Rights of passage: Supporting disabled young people through the transition to adulthood

In our research into children with autism, special educational needs, disabilities and life-limiting conditions, we noticed the same question cropping up again and again: What will happen to these children when they grow up?

Our latest report, Rights of passage, answers this question and looks at how disabled teenagers can make a successful transition from childhood to adulthood. The report highlights how charities are plugging gaps in government services and helping young people to lead more independent lives.

With public spending cuts on the horizon, charities’ work will become all the more important, and private funding can make a big difference. For example, funders can enable disabled young people to get the education they want by supporting charities that help them find the right college or university course. Or they can fund charities that champion the cause of people with hidden disabilities, such as learning disabilities, whose needs might otherwise be overlooked.

 One teenager, Jamie, was born with a condition that meant he wasn’t expected to live beyond age 12. After leaving school, the best social services could offer him was a place in a nursing home with elderly people. It was only because of a charity’s help that he got a place in a house with people his own age.

Clare Yeowart, report author