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Preparing for adulthood for those with SEND

Preparing for Adulthood, also known as 'transition', is when young people move into adulthood and describes the process of moving from childhood to adulthood.

Most young people will move through their teenage years without additional support outside of their family or education support, however others need more help and it will continue beyond the age of 19 until the young person is 25.

If you are a young person and/or a parent/carer, please click here to complete a survey to provide feedback on your experience around Transition to Adult Services.

All schools or education settings should provide career guidance for their pupils and should start to support preparing for adulthood as early as possible.

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Planning for adulthood for those with SEND

Plan for life after school

Planning or preparing for adulthood is a term used to describe this time in your life, as you move from being a child to a young adult.

It helps to start thinking about this transition early. If you have an education, health and care plan (EHCP), this preparation should be included in your annual review from year 9. 

Find out more about EHCPs

If you do not have an EHCP it is still important to start preparing early so you have time to think and plan what you want to do in the future. Your school or college can support you and your family.

If you have SEN support and need more help you can ask for a needs assessment

What to think about should include:

  • whether you want to continue to learn 
  • what sort of job or training you might do
  • where you might live and how you will manage your money
  • managing your own health
  • taking part in community activities.

If you get help from the NHS, they will tell you about adult health services. If you are aged 16 to 19 then your health needs may be reassessed.

Moving to adult social care

Some young people with SEND living in Stoke-on-Trent will need social care support as an adult. The Transitions Team will work with you to see if you are eligible for support from Adult Social Care.

for more information about needs assessments click here.

Some people that get adult social care services pay towards the cost of their support.

The transition from children’s to adult social care

We will refer you to a transition worker at age 16. Your transition worker will assess you to see what help you’ll need when you turn 18. They’ll make sure this help is in place. Your help will stay the same until the new support is in place. If you receive support from adult social care, by law, we can charge for this service. For more information please see the social care charges.

Your transition worker may work with you, or they may refer you to a specialist team, depending on your needs.

If you have an EHC plan, you’re more likely to need support when you turn 18. Your transition worker will work with children’s social care and education services to write your EHC plan. They will also go to your EHC plan reviews to check you’re still getting the right help.

Important information

Here are some things you need to know about when you are transferring to or beginning to receive support from Adult Social Care.

More help and information

Moving to adult health services

Children and young people who receive health care will become more involved in the decisions about their care from the age of 16.

Where young people require continuing health care after the age of 18, they will transfer to adult services. They may then see a different doctor or care team for adults.

It is a good idea to discuss future planning with your young person and their care team when they reach the age of 14 or 15. If they have an EHC Plan, this can form part of their annual review preparation for adulthood discussions.

If the young person does not have an EHC Plan, it may be a good idea to discuss future needs with their care team and engage them in an application for EHC needs assessment if it is felt that they will require care and support as an adult.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have some useful resources on ensuring high quality care for young people as they move from children’s to adult’s health services.

The NHS provides some useful information about changing from child to adult care for autistic young people:

Young Minds has useful information on moving from children and adolescent mental health services to adult mental health services. They also offer suggested questions to ask about the transition, along with understanding your rights and information for parents and carers.

Understanding the Mental Capacity Act 2005

Many people live with conditions which may impact on their decision-making capacity.

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is concerned with the human rights of individuals whose decision-making capacity may be impaired. It supports parents, carers and the professionals who work with them to protect the rights of individuals, promotes dignity and respect and their best interests.

The Mental Capacity Act exists to help make sure that people who may lack capacity to make decisions on their own get the support they need to make those decisions.

When they are not able to make their own decision, the Mental Capacity Act determines that a decision must be made ‘in their best interests’.

It is important to remember that a person may have capacity for some decisions but not others or they may have capacity at some times but not others. This means all capacity decisions must be regularly reviewed.

Mental Capacity Toolkit

Bournemouth University have produced a toolkit to help support health and care professionals working with individuals whose decision-making capacity is limited, fluctuating, absent or compromised.

Mencap – The Mental Capacity Act

Mencap have lots of useful information about assessing mental capacity and the Mental Capacity Act on their website. They have also produced a useful resource pack.

Involve Me

Involve Me was a project about ways of involving people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) in decision-making and consultation. They have produced a summary booklet, an evaluation and a practical guide.

Deprivation of Liberty

Deprivation of liberty is when a person who may lack mental capacity is deprived of their liberty which means they are not free to come and go as they choose. This might be done so that they can be given care and treatment in a specialist environment such as a hospital or care home.

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) will be replaced by the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) in 2022/23. They are contained within the Mental Capacity Act to protect people in these circumstances.

If a person’s right to liberty is deprived in other settings, an authorisation must be obtained from the Court of Protection.

What happens when you call NHS 111

Some people with a learning disability, autism or both do not know what NHS 111 is. This is a short film for people with learning disabilities, autism or both which shows:

- what NHS 111 is for
- what to expect during a 111 call
- tips on how to have a good 111 call. 

Transition from child and adolescent to adult mental services - a young persons perspective

Three young people describe, in an intensely personal way, how the transition from CAMHS felt for them. They discuss the onset of their mental health problems and their experience of transition to adult services, which they describe as scary, confusing, and ‘like falling down a cliff with rocky bits’.

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