Resource Materials and Technology Center for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing


High expectations drive educational programming and future employment opportunities (NASDSE, 2018). 

Secondary Transition

Secondary transition refers to the process a student with a disability goes through as they advance from high school to the next phase in their life, including postsecondary education, employment, and/or independent living. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as seen in section 300.43 of Title 34, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and Florida Statutes related to transition, this result-oriented planning of a coordinated set of activities begins at age 12 or earlier and may continue until age 22 for students with disabilities. For more information, please visit the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS) Secondary Transition web page as well as Project 10: Transition Education Network’s listing of technical assistance papers (TAPs) and memos related to secondary transition.

According to the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC, 2017) publication, Postsecondary Achievement of Deaf People in Florida: 2017, 83% of students who are DHH graduate from Florida high schools, but only 45% are employed.
Furthermore, for those individuals who are deaf/hard of hearing (DHH) and employed in Florida, data shows lower median earnings than their hearing peers. 

4 Root Causes of Gaps

NDC conducted an analysis of current data and existing literature and identified four underlying Root Causes of Gaps in Postsecondary Outcomes of Deaf Individuals (NDC, 2018). They include the following:

  1. limited access to language and communication,
  2. reduced social opportunities,
  3. negative attitudes and biases, and 
  4. lack of qualified and experienced professionals.

While not all-encompassing, these four root causes provide a critical foundation for examining systemic factors that underlie postsecondary outcomes for people who are DHH.

5 Key Impact Areas

NDC (2019) also identified five Research Summarized! Key Impact Areas that can be addressed to improve outcomes for students who are DHH.

  1. Designing Accessible Environments
  2. Promoting High Expectations for Success
  3. Collecting and Using Data for Decision-Making
  4. Leveraging Community Resources
  5. Developing Collaborative and Integrated Systems


Specially Designed Instruction for Transition

Transition planning serves as a critical component of a student’s IEP by establishing intent and purpose in the development and progression of skills and experience necessary for post-secondary education and career readiness. Suggested transition timelines may support the IEP teams serving students who are DHH entering the transition period of their academic career. It can start as early as prekindergarten at an IEP meeting by asking the student what they want to be when they grow up.

Read More about SDI for Transition

Quick Resources

Did you know?

Starting at age 14 students can be referred for youth Vocational Rehabilitation services.
Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) include:

  • Job exploration counseling
  • Postsecondary educational counseling
  • Self-advocacy training and peer mentoring
  • Work readiness training
  • Work-based learning experience

Did you know?

According to a 2009 survey of adults who are deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing, reported in The Case for Deaf Self-Advocacy Training only 24.1% advocate for accommodations and support to improve access to communication and information (NCIEC, 2009).

Related Resources