We can all remember the acne and the angst of our teenage years as it's a difficult time for everyone. It's even tougher though for teenagers with additional needs. Teenagers with ASD may even find the changes going on in their own bodies stressful and girls with learning difficulties may be really struggling to cope with the onset of menstruation. The growth spurt may be acerbating existing musculoskeletal problems, and the hormones could be playing havoc with medical conditions such as epilepsy and diabetes.

Teenagers with additional needs may be depressed because their friends seem to be leaving them behind and they may be very anxious about leaving Children's Services and going into Adult Services. Leaving the familiarity of school to go to college can be a daunting prospect especially if noisy environments and new routines are a challenge.

And it's a tough time too for parents and other care-givers; concerns about losing services, future day care or even how your child will cope in the big bad world are very real. It isn't just a transition for children it's a transition for parents as well.

We really do appreciate the challenges facing families during this difficult transition and there are lots of ways we can help.

  • Supporting teenagers to access more age appropriate activities such as going to a gym, a football match, or to practice the guitar or to develop skills as a DJ.
  • Supporting teenagers to pursue their hobbies or special interests more independently.
  • Working with teenagers to develop independence skills such using public transport, cooking or choosing more age appropriate clothes.
  • PHSE - working with teenagers to increase their awareness of healthy eating, staying safe, personal hygiene and sex education.
  • Befriending them - going out having fun, providing a sympathetic and confidential ear for all the gripes and annoyances, and providing encouragement and positive reinforcement.
  • School work - for example we can support teenagers by writing up their work for them either by hand or on a computer/laptop, or assisting with research, supporting them to use a calculator or spellchecker, or helping with preparation for design technology.