Student-Focused Planning


Student - Focused Planning is a component of transition planning that focuses on IEP development, planning strategies, and student participation.  

The planning process in the program is student-centered. Every adult student is involved in the planning process from assessment to the IEP development and implementation. Assessment data focuses on student’s strengths, preferences, interests, and needs (SPIN) of which results drive student's employment, post-secondary education/training, and independent living goals.   The matrix below illustrates this program process, 

Student’s SPIN 


Post-Secondary Education / Training 

Independent Living 









Transition Assessment:  

The program uses both formal assessments (e.g., achievement tests, adaptive behavior, aptitude tests) and informal transition assessments (e.g., interviews with students and parents/family members, questionnaire, transition planning inventories, observation) to determine student’s goals for future work, further training, and independent living (e.g., living in my own apartment).  All these goals are based on assessment results that highlight student’s strengths, preferences, interests, and needs (SPIN).

Student Participation: 

Students are also involved in all phases of their own IEP development and implementation such as the following: 


Before the IEP meeting:  Both student and teacher meet to determine transition goals (i.e., plan for future work, further training, and independent living) using assessment results that identify the student’s strengths, preferences, and interests.  IEP goals are then identified that would enable the student to meet his/her transition goals. Assessment results on a student's needs serve as a basis for the student’s IEP goals.

The student and the teacher work together to plan for student participation during the IEP meeting. During this time, the teacher gets student input on what to share with the IEP team in terms of his/her strengths, preferences, interests, and needs (SPIN).  The teacher guides the student in creating his/her own PowerPoint and when appropriate, teaches the student how to present the PPT, and provides opportunities to practice as needed. 


During the IEP meeting:  The student opens the IEP meeting by asking team members to introduce themselves using the PowerPoint created. The student then proceeds to share his/her strengths, preferences, interests, and needs (SPIN) with the aid of the PowerPoint.  Students are also given the opportunity to make comments, ask questions, or answer questions during the IEP meeting. Adult students who are not conserved are encouraged to make decisions. 


After the IEP meeting: The student and teacher meet to reinforce student's participation in the IEP meeting and further plan on future check-in regarding working on his/her IEP goals.