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A University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) Priority Area is a programmatic area of focus that is related to the mission of the UCEDD (to support inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities in all aspects of community life) and encompasses a range of activity across the UCEDD core functions of research, training and…

Go to About Priority Areas

Youth Transition


Within the Youth Transition priority area, Waisman Center projects are designed to support youth with disabilities to participate in a wide variety of opportunities and activities that prepare them for life after high school.

According to the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, the term “transition services” means a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that:

  • Is designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation;
  • Is based on the individual child’s needs, taking into account the child’s strengths, preferences, and interests;
  • Includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.

To that end, Waisman Center’s transition projects are identifying effective and feasible approaches for supporting families, school staff, and the larger community in creating meaningful opportunities and activities with appropriate supports for and with youth with disabilities, with a focus on disseminating practical strategies and solutions.

Our Programs

Autism Treatment Programs
The Waisman Center Autism Treatment Programs are provided through a partnership with the University of Wisconsin (UW) Medical Foundation. Starting Together (comprehensive and focused treatment based on Applied Behavior Analysis and the Early Start Denver Model, ages 2-6 at the Waisman Early Childhood Program (WECP)); Growing Together (focused treatment for parent and child to learn positive behavior, ages 6-14); Transitioning Together (focused treatment for parent and teen to support skill, resources and strategies for a successful transition to adult life).

Youth Transition Initiative for Children and Youth With Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN)
The purpose of the Youth Transition Initiative for CYSHCN is to design and support efforts to assure that youth with special healthcare needs receive the services necessary to transition to adult healthcare, work, and independence.

Completed Projects

  • Healthy and Ready to Work
    This was an asset-based community development project which explored ways to support youth with special health care needs and disabilities as they transition from pediatric health care and high school to adult health care, higher education, working and living within their communities.
  • Let’s Get to Work Project Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (WI BPDD)
    As a collaboration with the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (WI BPDD) as the lead, the project will develop and implement policies and practices that elevate community expectations and overall employment outcomes for youth with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.
  • Natural Supports
    The goal of the Pathways to Independence Natural Supports project was to discover and disseminate creative and promising approaches for supporting youth with disabilities to participate more fully and naturally in their communities.
  • Project Summer
    The purpose of this project was to identify the skills, experiences, supports, and connections that youth with disabilities need—both during the school year and summer months—to transition successfully into adulthood.
  • Wisconsin PROMISE Grant
    The Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) initiative is intended to improve services for youth SSI (Social Security Supplemental Security Income) recipients and their families to help youth recipients achieve better outcomes, including graduating from high school ready for college and a career, completing post-secondary education and job training, and obtaining competitive employment in an integrated setting.
  • Wisconsin Self-Determination Conference
    In collaboration with Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (WI BPDD), Waisman is helping coordinate this 2 ½ day conference with an emphasis on self-determination and self-advocacy skill development.