Talking about tomorrow


Making a transition plan

What should a plan include?

What a transition plan looks like can vary a lot. Some regions use quite official looking forms. Others have colourful booklets with lots of pictures and simple language. Sometimes parents aren’t aware of having seen the plan, or haven’t recognised what it is.

Whatever a plan looks like, it should include:

  • A profile of the young person – information about them and how their condition affects them, their likes and dislikes, maybe with input from key family members and friends.
  • Any thoughts, plans or ideas they may have for the future
  • Their skills, abilities and achievements
  • The skills, abilities or qualifications they still need to get
  • The support they receive now and where/who it comes from
  • The support they will need, looking ahead
  • A clear plan detailing next steps and who will be responsible for each one
  • Timescales for actions, and for reviewing the plan.

It’s important to make sure your young person’s views are heard and taken into account, even if they seem unrealistic or you don’t agree with them. You can also ask anyone who knows them well, or who is involved in their care and support, for their views.

Things to consider

Lots of young people don’t know what they want to do in the future, so don’t worry.

  • Start by focusing on who your young person is and what they want or need in life. What do they like? What can they do now, and how you can build on that when school isn’t there any more? Think about how they will spend their time, day by day.
  • That could include college or training. But it could also be helping friends or neighbours, for example with shopping or gardening or looking after pets. It could be volunteering – people can sometimes volunteer for as little as half an hour and build up gradually. It might include an activity like swimming or painting. Think outside the box and make the plan about them, not someone else.
  • Look for ways to develop their confidence and ability over time. Small steps are still progress! Keep encouraging them to do as much for themselves as they can.
  • Social skills are important, so make sure the plan includes chances to develop those, too.
  • Include any support they’ll need. Transport? Special equipment? A carer or befriender? It can take time to get the right support structure but it’s essential for the plan to work well.
  • Don’t forget things can change! Maybe your young person tries something and it’s not for them. Perhaps you discover a new option. Or something just doesn’t work out. If the main focus of the plan is on the young person and how they connect with the world around them, it should be possible to change it over time without life falling apart.

How to make a plan

Write down short, medium, and longer term goals. These will be different for everyone, but a short term goal might be something like making own lunches or doing physio, medium might be learning to manage travel, and long term could be anything from trying a new activity to moving into their own home.

Focus on one goal at a time and work out what is needed to make it happen. Does the young person need to learn any new skills first? What support or equipment might they need? Does anyone else need to be involved? If so, who?

Think about a timescale for the short term goals. These will be steps on the way to achieving the others. Of course you can set timescales for those too, but that’s a personal thing – for some people that’s helpful, others find it overwhelming.

Write everything down. Check out life planning templates online or planning apps to find one that works for you – or use the downloads on the right, if they’re helpful. The important thing is to have something to refer back to.

Turn it into action. Write down who will do what to reach the goal, and when you’ll review progress. Don’t be discouraged – if you don’t progress as fast as you thought just work out what held you up and plan for that next time.

Breaking large tasks into smaller chunks makes things more manageable and can stop you feeling swamped. It’s a good idea to introduce your young person to planning in a structured way where possible too, as a useful life skill.

Be flexible. Ideas change, new opportunities come up and sometimes things just don’t work out. That’s life. You can revise the plan as often as necessary to make sure it’s complete and up to date.