Bridges Resource Library

Life After IEPs—When Do Things Change, and Why?

Updated as of June 11, 2024.

Below, we examine when and why students are no longer eligible for IEPs.

When Do I Stop Having an IEP?

Most IEPs for blind/low vision students end because the student graduates from high school or “ages out” at age 21, in Maryland.

Why Do IEPs Stop?

IEPs (individualized education plans) are required by a law known as the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). The IDEA provides educational rights for students with disabilities in public school through high school graduation or age 21, whichever comes first. Thus, high school graduation or “aging out” ends a student’s eligibility for an IEP, even if the disability still exists, and even if the student still has educational needs.

I Still Have an IEP; What Can I Do to Prepare?

If your IEP is still in effect, there are many ways to prepare for the future. This preparation is called “Transition” or “Secondary Transition.”

What is Secondary Transition?

Federal law and Maryland law require that public schools provide students with IEPs (individualized education programs) with “transition services” that are designed to prepare these students for life after high school (independent living, education, and employment). These services are typically called “Secondary Transition Services.”

Find more Secondary Transition information and resources in the Bridges Resource Library’s Transition: What It is and Family Information Guides from MSDE entry.

What’s Next?

Other laws protect individuals with disabilities, including blind and low vision. These laws, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), protect individuals of all ages, but IEPs often provide similar and additional protections. Once the IEP is no longer in effect, blind/low vision students still have Section 504 and ADA protections.

Contact the Bridges Helpdesk for More Information

This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

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