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Preparing for Adulthood

When your child is young, you make most of the decisions for them. But as your child gets older, they begin to make decisions for themselves. This can be a difficult time, especially for parents of disabled children.

For more and more youngsters, planning for adulthood can start at primary school age. The journey to adulthood will also span child and adult services in education, health and care as well as a changing benefits system. Here are some useful websites, contacts and events to help you guide your young people along the way.

Useful information

Pinpoint Preparing for Adulthood Group

Our support group for parents and carers of young people aged 14-25 is run by Jackie King.  And usually meets termly at Bar Hill Tesco's community room. To find out more, please contact Jackie on 01480 499043 or email jackie@pinpoint-cambs.org.uk

Work to Success - Next Steps from VoiceAbility

  • Free individual support for young people in South Cambridgeshire aged 16-25 with autistic spectrum conditions or communications difficulties
  • skills profiling and finding the right job for you
  • Confidence building and managing anxiety
  • Completing CVs and application forms
  • Supported work placements

Contact: Lydia Eldridge on 07920481985 or email lydia.eldridge@voiceability.org

Information recommended by parents in our network

One Page Profile

You might want to create a one page profile with your young person which highlights important information about him or her.  This can include: What’s important to me, What people like and admire about me, and How best to support me.  Look here for some ideas (PDF).

Cambridgeshire Police

StaySafe Card

Developed to help vulnerable people get support in the community. The cards holds  information about health concernss, communication issues and helpful contact details for friends and family. The cards can be shown at any point, to help offer advice and information to vulnerable young people who may feel scared and isolated when they are out on their own. The cards have been developed by the Speaking Up projects, Cambridgeshire County Council's Children’s and Young Peoples Disability Team Cambridgeshire Constabulary.  Download a card to print out below.

PEAL (Police Enhanced Access Line)

Cambridgeshire Police have a service for people who have difficulties with communication and who may benefit from additional support when contacting the police. This service provides pre-registered citizens direct access to a highly trained police call taker if they ever need to contact Cambridgeshire Constabulary.  Find out more and register 

Education welfare bursaries for 16-19s

Young people who need financial support to stay on in further education or training can apply for a bursary to pay for things such as books, equipment and transport.  Students with disabilities who get both Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in their name can claim up to £1200. More information on the county council website.

What can students with SEN expect from their college?

Douglas Silas, Principal of Douglas Silas Solicitors, explains the requirements on colleges to support students with SEN. View the SEN Magazine article 

Apprenticeships

Disability Rights UK has produced a guide to apprenticeships for young people with disabilities.  You can download a free pdf version via the DRUK website

University Guide from the National Autistic Society

This guide from the NAS covers the application process, deciding on a course, entry requirements and what support you can expect once at university.

Finding employment

Evenbreak is a not-for-profit social enterprise set up to help match talented disabled people with employers. You can also get advice on CVs and information on organisations who can provide support. 

In Cambridgeshire, social enterprises include Phoenix Milton, a charity based in Milton near Cambridge. It offers supported work experience and employability qualifications to young people and adults with a range of learning difficulties. The site has a concrete factory, carpentry workshops, a kitchen garden and canteen kitchen and is open to the public for the sale of products produced on site.  Telephone: Tel. 01223 420669, Website 

Switch Now, launched last autumn in St Neots, is a community interest company offering supported training and employment skills to young adults with learning disabilities and difficulties.  Website

First Steps to Success’ This is 20+ week employment programme from Papworth Trst supports clients with a learning disability to progress in to paid or voluntary work. This also can be a tool to support and improve life skills and make progression into all areas of their lives.The course involves a session per week which would deliver a different module to the client, this would be in a one-to-one learning environment. The course can  be tailored to meets the different needs of the clients.

Once the client has reachedhis/her goals and found suitable employment or placement after 20 weeks, then free in-work support is provided for the first six months.

Eligibility: to access the course young people need to be 16+ with a learning disability. There is a free initial assessment with the client, family and support staff. 

Find the First Steps to Success brochure iat the bottom of the page. 

More details:  Dave Sira, Employment Advisor, Papworth Trust, Hawthorn Way, Cambridge, CB4 1AX

T: 0300 456 2425  Ext: 11906

The Moving On guide from the county council also has social enterprise contacts and information.