Understand the steps and stages of moving from childhood to adulthood.
For all these steps and stages staff, keyworkers, social workers and anybody else involved in these young people’s wellbeing should be working to help, support and guide these young people into adulthood and prepare them for their transition into adulthood.
Alongside the many physical and emotional changes that are part and parcel of adolescence, growing up also involves changes in roles, relationships, expectations and status - within family, amongst friends and within the wider community of home, school and work.
For many young people, leaving school or leaving home at this life-stage can mean huge changes in the environments, where they live and spend their days. As if these challenges were not enough, for the vast majority of young people with learning difficulties the process of transition to adulthood has an extra dimension: managing the move from services for children, to services for adults. As Heslop et al (2002) point out, this is not simply a case of moving from one set of organisations targeted at children to a parallel entity concerned with adults. The reality is that the two sets of services tend to be organised in very different ways and to have very different cultures.
Physical changes – these are puberty, changes in body shape and height, growth of pubic hair and body hair for both male and females. The start of periods for females. For males would be growth of the penis, testicles and changes in the voice.
Social changes - young people are working out whom they are, and where they fit into their surroundings. They are searching for an identity. Their identity being influenced by gender, peer group, cultural background and family expectations. They will seek more independence and with this comes risk taking behaviours, trying to control impulses.