Transitions and Transition Planning
Transitions are the changes in situations that require us to learn new skills or act differently. Transitions create changes in our routines. These can be changes that happen quickly, such as getting ready for bed, or can be changes that happen over a long period of time, such as the developmental transitions that happen as we grow up. Regardless, transitions are about adapting to changes in our lives.
A transition plan is a blueprint or road map that helps us make the transitions that happen over a longer period of time. For professionals working in the field of NDD, this road map details the typical developmental pathway of children and youth as well as their families with the "destination" being the emergence of well-being on into one's adulthood.
A transition plan identifies the expectations and skills needed at specific ages and developmental stages, and outlines the training and support that parents and support providers need to consider in order to help a person with NDD function well at these developmental stages. A transition plan could be a detailed document for a collaborative support team, a checklist for caregivers, or even just an awareness of the abilities a child/youth should have by a certain age and who can support them. Regardless of the format, the goal of a transition plan is to help parents and support workers build the supports a person with NDD needs to positively move from adolescence into adulthood.
Planning for the developmental transitions that lead to adulthood is especially important for children/youth with NDD because developmental skills may emerge differently than neurotypical peers. Children and youth with NDD may require more help with some life skills, and more support to navigate subsequent steps in their developmental journey. They also may need ongoing support as they move into adulthood.
The following videos examine why support with transitions is particularly important for youth with NDD and their families.
In the first video you will hear the story of one parent’s experience navigating transitions for her son with NDD. The second video looks at the dynamics of change and why transitions can be difficult for individuals with NDD.
The support needs of children with NDD do not necessarily follow the same chronological timeframe as a typical child and the transitions themselves can be more daunting and more complicated.
Parents and support workers use transition plans to understand and develop the supports that an individual with NDD needs to function well. Transition planning helps families and individuals with NDD prepare for and gain support with the inevitable changes that happen as they grow and become adults. Planning for skill development and future support eases these transitions for both individuals with NDD and their families.