Frequently Asked Questions

What are Adult Transition Services?

Adult Transition Services (ATS) are special education services provided to students eligible for special education who:

  • have completed state mandated high school graduation requirements,
  • have completed the course requirements on the minimum graduation plan,
  • have taken at least one Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) based course needed for graduation with modified curriculum during high school, and
  • continue to need specialized instruction to meet Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals and objectives related to transition

What is the mission and goal of Adult Transition Services?

The mission of ATS is to provide instruction to students which will enable them to live and function as independently and successfully as possible in their community after they transition from ATS.

The instruction focuses on the four life domains:

  1. Independent Living
  2. Continuing Education
  3. Recreation/Leisure
  4. Vocational

The goal of ATS is to develop a structure of opportunities and activities that the student can continue to access after they leave ATS through agency and/or family supports.

What is the difference between meeting requirements for graduation and graduating?

Students who are eligible for ATS services as determined by their Admission Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee will have obtained the credits they need for graduation as defined by the state. Due to this fact, the student will be eligible to participate in all graduation activities at Westlake High School (WHS). Most often at this point, students elect to “walk” during the graduation ceremony. They are included in the graduation program and receive a Certificate of Attendance. Upon transition from ATS either through aging out or by meeting the criteria outlined in the IEP, the student will receive an official WHS diploma either by mail or by coming to the school. Students and families typically choose this option because the student will be with the peers that he/she has been with for his/her K-12 career.

A student and/or family may elect to wait until the student is transitioning from ATS and then participate in the graduation ceremony at that time and receive the official WHS diploma.

Students may only participate in the graduation ceremony one time during their career in Eanes ISD.

What does the program look like at ATS?

Each student will have an individual plan taking into consideration the needs, interests, preferences, and strengths of the student and the supports of the family or outside resources based on the four domains. The structure of an ATS student’s day does not automatically mirror the typical school day of a K-12 student.

Each individual student’s program is additive in nature. As areas of need are identified, the ARD committee builds the plan. Just like any student leaving the K-12 environment, each day is a blank page that gets filled with the needs and desires of the student. Some students may have a schedule that is very similar every day, and some students may have a schedule that varies significantly from day to day.

If there is no set location, why is there a facility called ATS?

While most of the services provided by ATS occur in the community, it is convenient to have a centralized location for staff and other resources and services. The ATS facility houses the ATS staff, and has meeting space, a kitchen, a computer lab, and other flexible spaces that can be used to meet the needs of the students. There are also accessible bathrooms with showers.

Some of the students work on goals and objectives at the ATS location such as cooking, researching recreation and leisure activities, grooming, or laundry. Some students are served entirely in the community and may rarely have a need to come to the ATS facility. The facility exists to serve students as their needs dictate.

Does the ATS facility function like a typical K-12 school Building?

No. The ATS facility should not be considered the same as a typical school building which is staffed throughout the day. ATS staff are only present at the building when a student’s plan specifies they need services at the location. The facility is often unoccupied throughout the day, and staff are not available for extended care if a parent needs to drop off a student at an unprescribed time. ATS staff work with the Eanes transportation department to make sure students are dropped off as close as possible to when services begin for that student. Students arriving independently or parents dropping off or picking up should follow that same plan.

How does a plan for an individual student get developed for ATS?

Each student’s individual plan is developed based on a variety of information from the student, parents, school and/or outside agency. The information includes but is not limited to:

  • Present levels of performance from the IEP
  • Life domain needs assessment
  • Transition information contained in the IEP
  • Student skill inventories and data collection
  • Interest/preference inventories
  • Parent information
  • Agency information

How does the ARD process work at ATS?

Each student still has an ARD committee with all the same roles represented as when the student was enrolled K-12. The ARD committee will take all information into consideration and develop an IEP with all the required elements including goals and objectives.

Due to the transfer of rights that occurs when a student turns 18, an adult student (age 18 or older) takes the place of the parent on the ARD committee unless a legally recognized support for decision-making such as guardianship or power of attorney is in place. ATS staff will honor the wishes of an adult student if the student wants parents or other support people involved. However, without the student’s request for parental involvement or a legally recognized mechanism for shared decision-making or formal transfer of rights, only decisions made by the student are binding in the ARD process.

In most cases, ARD meetings for ATS students take place at the ATS facility.

What type of services are offered through ATS?

As with any ARD meeting, the committee can consider any instructional or related services offered through special education that are needed for the student to meet his/her IEP goals and objectives. As the student transitions from the typical K-12 environment to the adult world, the services and delivery model often look different than those needed to support a student through traditional school years. The home and community are the environments in which the student will be functioning, and the committee must decide how to best support the functional use of skills in these environments.

What type of transportation is provided for ATS?

If transportation is recommended as a related service for a student by the ARD committee, the student will receive transportation needed to access his/her program. This could include transportation to a job site, recreational activity, or a class.

