WCH: Transitioning Children with Special Health Care Needs from Pediatric to Adult Care

Youth with disabilities become adults with disabilities. If you are a youth with disabilities, or the parent of a youth, changing from pediatric health care to adult health care can be a challenge.

Care needs to be coordinated and comprehensive. It should occur within a medical home.

Successful health care transition can lead to:

  • Better health
  • More productive life
  • Self-sufficiency and independence
  • Prevention of secondary conditions
  •  A smooth transfer to an adult primary care provider

Having good health means:

  • Better time management
  • Healthy lifestyle habits (see healthy lifestyle habits pyramid)
  • More time to spend with friends
  • Fewer trips to doctor
  • Fewer money/insurance problems
  • Ability to choose your own doctor
  • Better self-awareness

Not having good health can mean:

  • Dealing with sudden medical problems and spending more time with doctors instead of enjoying life to the fullest
  • Missed school/job opportunities
  • No time for friends/loss of friendships, supports, and resources
  • More money/insurance problems

The most important part of understanding the transition process is to master the ability to manage your own health care through:

  • Appointments with health care providers (who to see and when)
  • Medication management (what, why, when and how)
  • Record keeping and documentation
  • Medical decision making (especially if your child is now 18 years old)
  • Knowledge of your health condition
  • Knowledge of insurance options
  • How to handle medical emergencies

Resources for a Successful Transition


For more information about this service contact:

  • Children and Youth Branch, 919-707-5600

Last Modified: June 18, 2020