Know Your Options (Transition to adulthood) Q&As

These were the questions and answers raised about Transition to adulthood, raised by parents, carers and teachers at our recently held 'Know Your Options' webinars

Inclusive Employment

Q. Is there any help with some kind of employment for our children when they leave school or college and how might this happen?

A. Yes absolutely! Please see our slides from the webinar: Know-Your-Options-Webinar-Deck-v2.pdf ( or view our Inclusive Employment web page: Inclusive Employment Web page

Q. My son has a part time job, can he still get support from ECL?

A. Yes, if he is looking for additional support with his current job or to progress on from his current role, we would be happy to have a conversation. Contact ECL

Q, If someone with learning disabilities goes on to get a job, how will this affect the benefits they receive?

A. Every individual’s circumstances are different, our Inclusive Employment Consultants are trained to guide and signpost you. We can provide examples of other cases where individuals have continued to access their benefits and started to earn their own money.

Q. My son is non-verbal and autistic, is there a minimum level of functioning for him to join the inclusive Employment programme, as he will probably need 1:1 support?

A. We absolutely believe that everyone that wants work, can get work and as little as 1-3 hours of paid work a week is achievable. The Inclusive Employment team can work very closely with the Benefits Agency and with applications to the government's Access to Work scheme for people who need additional support to complete parts of their work. We have been able to secure Access to Work funding for three years or more to help individuals into employment supported by their PA's (Personal Assistants), where employers have welcomed those PA's into the workplace.

Funding and Referral

Q. Who pays for this service (Day Services)?

A. This will depend on your 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.

Q. If my young person needs 1:1 or 2:1 support, who decides this?

A. When ECL receives a referral, our team will make contact to decide how best to carry out an assessment. We will establish the support you’ve received 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 with you how to proceed. If the local authority is providing the funding then they will also need to agree the funding levels.

Q. How does funding for ECL work?

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

Q. Can I ask about social care funding that I’ve only recently heard about, to support with the cost of my son attending clubs etc

A. If your son is under the age of 18, this would probably be in the form of Direct Payments, you should speak with your social worker to find out more and to see if your son is eligible.

Q. Do you have to be referred by a social worker? I have two college leavers with an ehcp plan that will be looking to join you (from a teacher)

A. There are a number of routes into our services: For Inclusive Employment, young adults with a learning disability or autism between the ages of 18 and 25 can come directly to us without going through social services. For those who wish to access our Day Services this does need to be referred to us by Adult Social Care.

Q. How do we refer our sons or daughters to ECL?

A. You can contact us through our website: Contact ECL or telephone our contact centre on 03330 135 438

Q. Does the young person retain their EHCP if they come to ECL and undertake ASDAN qualifications?

A. Someone could have an EHCP up to the age of 25, this will specify the support that should be delivered by education, health and social care. ECL are able to provide accredited training which may meet the educational aspects of an EHCP. ECL has a clinical team who may also be able to respond to the health requirements.

For social care and education funding and referral questions, click here to see a list of Essex County Council contacts: Social Care and Education Contacts at ECC

Opportunities and Activities

Q. What kind of activities will my young person be doing in Day Services?

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.

Q. Can we access both Inclusive Employment and Day Services?

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.

Q. We would like more information on options for September. Would also like to know if there is anything available from June to September in regards to any programmes / activities which will help improve social/independence skills etc.

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 we can start this over the summer holidays, however, we can only take young adults from the age of 18, so usually once full time education has been completed.

Q. We are interested in progression routes for our students when they leave us (Pathways) normally around the age of 18-21 (from a teacher)

A. Please see our slides from the webinar: Know-Your-Options-Webinar-Deck-v2.pdf ( or view our web pages: Know your options.

The graphic below summarises the pathways and options available.

a graphic that describes the pathway options for people with learning disabilities and autismat ECL
Pathway Options at ECL

Transition Planning and Timing

Q. When should I start putting things in place for post 19? Do I need to contact social care? What independent living facilities are available?

A. Transition planning normally commences at the age of 14 onwards, every young person's needs and independence levels are different, and progress at different speeds. We would suggest you have early conversations within your EHCP meetings, which should include education, health and social care professionals. We are aware of different opportunities for independent living and supported living within different locations of Essex, access to these will follow conversations and assessments with social care.

Q. Could transition start at an earlier age?

A. We can only support adults over 18 in our services, We are not Ofsted registered so cannot offer a service to those under 18. However, we do have the 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 your young adults, building those relationships whist they are still in education, we are keen to build relationships at an early age to support with your journey. Taster visits are available now.

Q. My son is 18, leaving education this July. He needs an extended transition period but due to covid this has been affected. Do you know when we can experience your service?

