Young Adults

Select a different role:

Diagnosis/Early Childhood

Responsibilities: Develop capacity and function as a participant in self-care

Challenges/Developmental tasks:

Back to top


Childhood/Early Adolescence

Responsibilities: Develop capacity and function as a participant in self-care and decision making

Challenges/Developmental tasks:

  • Going through puberty
  • Establish emotional distance from parents Handle concerns about “being normal” and “fitting in”
  • Respond to need to belong to peer group
  • Separate help from support
  • Find partners in care
  • Develop close same sex friendships

Back to top


Middle/Late Adolescence

Responsibilities:
Develop capacity and function as the manager in self-care and decision making

Challenges/Developmental tasks:

  • Develop positive sense of self
  • Develop interpersonal skills
  • Develop mutually supportive relationships with peers
  • Become more independent and autonomous
  • Make decisions and rely on one’s own judgment
  • Have independent relationships with adults outside home
  • Begin love/intimate relationships
  • Identify personal assets and liabilities

Late Adolescent Resources

  • This is Health Care TransitionGrowing up and becoming an adult is difficult for all young adults, but can be especially challenging for young people with special health care needs. (12:00 minutes) Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida
  • Now That You’re in High School: It Is Time to Be More in Charge of Your HealthThis transition guide includes information and activities designed to help teens with special health care needs take a more active role in their own health care. (30 pages, PDF) Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida
  • When You’re 18 – A Health Care Transition Guide for Young AdultsThis is a product of the Health Care Transition Initiative of the Institute for Child Health Policy (ICHP) at the University of Florida. (17 pages, PDF)
  • Transition Health Care Checklist: Preparing for Life as an AdultA resource to help youth and young adults with special health care needs and disabilities make a successful transition to adult living that includes their education, health and community living. (58 pages, PDF)
    Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Healthcare Transition Planning Guide: Ages 18+This guidebook is designed to help parents and young adults with special needs look at future goals, assess teen’s level of independence on key health related activities, identify what parents are doing to support the teen’s autonomy in self-care, and develop a plan to transition from pediatric to adult-oriented health care. (29 pages, PDF)
    Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida
  • Envisioning My FutureThis guide is written for teens/young adults and families and has a separate section for young adults in three different age ranges (12-14; 15-17 and 18+). Each section includes information to help young adults be more in charge of their own health care, tips for parents, and a checklist of transition skills and activities. The guide also includes a list of transition related resources. (24 pages, PDF) Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida
  • Being a Healthy AdultThe purpose of this guide is to teach young adults with disabilities how to become strong self-advocates for their own health and health care. The guide includes activities, worksheets, and tips for communicating effectively with health care providers, keeping track of personal health information, and figuring out what supports will help each individual make the health-related choices that are right for him or her.
    (32 pages, PDF) The Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Back to top


Emerging Adulthood

Responsibilities:

  • Increase competence and independence in decision making.
  • Develop interdependence (shared responsibility, mutual support, and respect)

Challenges/Developmental tasks:

  • Develop healthy self-image
  • Set and achieve educational/vocation goals
  • Separate from parents
  • Financial independence
  • Live independently
  • Establishing a system of mutual supports
  • Establish own family – marriage/life partner, children
  • Participate in community
  • Pursue meaning and happiness

Back to top


Young Adult Resources

This section provides information for children and young adults going through transition. The videos, information and resources are here to support you. You will go through changes
and experiences that will be both challenging and exciting. You will learn to deal with new things regarding your health and other areas, such as school, work, and home.
You may need assistance as you start taking on new responsibilities. Some examples of new experiences may include making a doctor’s appointment, or remembering to take your medication on your own.
Remember that transition takes time. You can always talk to your doctor if you have questions. Having support and resources to help you will make this time a more positive one. We hope you will find this
information useful.

