Parent/Guardian and Youth Resources


10 Things that Every Parent Should Know                                                                                                                    

Parents are a significant influence in their children’s success in college. Skagit Valley College lists 10 items helpful for parents to understand as their child matriculates to college. Items guide parents on what to expect, where to go for assistance, and how to fit into their student's lives at college.

Advocates for Education and Justice                                                                                                                                                           

This resource provides information and training for parents in the DC area about public and special education laws.

Casey Family Programs                                                                                                                                          

This website was designed to help young people in the child welfare system. It aims to develop skills, tools and resources for those in foster care and those at risk. The site has a number of life skills assessments and teaching tools for transition into adulthood. I selected this site because it has a broader mission than just transition, but covers a wide range of the necessary skills.

College & Career Readiness & Success Center (CCRS) Blog 

Reducing Summer Melt: Helping 12th Graders Successfully Transition to College

The CCRS published a blog to highlight the problem of 12th graders receiving a good financial package and ultimately becoming “victims of summer melt”. The blog provided an interesting statistic, “…that 20 to 45 percent of the graduates of large urban school districts who had concrete plans to attend college in the fall following high school graduation changed their minds during the summer months—and became victims of “summer melt” (Coles, 2015). The blog informed educators on strategies that can increase the likelihood of students enrolling in college in the fall. The article highlighted a study, conducted by two Harvard University scholars, which used two interventions with a treatment group and compared the results with a control group. The two interventions implemented in the study was text messaging and peer mentors, which focused on keeping students on track during the summer to enroll in the fall semester. The results indicated an increase of students starting college in the fall compared to the control group. 

Disability Rights Advocates                                                                                                                                                         

This non-profit organization works to promote equal rights, fair treatment and opportunities for people with disabilities.

Education Quest Foundation

This website provides a one-stop shop where a student with a disability and/or parent can visit to inform themselves of all that is to be considered during transition to college. The site gives insight to different costs that a student with a disability may have that would influence your financial aid decisions. Self-advocacy skills and other skills are highlighted and discusses as integral parts of success in college.

Family Connect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments

This site provides a wealth of information for parents of children with disabilities, including very helpful information on transition planning.

IDEA Partnership’s National Community of Practice on Transition: Youth Role in the Transition Process Webinars

The IDEA Partnership’s National Community of Practice on Transition have coordinated with youth leaders to develop three webinars that focus on the youth role in the transition process from high school to adult life. In the spring, youth leaders from Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, Delaware, Michigan, and Virginia shared their own thoughts and ideas on leadership development and self-determination in the webinars.  In May 2014, youth leaders presented outcomes and understandings from the conversations from the webinars at the National Capacity Building Institute in Charlotte, NC. The recordings of the webinars, powerpoint presentations, and handouts are now archived on IDEA Partnership’s Sharedwork site. To listen to the webinars and obtain copies of the presentation, please go to:

KASA: Kids as Self Advocates                                                                                                                      

KASA is part of Family Voices, and is a national, grassroots network of youth with disabilities speaking out. KASA believes youth can make choices and advocate for themselves if they have the information and support they need. The site offers guides for youth and by youth on safety, education, health, work, recreation, dating, technology, transportation, and disability history. It includes articles, poetry, and art created by members and a forum for discussion.

NCWD/Youth Releases InfoBrief on Family Guideposts

NCWD/Youth has released the InfoBrief, The Guideposts for Success: A Framework for Families Preparing Youth for Adulthood, which examines how the Guideposts for Success can be used as a framework from which families of youth with disabilities can consider the support needs of their youth during the transition planning process. This information will also be helpful to professionals seeking strategies to effectively partner with families, and to advocates looking to empower families in the transition process.The brief is available online.

NCWD/Youth Infobrief Families and College and Career Readiness: What Schools can do to Engage Families in the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) Process

The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD) published an InfoBrief in September highlighting strategies on what schools can do to engage families in the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) process. ILP’s are designed to engage all students, including students with disabilities, in planning the transition from high school to postsecondary life. Family involvement in ILP’s can assist youth in thinking and planning for college and career. To learn more about ILP’s as well as college and career readiness, please go to:

NCWD/Youth Publishes New InfoBrief Entitled, Understanding the New Vision for Career Development: The Role of Family

NCWD/Youth's new InfoBrief introduces families, including families of youth with disabilities, to a new way of looking at career development for youth. This brief discusses the three phases of career development, highlights Individualized Learning Plans as a tool for facilitating the career development process, and offers strategies on how families can encourage the young people in their lives to pursue lifelong learning and skill-building in preparation for entering the world of work.

NCWD/Youth Transition Blogs

NCWD/Youth interns wrote blogs this summer about transitioning from college to the real world as well as issues related to health care, leadership, and preparing for college. The blogs were written by transition-age youth and college students.

