Preparing for Adulthood

When your child is young, you make most of the decisions for them. But as your child gets older, they begin to make decisions for themselves. This can be a difficult time, especially for parents of disabled children.

For more and more youngsters, planning for adulthood can start at primary school age. The journey to adulthood will also span child and adult services in education, health and care as well as a changing benefits system.

Preparing for adulthood in Cambridgeshire:

Free annual health checks for young people aged 14-plus

Young people with learning disabilities can get free health checks with their GP once they reach the age of 14. But check your son or daughter is on your GP’s Learning Disability Register – you can ask the receptionist at your GP Practice to check for you.  Read more about the scheme on our health and hospitals page.

Useful information

Here are some other useful websites, contacts and events to help you guide your young people along the way.

Pinpoint Preparing for Adulthood Group

Our group for parents and carers of young people aged 14-25 is run by Jackie King.  And usually meets termly at Bar Hill Tesco’s community room.

Our sessions – listed on our events pages – usually include guest speakers and have included:

  • Relationships and sexual health
  • Supported housing
  • Transitioning from children’s services to adult services
  • Online dating with My Favourite Hello
  • Legal information sessions
  • Independent Supporter service
  • One page profiles
  • Recruiting personal assistants

To find out more, please contact Jackie on 01480 499043 or email

Additional Needs Team for Cambridgeshire

If your young person attends a special school, has a Statement or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)  they can get information, advice and guidance on education, training and employment and other social options from the Additional Needs Team (ANT).

They help parents and their children consider options for moving on from school or college. And should start work with young people in Year 9 at the annual educational review meeting.  Support can continue through to a young person’s 25th birthday.

Your son or daughter’s school can put you in touch with the Additional Needs Team. However, you can contact the service direct and young people can also self refer.

Download the ANT booklet  and find contact details for your area of Cambridgeshire.

View the Additional Needs Team’s’ Moving On booklet, which provides basic information about education, training and employment choices young people will have when they leave school.

  • College Courses
  • Sixth Forms
  • Other learning, training and volunteering opportunities
  • Individual Curriculum solutions
  • Specialist Residential Colleges
  • Social Firms/Enterprise Organisations
  • Training programmes
  • Volunteering
  • Employment
  • Apprenticeships/Traineeships/Supported Internships/Access to Work

cover of booklet

New work guide for young people with SEND - February 2018

This guide highlights options for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to help them move into paid employment including

  • Supported internships
  • Traineeships
  • Apprenticeships
  • Access to Work

View the PFA routes into work guide

One Page Profile

You might want to create a one page profile with your young person which highlights important information about him or her.

This can include:

  • What’s important to me
  • What people like and admire about me
  • How best to support me.

Template examples from the Helen Sanderson Associates website

image of personal profile


Mental Capacity

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is designed to protect and empower individuals who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment.

The law applies to vulnerable people aged 16 and over – including young people with  a learning disability or mental health problems. And spells out

  • who can take particular decisions on someone else’s behalf
  • when and how a decision can be taken
  • when and how people who lack capacity to take decisions about their care and welfare can be deprived of their liberty to get the care they need in a hospital or care home.

View the MCA Code of Practice

Not being consulted about your young person’s welfare?

Ambitious about Autism, Mencap and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation in partnership with legal firm Irwin Mitchell, have produced a leaflet to help individuals who feel that they are not being appropriately consulted about the welfare of their loved ones.

Download the leaflet, which also includes template letters.

Cambridgeshire County Council presentation to Pinpoint’s Preparing for Adulthood Group  – January 2018

Take a look at these useful videos ...

 HFT’s family carer support service has videos on Mental Capacity on YouTube including:

  • assessing capacity (play the video, left)
  • best interests
  • challenging a decision
  • health
  • involving family carers
  • moving home
  • managing finances
  • transition

Sex & Relationships

Contact A Family has updated its Growing Up, Sex and Relationships guide for parents of teenagers. It’s been written specially to support parents of disabled children. There’s also an information leaflet written for disabled young people in, or approaching, teenage years.

