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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
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Teen Transition

Transition is the term used to describe a dynamic process experienced by adolescents with special health care needs and disabilities as they become adults.

Photo of teenager

Transition entails not only transfer of care to an adult provider but all facets of adult life, including health care, education, employment and recreation. The goal of transition is for adolescents to move towards autonomy.

What are special health care needs?

You probably have what is called a SPECIAL HEALTH CARE NEED if you are a pre-teen or a teenager who:

  • Goes to your health care provider often to have checkups for a special illness
  • Takes a prescribed medication daily or frequently to help you stay healthy
  • Misses school for a recurrent significant medical problem
  • Needs to use special equipment for a condition that makes it difficult for you to do the same activities as many of the kids your own age

Some people might call your condition a chronic illness or a disability. It might be a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or an emotional condition that requires that you use health or related services beyond that required by others.

If you have a special health care need then you are one of the more than 13 percent (and some figures indicate up to 20 percent) of young people in the United States who do and you might benefit from learning about HEALTH CARE TRANSITION.

What is health care transition?

Simply put, health care transition is the process of moving from a child–centered health care system to an adult-oriented system. As a child you have pediatricians and pediatric specialists for your special health care needs and your parents have managed your appointments, your medications, and your treatments.

You probably know a lot about your own condition and your body but as you become more independent you will begin to take over the responsibilities that your parents had. This is a major change and a complicated process.

Your transition as a teen with special healthcare needs may require you to start earlier to plan for your future. You have a lot to learn about how you will stay healthy as an adult, how you will pay for your health care, how your school can help you develop and implement your goals for college or work, and how and when you will live in the community independently.

How can I learn more about transition?

Please take time to look over all the information on this website. Talk to your parents, your healthcare providers and your teachers about your future. Let us know how we can assist you!

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