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:
- Read about Cambridgeshire Preparation for Adulthood (PfA) services on Cambridgeshire County Council’s webpages
- There is a useful information section for parents and carers
- Read about what should happen and when in the council’s Preparing for Adulthood protocol
- Find out about benefits changes for young people – for example moving from DLA to PIP as they reach 16 – on our benefits page
- View our transitions page if your son or daughter is moving from children’s social care services to adult services
- An introduction to supported housing options are outlined on our housing page which also explains how to get on the local housing register
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.
Here are some other useful websites, contacts and events to help you guide your young people along the way.
- Contact A Family’s Preparing for Adulthood factsheet, post-16 education page a a guide for young people on growing up sex, and relationships and one for parents on supporting their young people growing up.
- Sense info pack, for young people aged 14 to 25 who are deafblind or have MSI, to guide them through the transition from school or college to adulthood and the world beyond.
- Disability Rights UK has excellent education factsheets and guides – including ones on Further Education, Higher Education as well as apprenticeships. See them on the DR UK website
- Contact A Family has updated its Growing Up, Sex and Relationships guidefor 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.
- Government guidance on 19-25 year olds’ entitlement to EHC Plans
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Read our latest PfA posts
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. Find the ANT contact 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
- Apprenticeships/Traineeships/Supported Internships/Access to Work
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.
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.
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.
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
- involving family carers
- moving home
- managing finances
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 email@example.com
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
Switch Now, based in St Neots, is a community interest company offering supported training and employment skills to young adults with 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.
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
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
First Steps to Success course from Papworth Trust
This is a 20 + week programme supports clients with a learning disability/difficulty or on the autistic spectrum to progress i to paid or voluntary work. It also support and improves life skills.
The course delivers a different module one session per week in a one to one learning environment. These include:
- Travelling safely
- Time Management
- Keeping Safe
The programme is delivered from Cambridge and there is also availability in Huntingdon. The course can also be tailored to meet the different needs of individual clients.
Once you have reached your goals and found suitable employment or placement after 20 weeks, then free in-work support is provided for the first six months to ensure a happy working relationship for both the employee and employer to help sustain the employment opportunity.
The only eligibility to access the course is that students are 16+ with a learning disability/difficulty or on the autistic spectrum. A free initial assessment with family or support staff can be provided.
This course costs £24.85 per session, which would be invoiced monthly. In most cases fees are usually funded through a personal budget or benefits.
Contact: Dave Sira, Employment Advisor, Papworth Trust, Hawthorn Way, Cambridge, CB4 1AX T: 0300 456 2425 Ext: 11906
Reed Work Routes programme
Run 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.
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”.
- Preparing for Adulthood – features resources and stories of young people moving into work
- Transition Information Network
- Cambridgeshire County Council Preparing for Adulthood webpage
- Cambridgeshire County Council Moving to adult social care
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