Transition from education

For young people with autism and learning disabilities, leaving the familiarity of school can be a worrying prospect. We want to remove the anxiety that often comes with taking the next step in the journey to adulthood, which is why we endeavour to make the transition to our services as smooth as possible.

We believe that early engagement is vital, so we’ll work together with you, your family, your school, and your clinicians to map out your long-term ambitions and create a tailor-made plan to help you achieve them. As you near the end of your school career, we’ll arrange taster sessions at our day centres to make sure you feel completely comfortable and at home from the second you walk through the door.

We want the whole process to be seamless, so if you currently receive clinical support, like occupational therapy, physiotherapy, behavioural support, or speech and language therapy, our in-house clinical team will ensure you have an appropriate treatment plan in place from the outset. Our experienced staff will also be on hand to source any specialist technology or equipment you might need, as well as implement visual supports if necessary.

We’re here to show you what’s possible, broadening your horizons and supporting you as you embark on the next exciting chapter of your life.

Before you leave school

If you have an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP) then planning for the future begins long before you leave school.

Preparing for life after the classroom can start as early as year nine, when something called a transition review will be carried out. Often, this will happen at the same time as the annual review of your EHCP is conducted.

What comes next?

When the time comes to move on, ECL can help you to plan and make informed decisions by providing information and guidance on things like accessing social care funding and the court of protection.

For young adults with learning disabilities and autism who want to find paid work, ECL’s Inclusive Employment service can help get you there. 
We also run a network of day centres for adults with autism and learning disabilities. Here, you will have the chance to learn new skills, build wonderful friendships, and take part in a whole host of fantastic activities designed to grow your confidence and encourage independence.

If you’ve been following a training programme or pursuing a qualification via ASDAN or City and Guilds, you can access support to complete that, too.

Whatever path you decide to take, ECL will be with you every step of the way.

Transition FAQ

A. Transition planning normally starts from the age of 14 onwards. Every young person's needs and independence levels are different, and they progress at different speeds so we would suggest you have early conversations within your EHCP meetings, which should include education, health and social care professionals.

A. At ECL, we’re only able to support adults over the age of 18 in our services as we are not Ofsted registered. However, we do have links with schools and can support you during transition planning as well as organise 'taster' visits to our services accompanied by a parent or carer.

We can start working with young adults looking to access ECL’s services in advance, building those relationships while they are still in education. Working with families, clinical teams and schools ahead of formal transition means we learn about the individual so we can progress with them right from the beginning, rather than starting from scratch or introducing something new that might not work for them. Taster visits are available now.

A. Yes absolutely! Please see our Inclusive Employment page for more information about how we can support young people with learning disabilities and autism into work: Inclusive Employment Web page

A. You can contact us through our website: Contact ECL or telephone our contact centre on 03330 135 438. Alternatively, we accept referrals by Adult Social Care. If a young person wishes to access our Inclusive Employment service, they can do this by contacting us directly.

A. EHCPs can be in place up to the age of 25, and ECL can provide accredited training which may meet the educational requirements of it. Our clinical team may also be able to manage the health requirements set out in an EHCP.

A. ECL is an ASDAN-accredited organisation, you can find out more here: Accredited and Vocational training. We offer courses which include English and maths skills (money and budgeting is a very popular course, for example). We also work with local colleges and education providers and can support those who wish to acquire further qualifications. We also support young people with access to apprenticeships, traineeships, and internships as part of their employment pathway. These generally include qualifications in reading, writing and maths.

A. ECL offers a range of activities and training within our Day Services and work experience and paid job opportunities on our Inclusive Employment programme, all of which are designed to improve social and independence skills.

We encourage early conversations and planning for transition and can start this over the summer holidays, however, we can only support young adults from the age of 18, so usually once full-time education has been completed.

A. Yes. our staff are highly trained and we have the facilities to support people with complex needs. You can find out more here: Specialist support for those with complex needs.

Our assessments consider the level of staff needed throughout the day, and our clinical team includes, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and behaviour specialists who work with our staff to personalise support for your young person. You can find out more about our Clinical Team here: Clinical team

Our staff are trained to manage care for those with medical conditions such as epilepsy and we work with GPs and specialist NHS nurses to develop protocols to meet those needs. When we meet your young person to carry out an initial assessment, we always ask for information on specialist involvement to make sure our staff are aware of any specialist interventions and have appropriate training before your young person starts with us. If your young person is used to specific forms of communication and digital apps, we can ensure our staff know how to use these before your young person joins us.

A. Yes. ECL provides a range of services for people with complex needs and for those who are non-verbal, supported by a speech and language therapist and intensive interaction coordinator. This means that all our staff are equipped with the skills required to care for each person and are familiar with their preferred methods of communication.

We start with a comprehensive assessment and develop a communication plan so that our staff understand how each young person communicates, so we can respond and support their engagement. We use a planning-together process to make sure that key people in a young person’s life help us to understand their talents, likes and dislikes, so that plans are based around supporting the individual’s development and progression in areas they are most interested in.

