Transition to adult services for young people with disabilities: current evidence to guide future research

Authors

  • DEBRA STEWART MSC OT REG

    1. CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research and School of Rehabilitation Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
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  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    Funding to support this project was provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, and the Ontario Children’s Rehabilitation Network. I wish to acknowledge the work and support of the research team involved in the Best Practice Project: Dr Mary Law, McMaster University; Helen Healy, Bloorview Kids Rehab; Jan Burke-Gaffney, Hamilton Family Network; Matt Freeman and Mary Forhan, McMaster University; Dr Nancy Young, Laurentian University; and the late Dr Beverley Antle from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Beverley inspired us all to support young people with disabilities to achieve satisfying and meaningful lives.

  • CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
    The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Debra Stewart at CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research and School of Rehabilitation Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada. E-mail: stewart@mcmaster.ca

Abstract

This article outlines the evidence upon which best practice guidelines for transition to adulthood for young people with physical and developmental disabilities were developed in Ontario, Canada, through consensus activities. Evidence was gathered from published and unpublished literature and focus groups with young people, parents, community members, service providers and policy makers across the province. The evidence was then synthesized and analyzed by an expert panel. Guidelines were developed in the areas of collaboration, capacity-building, information, education, and research. This article focuses on the findings of this project as they relate to transition services and care. These best practice guidelines for the transition to adulthood for young people with disabilities offer a starting point to encourage service providers to work collaboratively with young people, parents, communities, governments, and researchers. The evidence from this project supports a move away from purely service-driven models of transition to holistic, lifecourse/lifespan approaches. Recommendations for future study and collaborative knowledge dissemination are provided.

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