Nebraska lowers age for start of transition services
On May 24, Governor Pete Ricketts signed into law LB 527, a bill that lowers the age at which high school students with developmental disabilities begin planning for their transition to adulthood. Before this law, Nebraska was not required to begin the transition planning process until age 16, which is often too late for students with autism and later than when most states begin. The new law sets 14 as the age for transition planning to begin.
Transition planning for students diagnosed with autism is critical to their success in adulthood. Each year, approximately 70,000 children with autism graduate from high school and face a “service cliff.” Early planning for this transition to adulthood is key to achieving goals in continuing education, employment, independent living and community participation.
This legislative effort was led by Autism Speaks and supported by other organizations as well as the Nebraska Department of Education. We are thankful for all the advocates who supported the effort, and we are especially grateful for the leadership of Senator Lynne Walz, who is Chair of the Senate’s Education Committee and championed this milestone in transition services. Sen. Walz was supported by Speaker Mike Hilgers who acknowledged the importance of this bill by designating it as priority legislation.
The new law is scheduled to be implemented on August 27, 2021. We will continue to work on effective implementation and pursue enhanced transition services across the country.