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Preparing for Adulthood Q&As

On this page, you can find answers to your questions regarding preparing for the future if you have a child with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

All the questions have been submitted by local parents and answered by Local Authority staff. Click on a question to read the response.  

When should I start planning for my child’s future after they leave school?

It is never too early to start considering your child’s post-school future. It can be useful to have discussions with your child from an early age to find out about their interests and what ambitions they have.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), formal planning for their future should begin from when they enter Year 9 (or from when they turn 14 years old). From this time, your child’s annual reviews will not just focus on their education but on planning for what they want to do after leaving school.  

What should I do to prepare my child for the future/post-16?

When your child reaches Year 9, you should start to think seriously about what they plan to do after leaving school. You should have discussions with your child to identify their interests and their hopes and ambitions for the future. For some this might be further education and training, or a job. For other young people, ambitions might be greater independence, having their own home or doing the things they enjoy. For more information on what to think about, please visit our Preparing for Adulthood section on the Local Offer.  

Once you know what your child wants from the future, you should work with the range of professionals involved in supporting your child to plan a way to help them get there. If your child has an EHCP, this planning process will be an important part of their annual reviews.

What support and opportunities will be needed to prepare your child for the future depends on your family’s individual circumstances and your child’s ambitions. The professionals who work with your child are the best placed to advise you on the ways you can help make this preparation easier. However, for more information on the opportunities that are available, visit our Preparing for Adulthood page.     

Can children with SEND be supported in further education?

Yes. Mainstream colleges are required to support young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) in a similar way to schools. This means that they must do everything they can to meet the needs of a young person with SEND. They must also appoint somebody to hold responsibility for SEND Support - similar to a School SENDCO.

To find out about what a further education college can do to support your child with SEND, you should contact them directly. Contact details can be found on the college’s website or on their record on the Local Offer.  

Where can my child get support to find a job?

An organisation called Balance offers employment support to those 18+ with a disability including one-to-one advice and guidance, in-work job coach support and help with in work related benefits. Support is provided for those looking for paid work, work experience or voluntary work.

Further information can be found on the Balance Employment Service record on the Local Offer.

What is a job coach? Can my child have one?

A job coach provides 1:1 in-work support to assist an individual with special educational needs and disabilities to fulfil their role to the best of their ability. They can help both with young people who are on a Supported Internship programme or in paid work. This is so that an individual is not substantially disadvantaged when doing their job. A job coach might advise and implement reasonable adjustments with an employer and provide 1:1 assistance until a supported intern or employee has mastered their job and is able to carry out the day to day tasks independently.

A job coach is usually funded through an Access to Work grant which can be completed on behalf of a young person by an employer, JCP Disability Employment Adviser, education provider or supported employment service.

Information about Access to Work grants and the eligibility criteria can be found on the Government website.

What is a supported internship? How could it help my child?

Supported internships are structured work-based study programmes. They enable young people aged 16-24 with an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the employability skills they need through gaining real-life experience and learning in the workplace.

Supported internships are unpaid, and usually last an academic year (11 months). Interns are based in the workplace 3-4 days a week completing three different work rotations. Wherever possible, the intern is supported to move into paid employment at the end of the programme. Alongside their time with the employer, supported interns complete a personalised study programme which includes the chance to study for relevant qualifications (such as Health and Safety, Food Hygiene, Employability) if appropriate, and English and maths.

The High Street Kensington Supported Internship is delivered in partnership with Kensington and Chelsea Council, West London College and Action on Disability where interns have the opportunity to complete work rotations across a range of council departments with the support of an expert job coach. Placement opportunities include; Customer Service, Parks and Leisure, Facilities, Postal, Adult Social Care, Benefits, HR, Libraries and Housing.

For more information, contact Rachel Edwards (SEND Employment Pathways Coordinator at Kensington and Chelsea Council) T: 07739 315424 E: rachel.edwards@rbkc.gov.uk

To apply for the September 2019 programme contact Angie Hincks (Supported Internship Coordinator at West London College) T: 020 8231 6140  E: a.hincks@wlc.ac.uk  

How can I make sure my child’s EHCP and schoolwork are employment focused?

Once your child reaches Year 9, their EHCP annual reviews must start focusing on planning for their post-school future. This planning must be centred around the interests and ambitions of your child and must consider the support required to help your child reach their goals.

EHCP annual review planning should always be working towards your child entering further education, training or a job. Steps must then be agreed and taken to ensure support is given to your child that prepares them for this next step on the pathway to long-term employment.  

As a parent, you should be fully involved in proposing and agreeing plans to help prepare your child for the future at the annual review meetings up until your child reaches Year 11. After Year 11, young people themselves will have a say.

If you have concerns about the way your views are taken forward at annual review meetings, you may consider contacting the Independent Advice and Support Service (IASS) for impartial advice on your situation. 

Will my child be able to live independently?

Your local transition team, run by the Westminster Learning Disability Partnership, would work to ensure your child can live as independently as possible as an adult.

The first step would be an assessment, where the transition team would work with the young person and their families to gather as much information as possible.

Assessments the team could offer include:

  • FACE overview assessment (sometimes known as a Core Assessment). This would give us a view of their needs, health conditions, support networks and open up discussions on their desires for the future in terms of accommodation, education and employment.
  • Carers Assessment. This is offered to those who are caring for the young people we work with in an unpaid capacity, often parents or siblings, so that we can better understand the full extent of their caring role and the support they provide as well as the impact that this has on them.
  • Mental Capacity Assessment. This is the legal framework we would use to support us in assessing whether a young person is able to make a decision for themselves or not.

To help them live independently, a young person may also benefit from:

  • Speech and Language assessment, to maximise their communication.
  • Occupational Therapy and/or Physiotherapy assessment, to understand any physical barriers to maximising their independence and looking at how these could be overcome.

Young people would also be assessed by any possible placements so that the transition team can be assured they understand and can plan to meet the young person’s needs.

For more information, you can contact the Westminster Learning Disability Partnership by calling 0207 641 7411 or emailing adminwldp@westminster.gov.uk.

Last Updated 03/07/2019

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