Respect for patient autonomy is a cornerstone of contemporary medical ethics and clinical practice. In its different shapes and forms (e.g. being informed, being engaged in discussions and decisions about medical care and being supported in developing healthcare preferences and choices), patient autonomy has been fostered by both paediatric and adult professional societies. The transition from paediatric to adult care creates a complex situation where autonomy for medical decisions shifts to the developing adolescent. More specific challenges to respect for autonomy may be experienced by young adults with cerebral palsy in the transition period where, for example, language and motor impairments may affect communication skills and this may be conflated with cognitive disability.