    • Transition Planning: Guidebook for Young Adults and Family.
      This guidebook is a great tool to begin planning for the transition to adulthood. The workbook will be the beginning steps in the transition planning process and will help you stay organized. (16 pages, PDF) Michigan Department of Community Health
    • Healthcare Transition Planning Guide: Ages 12-14This guidebook is designed to help parents and young adults with special needs look at future goals, assess teen’s level of independence on key health related activities, identify what parents are doing to support the teen’s autonomy in self-care, and develop a plan to transition from pediatric to adult-oriented health care. (24 pages, PDF) Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida
    • Talking with Your Doctor.This video teaches teens how to communicate effectively with health care providers so that they answer teens’ questions and give the information and support teens need to be more in charge of their own health. (18:00 minutes) Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida
    • Healthcare Transition Planning Guide: Ages 15-17.
      This guidebook is designed to help parents and youth with special needs look at future goals, assess teen’s level of independence on key health related activities, identify what parents are doing to support the teen’s autonomy in self-care, and develop a plan to transition from pediatric to adult-oriented health care. (28 pages, PDF) Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida
    • Ready? Get Set. Go!
      The booklet includes self-assessment worksheets for youth and contains materials adapted from a number of credited sources that the YEAH Advisory Council wanted to share with other youth with chronic health conditions. (18 pages, PDF) New Hampshire Family Voices (NHFV.org)

Back to top

General Resources

    • Ticket to Work.“It’s fundamentally about the dignity of each human being?about recognizing that work is at the heart of the American Dream.” – President Bill Clinton, December 17, 1999. (14:00 minutes) Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida
    • Got Transition?Got Transition? is a national resource for health care professionals, families, youth, and state policy makers focusing on a young adult’s transition from pediatric to adult health care. This site serves as the basis for an information exchange about health care transition, particularly as pertaining to youth with special health care needs. Features transition tools and tips and other resources are available under each of the main categories of Youth, Family, Providers and States.National Health Care Transition Center
    • Transition Information and ResourcesPlanning for the transition from pediatric doctors to adult doctors, moving from school to work, and reaching your goals and dreams can be exciting and challenging. The materials included will help guide you as you experience life’s transitions.Division of Specialized Care for Children, University of Illinois ? Chicago
    • Transition to AdulthoodAs youth transition to adulthood, there are many things to consider, including health insurance work, school, transportation, housing, and much more. This section provides information for parents and providers so that they can support youth in their growing independence. This section also has information for youth, teens, and young adults to help them learn new skills to be as independent as possible.Medical Home Portal Project, Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah
    • Health Care TransitionsThe mission of the Health Care Transition Initiative at the University of Florida is to increase awareness of, gain knowledge about, and promote cooperative efforts to improve the process transitioning from child-centered (pediatric) to adult oriented health care.Institute for Child Health Policy, University of Florida
    • What has health got to do with transition? Everything!A resource for teens and young adults with special health care needs, chronic illness, physical or developmental disabilities. Includes information for teens/young adults and their families, schools, and health care providers.Adolescent Health Transitions Project, University of Washington
    • Graduating from Pediatric to Adult Health CareFeatures a tool box for health care providers, medical education, insurance & financing, service delivery & models of care, and includes information on advocacy and web links.Florida Health and Transition Services (HATS)
    • Healthy Transitions: Moving from Pediatric to Adult Health CareThis website is for youth with developmental disabilities ages 14-25 years, family caregivers, service coordinators, and health care providers. Teaches skills and provides tools for care coordination, keeping a health summary, and setting priorities during the transition process. It features video vignettes that demonstrate health transition skills and interactive tools that foster self-determination and collaboration.New York State Institute for Health Transition Training
    • Making the Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance ServicesA Toolkit for Youth with Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood. This new guide assists youth in strengthening some of the most fundamental skills essential for successfully managing their own PAS.National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability c/o Institute of Educational Leadership, Washington DC
    • Youth Transition ToolkitThis free online resource is designed to empower youth with disabilities (ages 12-28+) by providing information to assist in the successful transition to life after high school. It contains valuable information and resources on education, independent living, employment, finances, healthcare, and social and recreational opportunities. Each chapter also contains worksheets and tips for parents.The California Health Incentives Improvement Project (CHIIP)

Back to top

This Healthcare Transition resource is for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice.
Acknowledgements: Model adapted from “Letting Grow and Letting Go: From Diagnosis to Adulthood” and the GLADD approach by John Reiss PhD, ICHP, University of Florida