Transition into adult life can be a difficult process for both parents and young people. Many parents have told Mencap that the best advice they could give to others is to be prepared.
The best thing I did was to find out who did what and when. It made the journey so much easier and helped me keep the focus on my son throughout.
Top tips for preparing for the transition process
1. Get as much information as you can
- Ask your local education authority if they have an information pack or any web-based information on transition.You can also ask if they have any accessible information for young people.
- Find out about current post-school options including further education colleges, employment, training placements, housing and day opportunities.
- Find out about other activities that may interest your son or daughter – you may be able to use the funding for their support more flexibly to create new opportunities rather than using existing services.
- Contact local voluntary groups to see if they have any information or offer any support around transition.
2. Support your son or daughter to think about what they want from the future.
- Find out what's important to your son or daughter.
- Encourage them to think about what they might want to do in the future. Even if you think they may have unrealistic expectations, their views are important and there may be many aspects of their dreams that are achievable with the right support.
- Try to prompt rather than take over.
- Ask other siblings or friends who may know your son or daughter well about their interests and ambitions.
- Use circles of support with key people in your son or daughter's life. A circle of support, sometimes called a circle of friends, is a group of people who know the young person well who can meet together on a regular basis to help them plan their future life and achieve their personal goals.
- Download our PDF showing the key areas of transition. You can use it to start talking to your son or daughter and helping them plan for the future.
- Find out more about circles of support on the Circles Network website
- Support your son or daughter to look at accessible websites on the Newham Easy Read website
- Find out about the information and support that organisations like Mencap can provide. Contact the Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111.
3. Prepare for meetings
It is easy to feel intimidated when you attend meetings with professionals. Planning in advance can help you feel better equipped and more confident about making a contribution to the meeting. Remember, you know your son or daughter best, and you have a valuable contribution to make – your views are important.
- Think about any extra information you need and write down a list of questions you want to ask.
- Think about any extra support your son or daughter might need.
- Ask if you can see any reports before the meeting.
- Take someone with you – a friend or an advocate.
- Make sure any key professional allies attend the meetings. For example, you might have a good relationship with someone who can help you fight your case for the right support.
Find out if there is a transition protocol in your local area – if so, ask to see it, so you know exactly when things are supposed to happen and who will be able to support you.
Working through the transition phase takes significant amounts of time and effort. Pace yourself to do at least one thing every week to explore options and prepare for transition to adult services when your son or daughter gets to year 11 onwards.
4. Plan between meetings
It is important to remember that whilst transition meetings are a focus for planning, they are just one part of an ongoing process. Between meetings you can keep working with your son or daughter to find out about their hopes and dreams for the future. It may also be helpful to visit potential activities or services for the future so that they get an idea of what to expect. Some schools are also bringing person-centred planning into school lessons so that young people have a chance to explore options for the future from an early stage.