Preparing for adulthood
For young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), planning for adulthood begins in Year 9 (the school year in which a child has their 14th birthday), and in some cases will continue until their 25th birthday. We often call this phase in life 'transition' or a 'transition to adulthood'.
This phase of “preparing for adulthood” is when professionals will consult with you and your son or daughter to consider if they may need specialist support during transition and into adulthood.
Parents have asked for a comprehensive guide to transitions and we have worked with Family Voice to produce the Transition to Adulthood - A Parents Guide.
What young people should expect
When a young person in receipt of children’s continuing care reaches the age of 14, the case will be reviewed by a social worker. This ensures that any young person who may require ongoing services in adulthood and who may be deemed eligible for continuing healthcare is identified early and included in the transitions pathway.
When the young person reaches 17 a checklist is completed by a health or social care professional, helped by the use of a screening method called a Checklist Tool. The assessment is done with the young person and their family or carer where appropriate.
Moving to adult health services
When young people transition to adult health services the aim is to ensure that any assessment of need is completed as early as possible and enable a seamless move to appropriate universal and specialist healthcare. Importantly, this includes identifying services that may no longer be available once someone reaches 18 and putting in place alternative healthcare support for young people, and their families, to achieve identified outcomes.
Customers who receive priority within health service transitions include:
- young people in receipt of children’s continuing care funding that move to adult continuing healthcare services and funding;
- young people accessing child and adolescent mental health services moving to adult mental health services; and
- young people with an Education, Health & Care (EHC) Plan that identifies other health service in order to meet assessed needs and outcomes.
Transition to adult services with continuing healthcare needs
A key aim with transition is to ensure that a consistent package of support is provided during the years before and after the move to adulthood.
The nature of the package may change because the young person’s needs or circumstances change. It should not change simply because of a move from children’s to adult services or a move between organisations with commissioning or funding responsibilities.
Where change is necessary, it should be carried out in a phased manner in full consultation with the young person. No services or funding should be withdrawn unless a full assessment has been carried out in respect of both need for adult health and social care services.
Other health services identified in Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plans
There may be other health services that are included within a young person’s Education, Health and Care Plan in order to meet an assessed need. For young people aged 16 years and over (as part of the ongoing review and assessment process to identify health needs) any ongoing health needs will be assessed and work done in partnership with adult health services to identify suitable service to transition to, if available.
Learning Disabilities Annual Health Checks
What is an Annual Health Check?
The Annual Health Check scheme is a free, yearly appointment with your doctor (GP) or Practice Nurse, usually near to where you live. In this appointment your doctor or nurse will ask you questions about how you keep yourself well and whether you need any extra help with this. With your consent they will also check your physical health such as your weight, heart rate and blood pressure. They may ask for a urine sample or a blood test and will also look at any medication that you take to make sure that this is still right for you.
The Annual Health Check is a really good time to ask your GP or nurse any questions or worries that you may have about your health.
Who can have one?
Anyone aged 14 and over who has a learning disability is entitled to have an Annual Health Check. You must be on your GP’s ‘Learning Disability Register’ to get an invite through the post. You can check with your GP if your name is on the register and ask to be added if your name is not on there already.
Why do I need an Annual Health Check?
It is important as you are growing up to stay well and look after yourself and be healthy.
Sometimes children and adults who have a learning disability have poorer physical and mental health than other people, but this shouldn’t always be the case.
Most health problems are simple to treat once you know about them. Your GP can help stop you getting a serious health condition. This is better than waiting until you're ill. Most people have their health check when they are feeling well.
The doctor or nurse can help you to plan how to keep being healthy and can give you information and advice about different things such as diet and exercise.
What if I already see another doctor or nurse who is not at my GP Practice?
You may see other doctors and nurses who help you to stay well, such as at the hospital or in different health clinics. When you are under 18 you may see a Paediatrician (children’s doctor) or another specialist team.
Annual Health Checks are different from appointments at the hospital or other health clinics. They are offered from when you are 14 to help you to get to know your local GP as you are growing up. They help you get used to seeing someone each year to support you to stay well as you become an adult.
Your parents or carers can go to the Annual Health Check with you especially if you are feeling worried or anxious about going to the doctors.
Do I have to have an Annual Health Check?
No, the Annual Health Check is voluntary so you can choose whether or not to have one.
More information about Annual Health Checks can be found on NHS Choices.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. CAMHS are the NHS services that assess and treat young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties.
CAMHS support covers depression, problems with food, self-harm, abuse, violence or anger, bipolar, schizophrenia and anxiety, to name a few.
There are local NHS CAMHS services around the UK, with teams made up of nurses, therapists, pyschologists, support workers and social workers, as well as other professionals. In Peterborough this service is provided by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
You can find lots more information on the Young Minds website.
There are over 500 easy read leaflets on the Easyhealth website providing a fantastic resource for anyone looking to access clear, practical and easy to understand health information.