Transition describes the process of moving from childhood into adult life. Transition can be challenging for everyone but even more so for people on the autism spectrum, their families, parents and carers. Any transition therefore needs careful planning.

Social care

As your child approaches adulthood, responsibility for social care will pass from children's services to adult services. This will happen at the age of 18, although some authorities have a period of handover between teams.

The support your son or daughter will be offered as an adult will be determined by a social care assessment.

Do be aware that when your child moves into adult social care you may be charged for some services. Ask to see your authority's charging policy.


Social care professionals should cooperate with education professionals to ensure a smooth transition. Find out more about leaving school, starting college or university and leaving college or university.


If you are a carer you are also entitled to a carer's assessment. Make sure your social services department undertake the assessment in time so there is not a gap in support when your son or daughter turns 18. For more information read our guide to support for carers.

Making decisions

Once your child reaches adulthood, you are no longer entitled to make decisions on their behalf. However, they may need support to make decisions, and if they lack mental capacity, they might need you or someone else to manage their affairs. Read more about managing someone else's affairs in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

You may also find it useful to visit the My Adult- Still My Child website. This is aimed at those new to making Best Interest Decisions and especially those caring for a young person in transition to adult services.

For support with transition issues, please contact the Transition Support Service.

Last reviewed 4 May 2016.