• Transition Planning

    The Complex Care Center at Cincinnati Children's provides information and resources to help families plan for the challenges of transitioning their children to adulthood.

  • "Transition" is generally defined as the passage from child-centered activities to adult-oriented activities. It occurs in several main aspects of life:

    • From pediatric healthcare to adult healthcare
    • From adolescence to adulthood
    • From school to work
    • From home to community

    There are many challenges that make the transition process to adulthood difficult. Some examples include:

    • Disabilities changing with age
    • Loss of support systems
    • Aging caregivers
    • Loss of insurance coverage
    • Guardianship status
    • Mental health issues for patient or family members
    • School-provided support services are difficult to replace (occupation, physical and speech therapies, as well as nursing, transportation and school psychology services)
    • Adult physicians' limited knowledge or comfort level with pediatric conditions

    Planning for the transition from adolescence to adulthood begins at age 14 years. Consideration should be given at that time to both career goals and life skills training, given the adolescents strengths, interests and challenges. This helps create a vision for adult life.

    By age 16 years these elements should be included in the school Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and links to community resources / agencies should be facilitated.

    Remember that public special education services are available until age 22 years; therefore, a decision about "deferred graduation" must be made at or prior to 18 years of age. Learn more about Education and Postsecondary Education Options.

    Life skills is a term that is used to describe tasks that are needed for an adult to be able to take care of themselves. When evaluating what type of support an adolescent may need, it can be helpful to categorize each task by:

    • Can do by self
    • Need help from family / friends
    • Need help from community resources

    Examples of life skills, include:

    • Get and keep a job
    • Have money to support self
    • Budget money and pay bills
    • Balance and use a checkbook
    • Plan, shop and cook meals
    • Clean house
    • Read and follow bus schedule
    • Participate in social activities
    • Fill prescriptions and take medicine
    • Make and keep appointments
    • Manage a home emergency
    • Maintain appropriate personal hygiene
    • Advocates for Youth provides information on adolescent reproductive and sexual health, and resources for professionals