we do not believe it is necessary to define the term in these regulations.

Changes: None.

Comment: A few commenters stated that "acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation" is unclear as a child does not typically "acquire" an evaluation. The commenters stated that the phrase should be changed to "functional vocational skills."

Discussion: We agree that the phrase is unclear and will clarify the language in the regulation to refer to the "provision of a functional vocational evaluation."

Changes: We have added "provision of a" before "functional vocational evaluation" in new Sec. 300.43(a)(2)(v) for clarity.