Supporting the transition to adulthood

Last week, our Children and Families Manager, Nichola, joined a workshop looking at how services can better support young people, and their families, as they make the move from high school into work or further education.

It’s a moment in life that can be difficult for any child or young person – but for someone living with or affected a long-term condition like HIV, it can be all the more stressful.

Most of the young people we work with face challenging home lives, often with experience of issues like addiction, difficult family relationships and domestic abuse. As a result many have additional support needs like ADHD, and can feel overwhelmed by the emotions of big changes like moving on from education.

The workshop, organised by the Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council, brought together service providers and users to look at best practice to improve these transitions. Discussions focused on how services can work together to coordinate support, to ensure that young people are involved in decisions about their lives, and to ensure that the right information and support is available to young people and their families.

The issues discussed at the workshop tie in with what we’ve found working with young people as they mature through the transition from childhood to adulthood. For example, recent work on relaxation techniques has been focused on supporting young people to manage their emotions more effectively, while our annual residentials provide important opportunities for learning and peer support.

The workshop also reinforced findings from research we commissioned looking at young people’s views on the transition from paediatric to adult services. Researchers worked with members of our Poz Youth group, along with Children and Families Project Worker, Lynne. Among the recommendations from the research were to provide young people with greater choice over how their needs are met, to ensure that support is based on the individuals’ needs, and making sure that accessible information is available to families.

Following the workshop, we will be continuing to look at ways we can work with young people, and the other services they engage with, to support them through the difficult challenges they face as they move into adulthood.