Making the move to Adult Services

When the right path for transitioning to Adult Services has been identified for your young person, you might like to consider the following to help make the move as easy as possible.

What can you do to support the transition to Adult Services?

  • Ask the CDNT for copies of all relevant reports including their most up-to-date psychological report, any diagnostic reports, and any other relevant clinical reports and support plans, including the CDNT discharge summary, prior to the file being archived.
  • Ensure that the service the young adult is moving to has copies of relevant clinical reports, support plans and any other information on their needs e.g. Kardex for medication management.
  • Prior to the young adult finishing school, ask the school to develop a communication passport with strategies on how to support them to communicate, and to support new staff in understanding their nonverbal communication cues. You may want to add into this with activities you know they enjoy or don’t enjoy.  This will help the new team get to know the person.
  • Use social stories to help prepare the young adult for this change. Ask the day service if they have a social story developed they can share with you.
    • Use videos and photos of the new environment, such as outside of the building, inside, the areas they will use, and staff that may be supporting them.
    • Take photos of their journey to the new service (e.g., their bus route, driving route). Discuss it with them, so they’re familiar with it.
    • Get the names and photos of the new people they will be working with and what they will be doing (e.g., This is Amy, you will see her everyday; This is Jenny, she will help you with...)
    • Trouble-shoot in advance. Think of what may cause trouble for your young person and pre-empt this in your story (for example, every morning, the bell rings at 9 am, this means....)
    • Visit the new service in advance of the move, putting in practice the social story you have created for your young person.
  • Talk to the new service about what the transition will look like and ensure the transition plan is a plan you feel will work for the young person. Some individuals might need a more individualised transition plan than others.
    • Visiting the day service with their parent/guardian for the initial visit, and where possible ensuring this first visit ends positively.
    • Starting gradually, and slowly building up time in the day service. If mornings can be difficult for the young person, consider starting in the afternoon.
    • If you know predictable routines and a visual schedule are important for the young person, let the new service know this, so this can be in place when they start.
    • Talk with the day service to ensure there are activities on the first day that you know they will really enjoy. This will help the young person to establish a strong positive association with the new environment.
    • Consider are there other things the day service might need to be aware of before the young adult starts e.g. is there any equipment/adaptations that needs to be in place such as changing bench/toileting chairs, or environmental considerations such as rails.
    • Do staff in the day service need any specific training to support the young person e.g., understanding Lámh, or using an Augmentative Communication Device the young person may use.
    • If you feel the young person will need support from a clinical team to develop an individualised transition plan, you can submit a referral to the Young Adults Team who can support this.

Supporting your young person’s independence

  • Focus on your young person’s quality of life outcomes.
  • Encourage your young person to stay involved with their community and friends from school.
  • Look at ‘letting go’ as a gradual process, rather than a single event.
  • Negotiate the balance between promoting independence and protecting your young person.
  • Continue to give your young person choices, responsibilities, and permission to make mistakes.
  • Try not to do for your young person what they can do for themselves.

General Advice

  • Take time to reflect on how you’ve managed change before. Ask yourself: what supports did we put in place as a family to manage change before?
  • Pay extra attention to physical health (exercise, sleep, nutrition) which is important at times of change for all the family.
  • Link in with a parent support group if that’s supportive to you.
  • Anticipate setbacks with the transition and take a problem-solving approach.
  • Don’t forget to celebrate the successes (big and small).