Background A key issue, and one known to be highly problematic and challenging, concerns the transition of young disabled people from children's services to adult services, and from childhood to adulthood. To inform its recommendations on this issue, the Disabled Children's External Working Group (EWG) for the Children's NSF commissioned a review of research on young disabled people and transition.
Methods Given the preponderance of grey literature in this area, database searches were supplemented by hand searching of key journals and contacts with key individuals, research units, publishers and funding bodies in order to identify relevant literature on the experiences of transition from the perspectives of young people, parents and practitioners; the outcomes of transition; and evaluations of services provided during this life-stage.
Results The evidence available with regard to transitions of young disabled people provides a clear and consistent picture of the way transitions are currently experienced by young disabled people and their families. There is limited evidence on what works to ensure smooth transitions between services and positive outcomes of transition for the young people themselves.
Conclusions Existing research is very persuasive on the need to improve transitions for young disabled people. It can also be used to provide clues as to the sorts of support and service configurations that need to be in place to ensure positive transitions. However, further research is needed both at the level of specific service/service model evaluation as well as holistic, longitudinal work to provide evidence on the long-term outcomes of young disabled people as they move into adulthood.