This week we are sharing a series of blog posts written by author and mother, Viki Ainsworth, who shares her experience of her daughter Tilly’s transition from children’s services to adult’s services. This is part 2, you can read part 1 here.
It went quiet for a couple of years and then as Tilly neared the end of her years at her lovely school we started to be given information on the transition onto college. As it happened, this wasn’t too stressful as it was still education so still came under her statement – Tilly converted to EHCP fairly painlessly in her last year at school, a lot of meetings and form filling but we did it. The school advised us that Tilly would very likely be attending a local college because they were able to provide for her needs. I started to look into other options for her, if there were other colleges that might suit her better, what the options on provision were, maybe residential out of county but I was basically told not to bother. The nearest college would be the only one approved for Tilly as the education for her only had to be “good enough” and this college could provide a “good enough” post school education. My eldest son had gone all over the country to look at universities when he left school but apparently the same choice was not available for my daughter.
As it happens, the college was actually very good and Tilly really enjoyed it. The nerves were all mine, she stepped up and was well looked after. The course concentrated on life skills, they went shopping, cooked lunch, looked after the animals on the college campus.
The hours at college were shorter and Tilly only had four days there so my life changed quite dramatically as I found myself in my carer role for more hours again. We did find a great placement for her “fifth day” at the local Mencap day-ops. It was a new provision for young adults and Tilly was one of their first service users. But again, she enjoyed it and bumped into a lot of her old school friends there as more people got to hear of this new opportunity.
The course at college was only for two years so I knew I had to start looking at post college provision pretty much as soon as Tilly started. Shorter hours, shorter terms meant that those six terms would fly by, which they did, but sadly I couldn’t find anyone to help to give me an idea of what Tilly’s post college life might look like. I looked on the county website but all they had was the name of a day centre just down the road from me which I knew for a fact had closed down years before. The website has now been updated and has more user friendly information on, but most of the information is around transition from school to college and not post-education.
The advice from college was that no one from County would be interested in picking up Tilly’s case until she was approaching the end of college, which to me did not give us much planning time.
Tune into the blog tomorrow to hear how systems and processes at County level impacted the transition process. In the meantime, why not tune into the Transition Podcast?