Transition is the process experienced by adolescents with special health care needs and disabilities as they become adults.
Transition involves many things, including:
- Health care
The goal of transition is help adolescents become more independent in their thoughts and actions.
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 might benefit from learning about health care transition.
What is health care transition?
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. Your parents have managed your appointments, your medications, and your treatments.
You probably already know a lot about your own condition and your body. 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 health care needs may require you to start earlier to plan for your future. You have a lot to learn, including:
- How to stay healthy as an adult
- How to pay for your health care
- How your school can help you achieve your goals for college or work
- How and when you will live in the community independently
How can I learn more about transition?
Please take time to read the information on this website. Talk to your parents, your health care providers and your teachers about your future. Let us know how we can assist you!
The following links provide more information about transition:
- Transition Planning for Adolescents with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities: Information for Families and Teens (2000) (PDF): a booklet for families to help them prepare with their teen for his or her adulthood. The transition to adulthood will be best accomplished if families devote extra effort and energy to that transition.
- Vocational Rehabilitation Services of New Hampshire
- Vocational Rehabilitation Services of Vermont.
- Granite State Independent Living (GSIL): a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to promote quality of life with independence for people with disabilities committed to equality of opportunity for all people with disabilities. GSIL is well-known for its Teens Coping Program, a peer support network. Learn more about Teens Coping.