SEND young people and preparing for adulthood

Find information for young people with special educational needs and disabilities entering adulthood.

Preparing for adulthood is a process that all young people go through when they move on from being a teenager and become an adult. It is an exciting time but it has been recognised that this can be a difficult time for some young people, especially those with special educational needs and disabilities. It can sometimes take longer and take much more careful preparation than for other young people of a similar age.

The Special Education Needs and Disabilities Code of Practice (2014) says we need to start thinking about preparing for adulthood from an early age, and be making specific plans from Year 9 onwards. Young people with an education, health and care plan should be thinking about including outcomes in their plan that help them to prepare for adulthood. This should include plans for education, training or employment, health needs, housing, leisure, social relationships, and social care amongst other things. We are working to build on and improve the existing pathways to adulthood for young people across the county.

Education, health and care plans are reviewed during person-centred meetings and people who know the young person well can also help the young person to plan for the future. However, once the young person is 16 their views will be paramount.

Raising aspirations

The code of practice reinforces the belief that with high aspirations, and the right support, the vast majority of children and young people can go on to achieve successful long-term outcomes in adult life. Agencies across North Yorkshire will work together to help children and young people to realise their ambitions in relation to:

  • Higher education and/or employment - including exploring different employment options, such as support for becoming self-employed and help from supported employment agencies;
  • Independent living - enabling people to have choice and control over their lives and the support they receive, their accommodation and living arrangements, including supported living;
  • Participating in society - including having friends and supportive relationships, and participating in, and contributing to, the local community; and
  • Being as healthy as possible in adult life.

Related pages

SEND and post-16 education, employment and training

Preparing for adulthood

Social housing

This refers to housing that is owned by the local council or a housing association. It is advisable to contact the district or borough council to put your name on the housing register and fill in an application form.

A scheme called 'choice based lettings' operates in North Yorkshire in all districts and boroughs except Harrogate. Each week there is a list of available homes advertised on the Council's website. If you see a house that you like you "bid" for that house.

You can find out more about Home Choice here.

Private landlord

This means renting from someone who owns a property. They usually rent it out so they can make money. They are called private landlords and can be:

  • a company that owns lots of properties;
  • a person or family who owns one or more properties; or
  • a charity or group who just rent properties to disabled people.

Private landlords advertise their properties in these places:

  • a letting agency or an estate agent;
  • an advert in the local newspaper;
  • on a sign outside the property;
  • on the internet; or
  • on a shop noticeboard.

Supported housing

Supported housing is shared housing but sometimes it can be individual flats. In supported housing you are a tenant and pay rent. Welfare benefits can be claimed which means that you have more of your own money than you would for example in residential care. Staffing is dependent on the needs of the people who live there and could be 24 hours a day or a few hours a week. You have shared responsibilities with housemates like cooking, cleaning and paying the bills.

Shared lives

In a 'shared lives scheme' someone is matched with a host family and lives as part of that family. They share family life and live with, or near to, the host family. The host family gives support and care.

This can be for:

  • long-term support;
  • a short break;
  • daytime support; or
  • family support for someone who lives nearby, but not with the host family.

Extra care housing

Extra care housing offers a way of supporting you to live independently for as long as you can. Generally extra care housing is for people over 55. However sometimes it is appropriate for a younger person with a disability who has a housing, care or support need and is already living in the town where the scheme is built or in nearby villages; already living in the district/borough area; already living in the county; living outside the area but with a local connection, such as a move to be near family, and living outside the county with no local connection.

There are many schemes across North Yorkshire, usually run by housing associations, and all are home to a mix of residents needing varying levels of support. With extra care you stay in control of your own future, retaining dignity, security and choice.

Extra care housing is different because:

  • you are living "in your own home" and not in a home;
  • private apartments are available for rent or sale;
  • you have your own front door so you control who comes in and when;
  • couples and friends can stay together;
  • there is a mix of able and less able people to reflect a true community;
  • 24-hour care and support services are available on site and you get support to keep your independence;
  • you can join in social activities or you can be private;
  • you have control over your finances and support if you need it to manage them; and
  • you have security as the aim is a home for life.