A. If your son is 18, we are able to start the transition process if you decide to go ahead after the taster session. Please make contact with us: Contact ECL and we can start working with you. The transition period will be based on individual circumstances and we prefer to have that individual conversation with you. We are delivering services to customers within centres, in the community and via Zoom. Our buildings have had rigorous covid assessments, our staff are regularly tested for covid and have all been offered vaccines. We have full use of PPE and we follow all Government guidelines. Our services have never been completely closed and we have offered support where needed during the pandemic. We have been fully open since 6th April 2021 and customers have been returning to our services, some wish to not return until they have been fully vaccinated and we have continued to support them via zoom and community sessions.

Q. Can ECL visit customers at home or their current school settings before they are 18 to get to know them to be ready for the transition?

A. Yes absolutely, this is our preferred approach, you know your young people best and this helps us to establish what support and interventions are currently in place to ensure continuity when the person comes into our service. We will look at how they communicate, what type of activities that they like, what their goals are, and any clinical support in place. Our clinical team will make contact with any clinicians already working with your young person to ensure continuity with any plans. Schools are also an important source of information as they are likely to have had years of working with them and can tell us where the young person is in terms of their learning and what the learning goals are. Working with families and schools ahead of 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.

Support for Complex Needs

Q. Our son has complex needs (epilepsy, non-verbal, wheelchair user), would he be able to join in with the activities planned and what level of support (1:1, 2:1?) can you provide? What about therapies (physical, speech)? Can you accommodate these if needed? How frequently do you take the young people into the community or swimming (do you run a monthly or fortnightly schedule we could look at)? Staff medical training (epilepsy, etc)?

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 will look at the level of staff needed, we have many people who have 1:1 staffing, some with 2:1 staffing and a range of people who need different levels of support throughout the day e.g someone who may need 2:1/3:1 staffing for personal care or specific activities may need less support at other times. Our clinical team includes, Physio, Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy 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 respond to particular medical needs such as epilepsy and we work with GPs and specialist NHS nurses to develop protocols to meet these 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 can plan and have access to any specialist interventions and training around these, 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.

Q. My daughter is non-verbal. This is a worry as to what her options will be, after leaving her school.

A. ECL provide services for people with complex needs and for those that are non-verbal which is supported by a speech and language therapist and intensive interaction coordinator. This means that all our staff have the opportunity to gain skills specific to each individual person and their methods of communicating. We start with a comprehensive assessment and develop a communication plan so that our staff understand how your daughter communicates so we are able to respond and support her engagement. We use a planning-together process to make sure that key people in your daughter’s life help us to understand her gifts, likes and dislikes so that her individual plan is based around supporting her development and progression in areas she is interested in.

Q. What changing facilities do you have to meet individual needs within services?

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

Q. What support can you offer for those with mental health concerns or emotional needs?

A. Our staff are highly trained, attend mental health training and the majority of our services have Mental Health First Aiders. We also have our 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 are able to access and make onward referrals if necessary. For more information about our clinical team click here: Clinical team

Q. What specific services do you have for those individuals with more complex needs?

A. We have services specialising in more complex needs throughout Essex, most of our services have equipment such as changing tables and hoists and sensory resources such as Tacpac (Touch and Communication Pack). For more information click here: Specialist support for those with complex needs

All our services can provide communication support and offer interventions based on specialist training e.g. intensive interaction, and supporting sensory needs. Specialist support is available to all our customers from our clinical therapy team which consists of; speech and language, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and positive behaviour support. For more information about our clinical team click here: Clinical team

Please make contact 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.

Learning and Development

Q. Will our young people still have opportunities to improve their reading, writing and maths?

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 (for example money and budgeting is a very popular course). We also work with local colleges and education providers and can support those that wish to acquire further qualifications. We also support individuals to access apprenticeships, traineeships, and internships as part of their employment pathway. These generally include qualifications in reading, writing and maths.

Q. I would like to find out more information about your courses.

A. We are an ASDAN accredited organisation with links to local colleges and education providers, to find out more click here: Accredited and Vocational training. We can work with you to create an individual support plan and help you to look at options that we can either provide ourselves through the ASDAN courses or help you to access courses elsewhere. For customers wishing to move into paid employment we work closely with them to establish the type of employment they would like to achieve and identify any learning needs to reach that goal.

General Questions

Q. Do you have any facilities that can be hired by parents or carers?

A. In the past we have rented out space but this has become more difficult during the pandemic and in light of current government guidelines we are not currently hiring out our rooms. However, our sensory spaces can be booked for private sessions. As government guidelines change we will review this.

Q. How long will my young person be able to come to ECL (How many years or to what age)?

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.

Q. At what time does the day start and finish?

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.

Q. How many days a week will my young person be able to attend?

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.

Q. Will lunch be provided?

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.

Q. How long does the support service last?

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.

Q. Is there a minimum age to join ECL and a maximum?

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.

Q. What support is available for transport and traveling around independently?

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.

Q. Will you provide transport to and from your centres?

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.

Q. Do you offer respite?

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.