NCWD/Youth Videos By and For Youth Discuss Disclosure and Personal Assistance Services

NCWD/Youth has posted eight videos for and by youth with disabilities. The 411 on Disability Disclosure video features youth with disabilities discussing how their decisions to disclose their disabilities have affected them at school, at work, and in social situations. This video is a companion to the publication, The 411 on Disability Disclosure: A Workbook for Youth with Disabilities. Three shorter video clips from the full video are also available online. In the video, Making Your Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS), youth share how they use personal assistance services (PAS) and what’s involved in finding and managing their own services. This video is a companion to the publication, Making the Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS): A Toolkit for Youth with Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood. Three shorter video clips from the full video are also available.

NEXT STEPS: The Transition Series                       

The Parent Education, Advocacy, and Training Center of Virginia developed an online set of guides to assist in the planning of students’ adult life. The Guide provides a way to identify the steps students need to take to reach their postschool goals. It helps students work as a team with other people who have information and ideas as they collaborative plan for the students’ adult life.

Ohio Legal Rights Service                                                                                            

Ohio Legal Rights Service has an informative frequently asked question section for parents or students who may need more information regarding the legality of transition planning.


The mission of PACER Center (non-profit organization in Minnesota) is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents. Information provided includes individual assistance, workshops and resources that can be printed on a variety of topics.

Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center                                                                                                                                   

The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center builds positive futures for Virginia's children by working collaboratively with families, schools and communities in order to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life. They focus on children with disabilities. They do this by providing services and support for families and professionals; easy-to-understand, research-based information and training; and opportunities for strategic partnerships and advocacy for systemic improvement.

Partners In Policymaking - Ohio                                                                                         

Partners in Policy Making have created a learning module for student self-advocacy. This module guides students in understanding four elements of self-advocacy. These include Independence, Productivity, Self-Determination and Integration/Inclusion. The learning module is free and would be appropriate for most students. Lower functioning students will need guidance from their parents or teacher but will still benefit. The module provides ideas for accommodations to access the material throughout. Parents or service providers would also benefit from engaging in the module to gain perspective on important aspects of self-advocacy. A brochure illustrating the structure of the course is attached.

Planning Now through the Maryland Council on Developmental Disabilities                                           

Planning Now: A Futures and Estate Planning Guide for Parents of Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities Raising any child to adulthood is full of challenges. For parents of children with disabilities, concerns about their sons' and daughters' futures are magnified. It is often difficult for parents to envision the future of their children with disabilities. But, failing to plan could leave your child in an emergency situation with your hard-earned money not being used the way you intended. Having a vision for your child's future (and helping your child develop his or her own vision as he or she gets older) and planning for that future are very important. By planning, you can better assure that your child's personal and financial future is what you - and your child - desire and need. Your planning will help maximize your child's independence and dignity and the control he has over his own life. This guide may be your first step.

Special Education Advocacy                                                                                                                                        

This website helps inform students, parents, and educators of the rights students with disabilities have, especially at the post-secondary level. They work to improve services for students with disabilities so they are provided a free and appropriate education.  They also partner with the Virginia Coalition for Students with Disabilities (VCSD), this group works to promote educational rights and opportunities for students with disabilities in the state of Virginia

Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities                                                           

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education provides information in this pamphlet to explain the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities who are preparing to attend postsecondary schools. This pamphlet also explains the obligations of a postsecondary school to provide academic adjustments, including auxiliary aids and services, to ensure that the school does not discriminate on the basis of disability.

The Disability Rights Education Defense Fund

This training organization is run by individuals with disabilities.  They train individuals with disabilities, families and professionals working with people with disabilities.

Transition Planning (Family-Friendly-Fun)                                                       

This website breaks down the jargon used by special educators and other transition professionals.

Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities                                                                                                   

The site provides resources for therapists, educators, tutors, educators, and attorneys.

Youth on the Move

The Institute on Community Inclusion’s Youth on the Move website provides a roadmap for transition for youth with intellectual disabilities on transitioning from high school to adult life.  The website offers information transition related topics such as the basics on transition, youth development, education, career development, and social & community life.                                                                                                                                                                 

Sponsored by NCSET and U. of Minn, for students and teachers in the transition process. It is designed to help youth develop goals for life after high school, is highly interactive, curriculum-based, and parallels the IEP (so can be used for transition meeting prep). Teachers, community service providers, parents, or guardians can collaborate with the students through online activities they can complete, save, and return to (questionnaires, quizzes, journaling, etc.). It is replete with information, links, and thought-provoking.


This document was published in part under a grant from The HSC Foundation with The George Washington University. No official endorsement by The HSC Foundation or of any product, commodity, service or enterprise mentioned in this publication is intended or should be inferred. 

Permission to use, copy, and distribute this document for non-commercial use and without fee, is hereby granted provided that appropriate credit to the HEATH Resource Center at the National Youth Transitions Center is included in all copies. April 2015.

Last Updated (Monday, 06 April 2015)