Cambridge-based charity DHIVERSE runs a six-week ABC programme for young people with learning disabilities and can arrange training for small groups, couples and one-to-one.  The course covers relationships, sexual health and appropriate behaviour. Since the course began in October 2014, over 400 people have benefited.  The course can be tailored for specific audiences and covers lots of different scenarios and role-play.

Find out more about the ABC course by contacting Liz MacKenzie on 07985 447846 or email

Read our PfA blog for some top tips from Liz

Finding employment

Mencap has produced four easy-read guides for job-seekers with learning disabilities.  The guides cover

  • Finding a job or work experience
  • Application forms and CVs
  • Going to a job interview
  • Starting work

More on the Mencap website


Switch Now, based in St Neots, is a community interest company offering supported training and employment skills to young adults switch now logowith learning disabilities and difficulties. It also runs social sessions during college holidays.    Visit the Switch Now website

Evenbreak is a not-for-profit social enterprise set up to help match talented disabled people with employers.  evenbreak logo

You can also get advice on CVs and information on organisations who can provide support.

In Cambridgeshire, social enterprises include Phoenix Milton, a charity based in Milton near Cambridge. It offers supported work experience and employability qualifications to young people and adults with a range of learning difficulties. The site has a concrete factory, carpentry workshops, a kitchen garden and canteen kitchen and is open to the public for the sale of products produced on site.  Telephone: Tel. 01223 420669, Website



Life skills and internships

Red2Green, based at Swaffham Bulbeck, runs a 50-week a year life skills programme for anyone over 16 years with autism spectrum conditions, such as Aspergers Syndrome and high functioning autism.

Whizz Kids: offer a range of work placement and internships opportunities, and work skills days – all designed just for young disabled people age 14-25 years old

More on the WK website

Reed Work Routes programme

logo for Reed in PartnershipRun through Reed in Partnership, part of the Reed group of employment and jobs companies – the Work Routes programme offers support for young people to gain employment or get closer to the voluntary/paid job market.

It offers help with creating CVs, developing interview skills, IT and Employability and other courses.

It starts with a one-to-one session with a job adviser to develop a personal training and support plan and then offers tailored training such as help writing a CV and applying for jobs, interview practice or training in skills like IT or customer service.

The scheme is run in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions and can also help with the costs of travel and ongoing help once young people are in a job.

The scheme runs in Cambridge and Peterborough and offers individual support for up to 12 months. Young people are seen weekly or fortnightly for about an hour.    work routes logo

Information and contact details



Disability Rights UK has produced a guide to apprenticeships for young people with disabilities.  You can download a free pdf version via the DRUK website.

Mencap has been urging employers to use apprenticeships to increase levels of employment for people with learning disabilities – currently less than  6% of adults with a known learning disability are in paid employment.

And new rules have now come into force lowering the required Maths and English grades that pupils with special educational needs have to meet as part of their apprenticeship. These are being lowered to entry level 3 following recommendations from Paul Maynard’s 2016 taskforce, which looked at the issues facing those with learning disabilities when accessing apprenticeships.

Mencap says that “by ensuring people with a learning disability are able to access apprenticeships, it will provide a route into work better suited to people with a learning disability where they can demonstrate their skills”.

Housing options for young people   supported housing logo

Overview of the different kinds of housing options for young people written by the county council. Support Living Options for Young Adults updated Nov 2017

Visit our housing page for details about:

  • getting on the local council housing register – you must be 16 to apply
  • details about housing adaptations and funding help such as the Disabled Facilities Grant.


Find more  housing information on:


Mortgages for people with disabilities or support needs

My Safe home website

PEAL (Police Enhanced Access Line)

Cambridgeshire Police have a service for people who have difficulties with communication and who may benefit from additional support whencontacting the police. This service provides pre-registered citizens direct access to a highly trained police call taker if they ever need to contact Cambridgeshire Constabulary. Find out more and register