When we talk about transition, we’re talking about young people with learning disabilities making the move from children’s services to adult social care services. At Bright Opportunities we do this by ensuring the focus is on empowering choice within the individual who is going through this phase of their lives.
Transition is an important time, as it comes at a point in a young person’s life when they will also need to think about the outcomes they want to achieve, such as continuing their education, or getting work experience and finding a job, to decisions like where they want to live and who they might like to live with. These decisions will help shape their future, which is why all of the choices that are available should be made accessible for each individual.
For some people, this will also be a challenging time, as it can involve quite a lot of change. It is therefore important that young people are supported to start thinking about their options at a relatively early stage. The individual is supported to look at four areas of their life; health, education and employment, community contributions and relationships, and housing. This helps the person to start thinking about the future and get used to adding to their transition plans as the years go on.
How can we support young people through the transition process?
Visiting the various accommodations available can help people work out what would be right for them and smooth the move towards adult social care. The key is preparation. Our skilled support workers will often work with young people for many months prior to their movement to adult support. This might mean meeting them once a week to build familiarity, introducing them to other members of the staff teams that will be supporting them, and going on visits to their new home or day center
And in the run up to the move, we support people to meet care managers, visit their college or local Day Opportunities service (if relevant), and visit their new home every few weeks to make sure that everything is in place for them. Some people find it helpful to go through a series of taster days during which they are encouraged to leave a personal possession behind each time.
Experience has shown that this can lessen challenging behaviour at the point of transition, making the process easier and the outcomes better for the young person involved. Advocates, often volunteers, can also be involved in representing the young person’s wishes. With no vested interests in costs or convenience, an advocate can help to ensure that what the young person wants and needs is kept at the heart of any decisions that are made during the transition process, helping to ensure that the focus stays in the right place.
Easing the transition
We allocate each person a specific member of staff who is responsible for supporting the individual to complete any actions that have been identified within their transition plan, and assist with the bigger actions, for example moving home. People moving to adult social care come from a variety of different backgrounds, with very different experiences.
Where the person is happy for us to do so, we make sure that family members are included in meetings and consulted on decisions that need to be made regarding where the person involved will live. We work with people to ensure that they are supported to take advantage of every opportunity, big and small, that comes with the independence of adulthood.
In this small way, the young person involved gained control over something that many of us take for granted. And transition became something that opened doors for him, rather than being a process with a lot of potential for negative outcomes.