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Preparing for your Adult Life


Transitions are changes or moves for example the change from being a child to becoming an adult.  

When young people are 18 the services and support they receive will be from adult services.

This means that the support they get and the people they see will be different.

This should be an exciting time and an opportunity for creativity based on more choice and control.

Remember, trying new things, making mistakes and being able to try again is a normal part of moving from childhood to adulthood. 

This is why transition plans must be regularly reviewed so they can be changed or updated if something is not working, working really well, new goals need to be added or if everything has been achieved.

Page last updated: 12/09/18

Transition planning for the move from children’s to adult services and adult life

Transition planning needs to start early for young people with SEND.

Before they can think about and plan for transition young people and families need access to good information about what is possible and what is available.

This should be based on choices about:

  • where to live and who with
  • how to spend time in the community with friends
  • employment opportunities
  • how to be healthy and stay happy

Young people and families who have already experienced this stage of life can act as a good example for others going through transition.

Thinking and planning needs to begin before Year 9 but the Year 9 annual review is a good opportunity to agree actions to take based on your thinking and planning.

The Council for Disabled Children have made a short film about preparing for Annual Reviews.

Young people and their families need to be enabled to take the lead role in transition planning with support if necessary.

Using Person-centred planning tools helps develop holistic transition plans.

The Council for Disabled Children have made a short film about preparing for Person centred Planning.

Education, children’s and adult services must work together to promote smooth transitions and make sure the views and wishes of the young person are acted on.

Schools staff and people working in children’s services must develop enhanced knowledge about the possibilities for adults with learning disabilities and SEND.

Services need to focus on sharing information, ideas and best practice.

Transitions between children’s and adult services and the responsibility for taking actions must be clearly assigned and communicated.

  • What are the success stories in your sector, setting, and friendship group?
  • How were these successes achieved?
  • Young people and family’s need to take a lead in showing others what works, sharing their stories helps everyone understand what is possible.

Transition planning must focus on outcomes and actions needed to achieve these with a focus on the quality of lives for young people as they become adults.

SCIE - Social Care Institute for Excellence have made this short film about the Care Act and the responsibilities of adult service. 


Setting goals...

Young people should be encouraged to be ambitious in all areas of their lives and lead planning (with support if needed).

Professionals should be responsive and able to help plan creative opportunities lead by young people and families. Good questions to ask and planning are review meetings may include:

  • What are your hopes for adult life and your future?
  • What steps need to be planned to help you reach your goals?
  • How will everyone know what these steps are and what progress is being or needs to be made?

Useful information and planning toolkits

Preparing for Adulthood - Supportive Planning Tool

A "supportive tool" has been designed by the Department for Education (DfE) to help think and plan for the four Preparing for Adulthood outcomes as part of EHC planning across all the age range from Early Years onwards.

You can download the tool here: Preparing for Adulthood supportive planning tool

Preparing for Adulthood - Pathways maps

The Preparing for adulthood pathways maps (the illustrated maps at the tops of the Preparing for Adulthood pages) are from an older document but can still be used to help improve planning, prompt discussion and support young people and their families in thinking about what is “important to” and “important for” them as they move into adult life.

Find out more: Transition planning for full lives

Personalisation and person centred planning for transition will be a common theme throughout each of the four areas:  

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