Talking about tomorrow


Health and social care

Health and social care can be two of the most important services for people with additional support needs.

Things to think about

Moving to adult services

Children’s and adult services are organised differently.

Some roles disappear altogether, others may be called something different or have different responsibilities.

The age young people move from one to the other can vary depending on the service and where you live. Sometimes it’s 16, sometimes 18, and in some places it may be older depending on individual circumstances.

Some areas have transition teams that help manage the transfer to adult services, but many parents find they need to do a lot themselves to coordinate services and support.

Often one of the biggest changes they notice is that adult services are geared to working with individual adults, which can make it difficult for families to be involved in a young person’s support in the same way as previously.

  • It helps to be prepared. Expect it to take time to adjust to a new system and new people.
  • Start early. Ask how different roles fit together to help you understand where there may be gaps and how best to fill them.
  • Be clear about the support your young person needs and what works for them.
  • Be persistent – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

It can feel very uncertain at first, but many parents say that over time they and their young people prefer the increased flexibility of adult services and feel they have more control.

A word about consent

Information about your young person and your family should never be shared without consent.

Young people 12 and over who have enough understanding must be asked for consent before information about them is passed to anyone else. A teacher or other professional who knows them may carry out a “capacity assessment” to work out if they understand what their decision might mean.

If they do not have enough understanding you should be able to give consent on their behalf until they are 16, when you will need guardianship or Power of Attorney. However it is still important you try to find out their wishes and follow them as far as possible..

You may want to talk with your young person about what they are happy sharing so you are both ready when the time comes.

Health and social care partnerships

In 2016 health and social care were integrated in Scotland with the aim of helping services work together better and respond to individual needs more effectively.

Each local authority area in Scotland has a health and social care partnership. The partnerships are run jointly by the NHS and local councils. 

You can find out more about how this works in your area by visiting your council website and entering “health and social care partnership” in the search box.



Preparing for change

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Parent and vlogger Jenny Trott shares advice and tips on preparing for adult healthcare

Useful links

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