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Preparing for Adulthood and Employment

The Local Offer supports young people aged 16-25 to have positive experiences and should help them to progress towards gaining employment and contributing to their local communities.

It can be an exciting time of new opportunities, choices and increased independence but, it can also be a difficult and uncertain time for young people with SEND and require more careful consideration and planning.

Suffolk County Council and its partners aim to ensure that children, young people and their families can live fulfilled lives, with more young people moving successfully into adulthood and independence.

Download Suffolk's new SEND 16+ Transitions Guide.

Education and Learning

Young people can leave school or college between the ages of 16 – 19; however, since 2015 there has been a legal requirement for them to continue in learning or training until they are 18. It's important to start planning as early possible. Young people will be helped to understand their options for the future by their school or college.

Further education (FE) colleges provide a range of courses suitable for students aged 16-19 with special educational needs. You can find more information on the college websites:

For young people with a level 3 qualification (e.g. A levels, BTEC etc.) and the desire and capability to study further, there are a wide range of courses to study at higher education institutions – either locally or further afield. Students with a disability or SEND can access a range of financial and personal support to help them achieve in their studies. Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) are grants to help pay for support that you may need when at University. You may be eligible if you have a Mental Health Condition, specific learning difficulty, Autistic Spectrum Condition, physical or visual disability and/or a long-term / life-long medical condition. Your DSA is a website that aims to simplify the process by providing clear information about each stage of the process -  

Make sure you let the education provider know if your child needs any adjustments to make the course accessible to them.  The earlier they know, the sooner they can plan changes or support.  You can discuss the particular adjustments needed and how to arrange them with the staff member responsible for supporting disabled students at the place where you plan to study.

Search for the contact details of disability advisers at colleges and universities throughout the UK at -

Health - keeping yourself well

Growing up and becoming more independent it is important to be aware of your health needs and how to look after yourself.

There are a range of health services available for young people with special educational needs and disabilities such as: GPs, hospitals, dentists, pharmacists, and opticians. In some cases, you may need to access specialised services which may be different depending on your need.

Visit our health section for more information on the services available for young people.

Employment – help getting a job

Making decisions about the steps to take can be daunting for young people and their parents or carers. Schools in Suffolk will address this through the curriculum, with careers advice and the world of work being introduced from Year 8.

It's often hard for a young person to think about what they may want to achieve from their adulthood when they are in their early teens. But early planning is the key to success and so it's really helpful if parents and carers can work with their young people to start thinking about this.

All young people should be helped to develop the skills and experience, and achieve the qualifications they need to succeed.

This can be achieved through:

Search our directory for organisations who can help.

Community inclusion – friends and relationships

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

Clubs / Groups

There’s a wide range of clubs and groups young people can access within Suffolk to gain friendships and receive support.

To find out what’s available, search our local offer directory.


Volunteering can provide alternative opportunities to gain skills, achieve your goals, and develop valuable experience which could help you into paid employment.

See our volunteering page for more information.

Social media

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family however, it is important to make sure you are safe online. Foundation for people with learning disabilities have a downloadable easy read guide with information about social media and the internet.

Help and Benefits

Disability Living Allowance

Many disabled children qualify for Disability Living Allowance (DLA). The care component of DLA can be paid from the first few months of life. The high rate of mobility component can be paid from the age of 3, and the lower rate from the age of 5.

DLA for a child is normally paid to the parent. When the young person reaches the age of 16 the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) should check whether the young person is capable of managing the money for him or herself. If this is not possible the parent or some other person should be their appointee to manage their affairs. It is likely that the DLA award will come to an end from the 16th birthday and the family will be invited to apply for the Personal Independence Payment.

Personal Independence Payment

From June 2013 Disability Living Allowance started to be replaced for people aged 16 and above by the new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP). There can be no more new claims for Disability Living Allowance from working age adults. Instead they can claim Personal Independence Payment.

When an award of DLA is due to run out (including when a child with DLA reaches the age of 16), people may not be able to renew their DLA claim but instead will be invited to claim PIP. From October 2015 the Department for Work and Pensions started reviewing all adult DLA awards.

Personal Independence Payment is similar to Disability Living Allowance. It has a ‘daily living’ component and a mobility component. The claiming and assessment process is different. Most applicants have to undergo a medical assessment.

Disabled student allowance

This is intended to help students attending full-time and part-time higher education courses benefit as fully as possible from their course and is designed to cover special equipment, non-medical helpers and other general expenses. See the GOV.UK disabled student allowance web page for more information.

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