Becoming an adult

Extra time to complete learning

It is expected that some young people with SEND will take longer to complete their learning.

Talk to your family, staff at your current school or college, or anyone else who works with you (if you have a social worker, they would usually be involved), about what you would like to do in the future. Together, you can explore course options which best match your future plans, and you can discuss support you might need with the next stage of your learning.

Schools and colleges provide careers advice and can help you work out the best route towards your education and work goals. This might include identifying opportunities for work experience or volunteering, for example.

See also below ‘The importance of your education, health and care (EHC) plan‘.

Leaving school or college

This can be an exciting time in your life, though it is normal to feel anxious about this change.

Before you leave school or college, it can be helpful to take some time to prepare for your next steps. Think about what will change for you and what you might need some help with.

It can be helpful to talk to people who know and support you, and go over what worked well in the past when you’ve prepared for a new experience.

Getting a job

There are many options for young people, including volunteering, apprenticeships, supported internships, paid employment or employment with training. More information about the options can be found on the Suffolk Local Offer website and The Source for young people.

If you are aiming to get into paid employment, you can contact Jobcentre Plus and ask to speak to one of their Disability Employment Advisers.

There is also a helpful website ‘I can be a‘ which has lots of information about different jobs and qualifications needed.

Support towards independence

The local authority must carry out an assessment (under section 58 of The Care Act 2014) if it they think you might have significant care and support needs when you reach the age of 18.

The timing of this can be flexible as long as this happens ahead of your 18th birthday – there should be no gaps in support or services provided.

If you have an education, health and care (EHC) plan, the assessment might take place as part of an annual review of your plan. From an early stage (year 9 at the latest), an annual review gives you the opportunity to ask for changes to the plan, for example, this might include support to enable you to live and travel independently or manage your own money.

See also below ‘The importance of your education, health and care (EHC) plan‘.

Health and relationships

Young people (aged 14 to 25) with a learning disability are encouraged to book an appointment for a free, annual health check (mencap easy read PDF) at their local surgery. This provides the opportunity to talk about any health worries you have, including any questions you might have about changes to your body (puberty).

The Suffolk Learning Disability Partnership have lots of information for young people , including easy-read guides covering the NHS, sexual health and consent, and LGBGTQ+/transgender.

The importance of your education, health and care (EHC) plan

The purpose of an EHC plan is that it helps you to achieve your aims and goals. When you give your views during the annual review of your plan, it is important to think about any changes to the outcomes (any new aims or goals that you have). The provision (the support you will need to achieve those) can then be included to match your aims. As you get older, this might include travel training or help to manage money, for example.

Planning for becoming an adult should happen as early as possible – and in year 9 at the very latest. Read more about annual reviews of education, health and care (EHC) plans.

If you stay in education or training (such as an apprenticeship), your EHC plan might be in place for you until you are 25. It will end when you get a job, if you go to university, or if the outcomes have all been achieved.

Where can I get more information, advice and support?

SENDIASS can give you information about your rights and help you to understand options.

Useful links

Education, health and care plans

‘My role at annual review’

How to share your views in an Annual Review‘ Factsheet for young people from the youth advisory group (FLARE)

Getting help in school or college

Wellbeing support and advice for young people

Child/young person’s voice

Suffolk Local Offer website

Suffolk Preparing for Adulthood guide (opens PDF)

Easy-read guide to the Care Act 2014

The Source (for young people)

The Suffolk Learning Disability Partnership (easy-read guides covering the NHS, sexual health and consent, and LGBGTQ+/transgender – information for young people)

Resources from the Suffolk County Council Inclusion facilitators