Planning for the future, experiencing life changes and gaining skills and knowledge for independence is an important time in any young person’s life.

The term ‘preparing for adulthood’ is used to describe the time in your life as you move from being a child to an adult and can start from year 9.

If you also have additional support needs and receive support from social care, education, and health services, you may require some specific planning, exploration and agreement on a future plan which can be shared with the services that support you.

Preparing young people for adulthood is everyone’s responsibility and starts at a very young age within the family, but the more formal involvement and support of the Preparing for Adulthood Team can start from academic year 10 (14/15 years old).

Things you might be thinking about and planning for could include:

  • Education and employment: what sort of job you would like to do and the courses that could help you get that job.
  • Independent living: thinking about travel, where you would like to live and participating in society.
  • Health: how you stay in good health in adult life and what support is available.
  • Money: managing your money and the types of financial support that might be available.
  • Making more of your own decisions: your right to have your wishes for the future recognised.

If you are a parent or carer of a young adult there is also support available to help.

Get support from the Preparing for Adulthood Team

If you are a young person between the ages of 12 and 18, a carer, parent, or professional seeking support from the Preparing for Adulthood Team, you should first complete our referral form. The form can be completed by a young person themselves or by anyone that has gained consent from the young person or their family.

Complete the preparing for adulthood referral form

Care and support needs at 18+

For anyone aged over 18, social care support will come from Devon County Council’s Adult Social Care services. More information about how to request an assessment of your needs.

To find out more about the type of help that may be available you can use the self-help tool on our Care and Health website.

For more information about who is eligible for adult social care services have a look at our Adult Social Care Policy: Vision, 5 year plan, Annual Report and Strategies page.

Helpful tools

Below are some useful links and tools that the team has put together to help you learn more about how to prepare for adult life and the skills you may need.

  • The Independence Toolkit will help you think about the types of skills that you might need for adulthood. It is a useful way to track your progress in learning new skills, record achievements and recognise things that you may find more challenging. It can also help you to navigate the transitions between services. This could mean moving from school to college, moving between social care and health services or even finding your own place to live.
  • Decision-making toolkit – this document, produced by the Council for Disabled Children, supports young people’s decision-making with practical tools and a best-interest decision-making tool.
  • The Developing Independence Checklist leaflet is a visual tool using small drawings and symbols to explain some of the skills that you might need to develop when preparing for adult life.
  • The Preparing for Adulthood Core Handout provides a summary of things that you need to consider as you prepare to start adult life. These will also be given to you by adulthood social workers at review meetings.
  • National Preparing for Adulthood website, Preparing for Adulthood is a national organisation that works to ensure that young people with SEND achieve paid employment, independent living, good health, friendships, relationships and community inclusion.
  • The Intensive Assessment and Treatment Team can provide specialist health support for people with learning disabilities and their families.
  • The Learning Disability Devon website contains useful information about preparing for adulthood in an easy read format.
  • Devon Information and Advice Service (DiAS), have a dedicated team offering legally-based and easily accessible information and advice about special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). They support parents, carers, children and young people with SEND and our service is impartial and confidential.
  • Dimensions for Autism is a group based in Devon that supports adults on the autistic spectrum who do not have a learning disability. They’ve produced a guide to services for autistic adults, their families, friends and carers.