Each extra care housing scheme will have a range of facilities on site, such as a shop, hair and beauty salon, café/restaurant, lounge, hobbies room, and library. Local people are encouraged to make use of the facilities, making the scheme an integral part of local life.

On-site support staff will get to know you and the other residents well and will be able to monitor your day-to-day wellbeing. Flexibility is built into the care, so, if you are temporarily poorly or have spent time in hospital, support can be increased and gradually decreased as you recover.

Anyone wanting to live in the scheme will have to fill in an application and be willing to have their care and support needs assessed. An allocations panel will decide who is offered. It gives you the security and privacy of a home of your own, a range of facilities on the premises and access to 24-hour care and support services, if needed.

Residential care homes

Residential care means having a room in a building shared with a number of other people. Twenty four hour care will be provided on site as will meals.

In the past residential care homes could house 20 or more people and services were inevitably institutional. More recent care homes are usually smaller, housing around four to eight people.

Residential homes are owned and managed by public, private sector or charitable bodies. Some specialise in particular forms of provision, for example for people on the autistic spectrum or those with sensory impairment in conjunction with a learning disability.


Homeshare is when a disabled person invites someone to live with them in return for some support. The 'homesharer' has their own room in the householder's property. They give support with things like cooking or socialising.

Home ownership

This is when you borrow money to buy a house and pay the money back over many years through a mortgage. You can also use your savings. You could inherit a home which could be yours alone or it could be left to you and your family.


There is a scheme in operation called HOLD that stands for Home Ownership for people with long-term disabilities. This is a way that someone with a disability can own their own home. It is run by some Housing Associations, which are Registered Social Landlords. The disabled person finds a property they would like to buy. The Housing Association buys the property, so the disabled person only deals with them. The Housing Association sells part of the property to the disabled person. They might be able to buy more of it in the future. They rent the other part from the Housing Association, who looks after things like repairs and making sure the property is in good condition.

You can see if there are properties where you live here.

Shared ownership

This is when a Housing Association owns part of your home and you own the rest. You have to pay rent to the Housing Association for the part you do not own and pay the mortgage for the part you do own.

For more information about housing and care please see the Housing and Support Alliance website where you will find lots of information about housing and support.

For people living in Hambleton and Richmondshire, the  finding a home and support services (pdf / 456 KB) leaflet contains useful information relating to housing and support services.

Friendships, relationships and being a part of the community they live in are really important to a young person's quality of life. There are many ways to get involved other than being in education or employment.

Finding out what is available in your local area

The local offer map and community directory are good places to start exploring what is available in your local area. Your local library is also a good source of information about what's going on where you live.

You may be able to use a portion of your personal budget or direct payment to receive support which will enable you to engage with your local community.

See our local groups and support networks page for information about local, regional and national groups and networks for young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their parents and carers.


Volunteering can provide alternative opportunities for you to gain skills, achieve your goals, and develop a better sense of civic duty and responsibility. See our volunteering page for more information and opportunities. The VCS Directory is a fully searchable directory of voluntary and community organisations working throughout York and North Yorkshire.

Social media

Social media is a good way to keep in touch with friends and family, especially if you go off to do different things when you leave school. It is important to make sure that you are safe online. The cyberbullying page from the Anti-bullying Alliance contains information on how to protect yourself against online bullying.

Staying safe in the community

People with a learning disability may suffer from hate crime or a type of disability hate crime called 'mate crime'. This easy read hate crime and mate crime guidance booklet provides information about these crimes and how to prevent and report them.

As young people prepare for adulthood there are many changes for them to negotiate, including how their health care is managed. Some of the services that young people access may stop at age 16 or 18, therefore it is important to plan how health needs will be met, and by whom, in the future.

You may find the following resources useful when considering health issues:

There is lots of health information for young people on our SEND health and care page.

Our staying healthy section provides information about many health issues, from drugs, alcohol and smoking to sexual health and contraception.

The Transition Taskforce hub seeks to overcome the barriers to good transition for young people approaching adulthood with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.