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“Am I supposed to understand this stuff?” Youth with Special Health Care Needs Readiness for Transition

By: Tanis Bryan, Nora Stiles, Karen Burstein, Cevriye Ergul, and Pen-Chiang Chao

Abstract: This study investigated the transition experiences of youth with special health care needs (YSHCN). Fifty-five YSHCN completed a phone survey, which asked about their educational and vocational goals, current health care (e.g., access to adult care providers, health insurance, medications), life experiences (exercise, doing chores, cooking, types of assistance needed in everyday routines), and social life (e.g., activities for spare time). Survey results indicated that many of the youth have plans for continuing education and clear goals for future employment. However, most youth did not have transition plans, or were not aware of having made transition plans. Many who identified goals were unable to explicate how they were going to reach their goals. Although most described themselves as happy, about 16% evidenced signs associated with depression. Results indicated that more work is needed in both the research and practice arenas to help youth with special needs make the best transition possible in education, vocation, and everyday living arrangements.
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