The ultimate goal is for a student, family or outside agency to be able to replicate the program developed during ATS and eventually take over. If a student, family or outside agency is unable or unwilling to provide transportation to a location after the student leaves ATS, that location may not be a viable option for school based transportation. This issue will need to be discussed with the case manager, student, family, and/or agency representative.

What is the parent/family role in ATS?

Parent and family support is instrumental in helping a student reach their post-secondary goals. Because Adult Transition Services are meant to facilitate movement in the direction of life in the adult world, it is essential that families begin planning for how and to whom supports will transfer once the student no longer has access to public school resources. The family should support the skills being taught and investigate resources and opportunities beyond ATS in preparation for transition from ATS. The more a partnership develops among all entities, the easier that transition will be for the student.

Parents and other family members are encouraged to participate in the ARD process and to make suggestions and recommendations for possible opportunities based on the student’s needs, strengths, preferences, interest and family considerations. The ATS staff will work with the families to ensure that the program being developed and implemented is something the student, family, and/or outside agency can and wants to continue in the future. ATS staff can help connect families to outside resources that can assist in making the program sustainable for the student.

What types of classes, including academics, are taught at ATS?

In Texas, curriculum standards only exist for grades K – 12. These are known as the TEKS. There are no standards past the 12th grade, so, ATS does not provide traditional core academic classes as those seen in the K-12 environment.

However, functional goals and objectives might be developed that support other life domains such as personal finance, employment seeking skills, technology usage, and social skills. The prerequisite skills may be taught in a direct teach format with the ultimate goal being generalization into the community.

Can my child receive support through continuing education courses or junior college?

Continuing education is a life domain that can be addressed through ATS, and the staff at ATS can help students access continuing education opportunities. This may involve helping students locate classes of interest online, developing mobility skills for taking the bus to a class, registering for a class, accessing the Student Accessibility Services Office at ACC, or finding resources for academic assistance. This can include classes at community college such as Austin Community College or continuing education classes in the community.

The ATS staff will not provide tutoring or remediation for continuing education classes.

Is there ever a time where a student can be attending both Westlake High School and be receiving Adult Transition Services?

In very rare instances, yes. If for some reason a student has met all other eligibility requirements for ATS but still has 3 or fewer high school credits to obtain, the ARD committee may determine that he/she can take courses at WHS and receive services through ATS. This is most likely to occur when a student transfers from either a non-public high school in Texas or an out of state high school. It could also happen if a student has had an illness that kept them from fulfilling all graduation requirements.

In addition, if a student has IEP goals and objectives specifically related to functional academics that require prescriptive programming, the student may receive that instruction at WHS. In this situation, the student is deemed to be “auditing the class.” The student is not enrolled at WHS, does not participate in WHS daily events, and does not receive a grade for the class. They attend the designated class only and then return to their ATS schedule.

All requests regarding a student accessing both WHS and ATS must be evaluated by the ARD committee to determine the most appropriate IEP.

Students may not accumulate extra credits at WHS not needed for graduation due to this provision nor may they take fewer classes than they are able during an academic school year due to this provision.

Can my child remain at Westlake High School and just continue taking classes until age 22?

No. The purpose of transition planning that begins formally for students prior to their 14th birthday is to prepare them for life after high school and life after they are no longer eligible for special education. Staying in high school indefinitely is not an appropriate post-secondary goal.

For a student eligible for ATS, the school staff will work with the student and parent to determine post-secondary goals. If the student and parents do not wish to develop any further post-secondary goals, the ARD committee can consider dismissal from special education and graduation anytime after the completion of the state mandated graduation requirements.

What types of jobs will students have while at ATS?

The type of vocational experience in which a student engages is entirely dependent on the individual education plan for that student and the resources of the family or outside agency available upon a student exiting special education.

If a family and student wish for the student to be competitively employed upon exiting, the staff will work to find a place of employment that matches the student’s interests and abilities, and the willingness and ability of the family, student, and or outside agency to support the position.

Just as in the real world, there is no guarantee of competitive employment during the time a student is at ATS or after they transition from ATS. The ATS staff help facilitate opportunities, but many factors outside the control of the school district determine if a student can be competitively employed.

Some families and students are only interested in volunteer activities. There are many opportunities in the Austin area for students to gain skills while giving back to the community through volunteer jobs. The student might attempt several different jobs to build skills during his/her time at ATS, but again, the ultimate goal would be to have volunteer opportunities that are sustainable upon transitioning from ATS.

Over the years, the ATS staff has worked to build community partnerships with both businesses and community service agencies. However, Eanes ISD is always looking for more relationships, and we encourage families to become actively involved in finding opportunities for their students.

Will ATS staff teach my students how to drive?

No. There are some private driving schools and courses available to people with disabilities. ATS staff can provide information to families wishing to pursue this activity, but it not a service offered through Eanes ISD special education.

What happens when my student turns 22?

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), students continuing to qualify for special education services are eligible for services through the completion of the academic school year in which they turn 22. This is usually late May or early June. The student is not eligible for ESY services. Students must be 21 as of September 1 of a school year to begin and complete that year.