The Road Ahead – Literature review
This review has highlighted a number of areas where comprehensive, and up-to-date information about transition is urgently needed by young people with learning difficulties and their families. Although much of this information exists (in journal papers, reports, books and websites), it is not currently in formats that are easily accessible and available to young people and families. Young people and families want information about changes, choices, services and emotions at transition that they can digest and mull over at home (Rowland-Crosby et al, 2003a).
The provision of accurate and culturally-appropriate information for young people and families from Black and minority ethnic groups is essential. O'Sullivan's research (2001) found that issues faced by young disabled people and carers from Black and minority ethnic groups at transition included:
- A lack of information about services and benefits - a crucial issue where another language was spoken at home. Interpreting was not routinely available for welfare rights advice.
- Young disabled people regularly interpreted for carers in relation to their own services.
- Major disadvantages and confusion in relation to services resulted where a young person had high individual support needs and the carers had no English. These families have contact with a large number of different services which rarely use interpreters or translated material.
- Two Black carers highlighted the crucial impact of previous experience of racism and discrimination on people's approach to and experience of services.
Information needs to be individually tailored where necessary to meet the communication support needs of individual young people with learning difficulties. The Connexions PA is likely to play a key role in co-ordinating information about transition and adulthood and in ensuring it meets the needs of the young people they are supporting. But other agencies and services should also ensure that adequate and accurate information is available in appropriate formats about the options and provision they offer, and be prepared to welcome young people and families for visits, fact finding days, or face-to-face enquiries about the nature of the choices available.
Mitchell's (1999) research found that parents had particular 'fears of the unknown' associated with day services and future housing options for their disabled youngsters. These fears were often based on social evaluations and presumptions which may have been allayed by more and earlier information. Providing accurate information at transition is very important and can help to allay some of the fears and concerns experienced during the move towards adulthood.