In England, when young people with a statement of special educational needs are preparing to leave school, they go through a process known as transition planning. This involves teachers, social workers and health care professionals, such as speech therapists and physiotherapists, working with the young person, their family members and support workers to assess their needs and interests and to identify opportunities for them, once they leave school.
This can be a stressful time for young people and for their families, who may feel uncertain about what the future holds.
The challenge for many young people is how to be meaningfully involved in the processes of identifying and describing their own desires and needs for the future; how to be understood by the new services and people in their lives. Ideally, every individual should have the opportunity to express his or her preferences, likes and dislikes and hopes. If, however, he or she finds it difficult to understand, or does not communicate with words or language, the transition process has to rely on paper-based descriptions and assessments to convey often subtle and complex information.