The transition to adulthood is a time of celebration, challenges and often great change for people with a learning disability
They will be considering their options around continuing education, careers, housing and their social lives. As for any young person, this can be a time of high anxiety, confusion and disruption.
However, if you are properly supported and given the right information, transition doesn’t have to be a negative experience. You can get support through schools, voluntary sector organisations and your local council.
The key is to begin planning early
Although leaving school and moving into adult life can be a challenging time for young people with learning disabilities and their parents / carers with the right help, support and advice it can be a positive experience. If your son or daughter has a statement of special educational needs (SEN) the school must carry out a formal transition process; this is crucial to help achieve a successful outcome.
The transition plan should make clear your son’s or daughter’s ideas and hopes for the future and cover all aspects of life, not just which college or service they may be moving on to
When young people reach 16 their Statement of Special Educational Needs will only continue to have a legal standing if they continue on at school. They will still be entitled to extra support if they go to college but they do not have a legal right to access this support.
You may be receiving support from a number of different agencies, including health, social care and education services, and these will all change as your child approaches adulthood, and the changes may not all happen at the same time, which may cause some difficulty so be aware of these upcoming changes and as far as possible work with the other agencies to ensure a smooth hand-over from child to adult services. Transition planning needs to be on-going, holistic and collaborative and should always be based on the views of the young person
Mencap – Transition: a guide for parents & carers
Dimensions – Lost in Transition? How to find your way through
Dimensions – Making the transition
Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities – Transition
The National Autistic Society – Education and Transition