Transition (part 1)

There’s been talk of planning for Jacob’s “transition to adulthood.”

It’s a thing we have to think about from around year nine – what sort of life we would like for him when he “transitions”. Now he’s 13 he’s known to the “transition” worker. She wrote a paragraph for his EHCP (Education, health and care plan) review. She’s never met him or us but we’re on her radar.

You might be thinking that my use of “” means I’m not that happy with the phrase “Transition”, well you might be right.

It’s an irritating little word and until this evening I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Is it actually a real word? I don’t hear any parent in a mainstream setting discussing transitions when their child moves on to sixth form or university. It sounds like it’s a noun being used as a verb. Remember the Olympic Games? How those that won medals were said to have “medaled”? Well, no a medal is a thing and winning one is a doing thing! Medaling is not a thing and I’m not convinced transitioning is a thing either. But I’ve looked it up and it is a real word and our son will be doing it in during the next few years so that’s not it … I can’t let that be the reason it annoys me.

Charlotte didn’t “transition” to adulthood she just grew up and it seems to me giving this natural, normal process another name is just hammering it home that Jacob won’t, in many respects be growing up.

Yeah, thanks. I know it’s probably unfair of me after all there’s no normal process for Jacob and professionals need to call it something … but … it still annoys me!

Perhaps it’s the feeling that the word has less emphasis on the child and more on other agendas? I’ve spoken to a few parents whose children have “transitioned” and consistently I’ve learned that although there’s lots of talk about planning for post 18 (or if they stay in education, post 25) funds and a place are only secured six months (or less) before the child’s 18th birthday. So in this climate of no money, “don’t get your hopes up!”, I think I’m going with the headline on Mencap’s Transition page on their website:

“Mencap Transition to adult services. What’s next. See what options there are and (and here’s the important bit) how services for your child will change.”

That’s what it’s all about. It’s preparing parents for the fact that at some level their child will become an adult in the eyes of society. It’s less about them becoming an adult and more about standing on the edge of the children’s services cliff … and plummeting over the edge into adult services. Can’t wait!

Join our Community Of Families