Navigating Transitions with Your Child

Children and youth with special health care needs face many changes throughout their lives, such as moves between hospitals, home, schools, work or college, and from child health care to adult health care (see graphic below). Each transition is a chance for your child and family to gain skills that will help you and your child succeed and manage future changes. This section has tips to help you and your child with these transitions.

Transition - Adam and Araya graduating high school
The medical home, as a source of comprehensive care, is an ideal place to talk about these issues, and it should help with transition planning throughout your child's life. The more you and your child know about his or her special health care needs, the better prepared you will all be for your child to have as much independence as possible as an adult.
"...Transition is a process, not an event. The actual process should be gradual, occurring in harmony with adolescent and family development. While there is not one current model, whenever it occurs, communication among pediatric and adult providers, parents and youth is critical." (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities)
This section has two parts:
  • School Transitions
  • Transition to Adulthood
You can find vital information from many starting points, such as the child's age or specific needs. No matter their specific challenges, children, youth, and adults with special health care needs will benefit from a team effort toward making transitions as smooth as possible.

To build a life plan: Start with the end goals in mind

Transition Continuum


Information & Support

For Parents and Patients

Got Transition for Youth and Families
This user-friendly site has a step-by-step guide for families with specific information about health care transition; provided by the Center for Health Care Transition Improvement.

Respecting the Young Adult Patient Video (UISP)
An 8-minute video of a panel discussion of young adults with special healthcare needs offering their perspectives to healthcare providers to improve sensitivity. From the Utah Integrated Services--Medical Home Project.

Authors & Reviewers

Last update/revision: December 2018
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Author: Gina Pola-Money