A. Our sites have well-equipped changing facilities and changing beds. We link in with our clinical team to ensure we have the right equipment in place for each of the people we support. Any specific needs will be planned for during assessments and be put into place before the young person starts with us.

A. Our staff are highly trained, attend mental health training and most of our services have Mental Health First Aiders. We also have access to a clinical team who have the skills and experience to create support plans that take into account emotional and mental health and can guide the staff on the approach and interventions needed to support that person.

Our clinical team can liaise with NHS and other health professionals who may already be involved in the support of a young person and can make onward referrals if necessary.

For more information about our clinical team click here: Clinical team.

Please get in touch and we can discuss your individual needs. You can contact us through our website: Contact ECL or by telephoning our contact centre on 03330 135 438, enquiries will be forwarded to the appropriate ECL contact.

A. Funding can come from a number of different sources - local council, funding support through your local health body and also from personal finances or trust funds. Please contact us and we can discuss your options with you. Contact ECL

A. When ECL receives a referral, our team will make contact to decide how best to carry out an assessment. We will establish what support has been provided previously and look at any assessments that have been carried out by health and social care professionals, which may indicate the level of staffing required.

We will involve our clinicians where appropriate and discuss your options with you. If the local authority is providing the funding then they will also need to agree on levels of funding.

A. Depending on an individual’s personal circumstances, funding may be available from your local authority. You will need to contact Essex County Council to request a care needs assessment to request support and a fairer charging assessment to determine any contribution from yourself. Using personal funds is also an option where funding isn’t available.

A. Each person has an individual support plan that reflects their needs. For those that want to progress into paid work we will support them to identify their employment wishes and work with them on the next steps needed to achieve employment. For others we will look at areas which allow them to progress towards achieving greater independence (relevant to that individual). This could include using sensory opportunities to build interaction and communication skills, it may be looking at opportunities to progress life skills, money skills or for some, it might be about building networks within local communities and being able to benefit from their community resources e.g. local sports facilities, local amenities, and clubs.

A. Yes definitely, our services are interlinked, for example, someone on the Inclusive Employment pathway might access an ASDAN course which is being run by Day Services. Some individuals on the Inclusive Employment pathway choose to join in some of the Day Services sessions provided on-line or within one of our centres. If someone is referred by adult social care they will tend to focus first on employment opportunities where appropriate, followed by the other needs and opportunities that people are eligible for. Some people have part of their services provided through adult social care and then top up with additional sessions or services that they pay for separately. Attending one service doesn't exclude you from the other, it is possible to dip into both.

A. ECL services are available to people aged 18 upwards. Our focus is to support your relatives to progress towards greater independence. We are always happy to discuss with you the circumstances for your relative and the funding available for their support. We are happy to continue supporting for as long as required.

A. We aim to offer flexible sessions, for example, our staff can be available early if you wish to drop your relative off before you go to work and we can support people in the evenings and at weekends. We offer sessions to support social engagement, for example supported cinema visits, social clubs, sports activities, shopping etc. By Autumn we are hoping you will be able to book this on-line.

A. Our services are available up to 7 days a week. Our focus is always to support your relatives to progress towards greater independence. Staff are flexible, and can for example support an individual to join and become part of a local club or group, enabling them to build new friendships and extend their support network. We are always happy to discuss with you the circumstances for your relative and the funding available for their support.

A. Many of our services have arrangements for providing hot meals. For those wishing to develop their cooking skills there is an opportunity to participate in meal planning, shopping, and preparation. You can bring your own food if preferable.

A. Our service can last as long as people need it, there are no time limits. If funded through adult social care, a care needs assessment will be carried out. At ECL we are always looking to support customers to progress and achieve the maximum independence, which could be supported independence through to gaining employment. Our support can come in many forms to suit the individual and for example might mean offering respite for carers on evenings or weekends, supporting someone to develop their communication methods or nurture friendship circles.

A. Our minimum age is 18, we are not registered with Ofsted to provide services to children under 18. There is no maximum age, our Inclusive Employment team have recently supported a customer into employment who has been in our Day Services for 34 years! They are also supporting a customer into volunteering who is in their 70's. We are very happy to work with anyone who is wanting to progress from what they are doing now.

A. When ECL meet and assess how to support your young person we look at all options for travelling as independently as possible, including supporting people with buddies, family/friends, travel training, using mobility vehicles and whether there needs to be an application to ECC for ECC funded transport, if there are no other options. Our services have flexibility to support people early in the morning/late afternoon to help working families.

A. Each person’s travelling arrangements will be discussed individually. We will explore all opportunities to support an individual to maximise their independence in their travel arrangements for example, on many occasions we have been able to meet individuals at their homes and travel with them, a further example is where our staff drive a motability vehicle that is allocated to an individual. In some cases, ECL may be able to provide transport at a cost.

A. ECL certainly support carers to have short breaks e.g. offering evening and weekend opportunities that allow family carers respite, but we do not currently offer overnight respite.