Information for young people

Being independent

Living independently can be a daunting prospect for any person, but for those with special educational needs (SEN), it can be particularly challenging. Fortunately, there is help available. Our local offer website provides a wide range of support and information for those with SEN to help them live independently.  With our experience and expertise, you can be confident that you’re getting the best advice and support possible.

If you are looking for information on the transition from childhood to adulthood, our preparing for adulthood page has lots of useful advice.

There are several services which offer help for adults with special educational needs to live independently.


Mencap is a charity that is committed to helping people with learning difficulties to live as independently as possible. Go to Mencap's housing page to find out more information about the assistance that they offer, which includes supported living services. Also, read this article, Living independently by Amy Clarke, who writes about her experience living in supported housing, as well as independently.


The NHS also gives useful information on supported living services. Follow this link to find out more about NHS supported living services.

Shared Lives

Shared Lives Stoke will match someone who needs care and support with an approved carer. They will consider the likes, dislikes, hobbies and interests of the person and the carer before introducing them to each other. The carer shares their family and community life, and gives care and support to the person with care needs. Some people move in permanently with their shared lives carer, while others may only stay for a few nights. Follow this link to find out more about Shared Lives


Scope is a charity with a page on their website which offers useful information for parents with a disabled adolescent who wants to live independently in the next few years. Follow the link to go to the Life Skills to Help Your Disabled Child to Become Independent page.


Contact is a charity for families with disabled children. It has a helpful page that gives advice for how to help children with disabilities live independently, including topics such as independent travel, money management and making friends. Follow this link to go to their website.

Preparing for adulthood

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.

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. 

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 read more about applying for an EHC needs assessment here - Requesting 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 who 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.

When 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 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 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 and promotes dignity and respect and their best interests.

The Mental Capacity Act exists to help make sure that people who may lack the 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 has 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 has 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 person's 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’.