Transition Bill of Rights

  • November 15, 2019

Students in public schools with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) have
certain rights under both federal and state laws. This Tennessee Transition Bill of
will help you understand the laws and rights related to your son or daughter’s
education. The ultimate goal is to help you advocate for your child’s successful
from high school into adulthood.


Starting at age 14, students with a documented disability in Tennessee have the right to...

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a law that ensures students with disabilities
receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE)

  • Participate in making decisions around post-school goals, annual IEP goals, accommodations, and modifications included in the IEP.
  • Develop meaningful post-school goals related to employment, education/training, and independent living (if appropriate). These goals should be based on age-appropriate transition assessment(s) and reviewed annually by the entire IEP team (including the student). 
  • Receive transition services based on their needs, preferences, and interests. These transition services should start no later than age 16 and should help them meet their post-school goals. 
  • Identify courses required for earning a high school diploma. Tennessee has four different diploma options (click here): regular, alternate academic, occupational, and special education diplomas. Each diploma option has different requirements. 
  • Participate in meetings related to education/training, employment, and independent living interests. 
  • Be informed about options for supports after school, including supported decision making and guardianship/ conservatorship. 
  • Receive individualized education services through graduation with a regular diploma or age 22 (whichever comes first). 

Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a law that ensures students between the ages of 14-22 with a documented disability (with or without an IEP or 504 plan) receive Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)

  • Receive instruction in career exploration, counseling, and skills needed for successful adulthood.
  • Receive Pre-ETS in the school, community, and work setting. These may include:
    • Career Exploration
    • Work-based Learning Experiences
    • Postsecondary Education Counseling
    • Workplace Readiness Training, and
    • Instruction in Self-Advocacy

Transition Resources

For further assistance regarding transition for youth with disabilities, check out these
statewide agencies and organizations. They can provide supports and services for
individuals and/or family members.

Transition Tennessee
Transition Tennessee provides free online training, tools, and resources on preparing students with
disabilities for life after high school. Parents will especially find the Supports and Partnerships
course helpful as they seek community connections.

Support and Training for Exceptional Parents (STEP)
STEP offers supports for community involvement in the form of workshops, multimedia training,
conferences, one-on-one assistance, as well as downloadable resources.

The Arc Tennessee
The Arc is the nation’s largest and leading organization for people with intellectual and developmental
disabilities (I/DD).

Tennessee Disability Pathfinder
Tennessee Disability Pathfinder provides free information, resources, support, and referrals to Tennesseans
with disabilities and their families.

Contact Information:
Special Populations (615) 253-1767
Special Education Legal Services (615) 741-2921
Vocational Rehabilitation Services (615) 313-4891
Employment and Community
First CHOICES 1-800-342-3145

View and download PDF version of Transition Tennessee's Transition Bill of Rights

Disability Rights Tennessee (DRT) is a nonprofit legal services organization that provides free legal advocacy services to protect the rights of Tennesseans with disabilities.

Middle Tennessee (Admin Office)

2 International Plaza, Suite 825
Nashville, TN 37217

Phone: 615-298-1080
Fax: 615-298-2046

East Tennessee

9050 Executive Park Drive, Suite 101-B
Knoxville, TN 37923

Phone: 865-670-2944
Fax: 865-470-7028

West Tennessee

1407 Union Avenue, Suite 1015
Memphis, TN 38104

Phone: 901-458-6013
Fax: 901-249-2933