Transition to Adulthood

teenage holding certificate in cap and gown

South Carolina High School Credential

The purpose of the SC High School Credential is to provide equitable job-readiness opportunities for these students throughout the state, ensure they have evidence of employability skills, and honor the work they have undertaken in our public schools. Learn more

Secondary transition goals are addressed in the student’s Individual Education Plan. Goal planning should be based on the individual student’s needs while taking into account the student’s strengths, preferences, and interests, and may include classes (course of study) and services to help student become ready for adult life.


Examples of transition services include:

• Teaching the student how to write a resume.

• Counseling or therapy to help student be ready to work

• Visiting a job site

• Teaching daily living skills

• Explaining how to understand work evaluations

• Guidance on how to request disability accommodations at college or tech school

The IEP will also address roles of the planning team (who is responsible for doing what). Both parents and students should actively participate. It is important for students to share their needs, goals and dreams with the team. This is a vital step in helping them gain self-determination and self-advocacy skills. DHHS has developed tools to help students and parents.

Transition to Adulthood

Topics to consider when working with student on transitions:

• Transition assessment

• Involving student in planning

• Independent living options

• Post-secondary education

• Vocational training/Employment

Outside agencies may be invited to IEP meetings to help with planning. These may include Department of Mental Health, Vocational Rehabilitation, Commission for the Blind, DDSN/DSN boards, etc.

Transition Assessment

A transition plan should be implemented by age 14. The plan should include measurable post-secondary goals based on age-related transition assessments related to training, education, employment and if appropriate, independent living.

University Life

Clemson LIFE is located at Clemson University in Clemson, SC. The ClemsonLIFE Program offers a two-year Basic Program that incorporates functional academics, independent living, employment, social/leisure skills, and health/wellness skills in a public university setting with the goal of producing self-sufficient young adults. Additionally, the ClemsonLIFE Program offers an additonal two-year Advanced Program for students that have demonstrated the ability to safely live independently, sustain employment, and socially integrate during the Basic Program. The Advanced Program progresses with an emphasis on workplace experience, community integration, and independent living with transitionally reduced supports. Students who successfully complete the Basic or Advanced program will receive a corresponding certificate of post-secondary education.

Coastal Carolina LIFE is located at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC.  The Coastal Carolina University LIFE Program is a four-year, tuition-based, post-secondary education and transition program for young adults who have a mild to moderate intellectual and/or developmental disability as defined by AAIDD. The program enrolls 10-12 students each academic year. Throughout the four years of the LIFE Program, students engage in courses specifically designed to build independent living skills through experiential learning.

The College of Charleston REACH program is located at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. The REACH Program at the College of Charleston is a four-year, fully inclusive certificate program for students with mild intellectual and/or developmental disabilities that promotes the advancement of knowledge and skill in the following areas: Academics, Socialization, Independent Living, and Career Development. Students in the REACH Program take two inclusive traditional College of Charleston courses and one REACH support course each semester.

Winthrop THINK college is located at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. Winthrop University’s Think College Program (WTC) is a two-year program that offers postsecondary education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities. The program creates customized schedules for each student using a person-centered planning approach. The schedules include traditional courses, internships, and specialty courses to support student development of specific skill sets. The focus of the WTC is to build and strengthen skills in the areas of employment, self-determination, health and nutrition, social networking, and independent living.

The Carolina LIFE program is located at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CarolinaLIFE is an individualized, non-degree program for students with identified, diverse learning needs (e.g. intellectual disability).  The program curriculum focuses on five core areas: academic instruction, career education and training, independent living, social and community engagement, and personal development. The program philosophy is founded on inclusion and individualization, based on each student’s interests and support needs.