The SDS Team run peer support groups and workshops for both disabled people and people living with long term conditions, and parent carers. Through peer supports sessions for parent carers that we run with VOCAL, we have seen that parent carers – and disabled young people themselves – often find the transition into adulthood particularly difficult. This has often been made more challenging by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a lack of services in place. Because of this, we decided to invite some guest speakers to join our Champions for an information session on the evening of 12th May.
Lived experiences of disabled people are always at the heart of what we do, and so we started off the event with input from three of our Champions – all now on ‘the other side’ of this particular life transition, they talked about their personal journeys of leaving school and going on to living independent lives as young disabled people, and about getting the right support in place to do this.
- planning and decision-making carried out in a person-centred way
- support co-ordinated across all services; planning starting early and continuing up to age 25
- all young people getting the support they need
- young people, parents and carers having access to the information they need
- families and carers getting support
- and a continued focus on transitions across Scotland
Tracey shared a number of helpful resources with the group, and answered questions about many specific situations.
Last but certainly not least, we heard about the difference person-centred planning can make when young people are planning for their futures. Alexander Warren shared his story of being supported to pursue his dreams, and Marie Adams and Steve Coulson from Thistle Foundation introduced attendees to the Big Plan – group person centred planning sessions to support young people to explore their options and plan for life after school. After some final follow up questions, we wrapped up for the night, with most attendees having given us the feedback that this session was very useful.
Given that access to information they need for both young people and their parents is one of the key parts of a successful transition, we really hope that our event could play a positive part in people’s journeys. We also welcome everyone to our peer support groups, which provide an opportunity to not only share information but also connect with others – including the newest addition to our programme, a peer support group for parent carers of adult children, which we started in response to parent carers speaking out about the lack of support once their children have left school.