ALL CHANGE: Transition into adult life

Reviewed by Rachel Gilmore, Sunbeam House, Bray, Co. Wicklow

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Making the transition from school to a post-school option is a difficult time for all school leavers; for young adults with a disability it can be even more challenging. School leavers and their families should have the opportunity to learn what is available and the choices they have ahead of them.

All Change is a package designed to address the issues surrounding transition in the United Kingdom. It consists of two parts: Part 1, a guide written for parents and professionals, and Part 2, which is produced in accessible language for the young person themselves.

Throughout the package, reference is made to the UK system, and suggestions are given for further reading, contact numbers and websites. It starts with a look at the planning that takes place at school, the interview and selection process when looking at post-school options and residential services and it then discusses transport, entitlements, making friends and developing relationships.

Whilst the package is obviously geared towards a UK audience, there are a number of useful guidelines that would be applicable to any service provider, family or individual going through the transition process. Checklists are provided for parents and support staff on different topics; these are not specific to the UK and could be used as a guideline for any individual in this position. The checklists include questions to ask at a planning meeting or when viewing a post-school option, getting and providing support for the young person making the transition, and a checklist to follow when choosing accommodation.

It is difficult for families and school leavers to gather the information needed to make informed choices, All Change attempts to do this for families and school leavers within the UK, and whilst not directly applicable to groups within Ireland, there are areas that would provide a useful guideline for individuals involved on the transition process.

ALL CHANGE: Transition into adult life—a resource for young people with learning difficulties, family carers and professionals, by Robina Mallett, Margaret Power and Pauline Heslop (2003). Pavilion Publishing, The Ironworks, Cheapside, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 4GD. Ring binder, stg£65.95 (10% discount for Frontline readers; also a parents’ price of £15 +p&p is advertised on website: www.pavpub.com). ISBN 1 84196 107 8.

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