Transitions to adulthood for disabled young people: literature review

A literature review, commissioned by the Scottish Government, of existing Scottish, UK and International evidence on the experiences faced by disabled young people during their transition to adulthood. The review also explores best practice in supporting disabled young people during this time.

Scottish Government Foreword

Scottish Ministers have committed to delivering a National Transition to Adulthood Strategy during this parliamentary term "to support disabled young people as they make the transition to adult life, and provide them and those who look after them with joined‑up guidance and support to unlock better educational and employment opportunities and health outcomes". This was announced in A fairer, greener Scotland 2021-2022 Programme for Government, published on 7 September 2021[1].

There is already good evidence that transitions and the planning for disabled young people who require support going into adulthood could be improved. There is also recognition and endorsement by many stakeholders that the Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC)[2] approach and the Principles of Good Transitions[3], produced by the Association for Real Change (ARC) Scotland, can guide and support professionals in all sectors involved in providing transition support for young people.

The Scottish Government, however, wanted to develop a more comprehensive picture of what a good transitional experience from school to adulthood would look like for all disabled children and young people, to help inform future stakeholder engagement and to support the development of a National Transitions to Adulthood Strategy.

In February 2022, The Diffley Partnership were awarded a short-term social research contract by the Scottish Government to undertake a literature review of Scottish, UK and international evidence on the main challenges and experiences faced by young disabled people during their transition to adulthood. The research also included a review of evidence of best practice when supporting people on this journey.

The specific scope of this project was to deliver:

  • A literature review of transitions to adult life, with a particular focus on what disabled children and young people have said to date;
  • Gaps in evidence analysis; and
  • Topic guides to assist further engagement.

The Scottish Government wishes to thank Nicholas Heslop, Mark Diffley, Chris Creegan and Dawn Griesbach, from The Diffley Partnership, for the research they have undertaken which has culminated in this report. These findings will now form part of the evidence base for the development of Scotland's first National Transitions to Adulthood Strategy.



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