Navigating the post-school transition process for families of a child with learning disabilities and/or autism


It is well recognised that the support received by families during their child’s transition to the post-secondary school world is inadequate. Families have frequently reported a lack of available information and transparency about the transition process for their child. Studies demonstrate that transition planning, which aims to map out daily activities and supports beyond school, might also fail to take account of a child’s individual needs and aspirations, and often occurs too late in their school career to be effective. Consequently, navigating the transition process has been identified by families as one of the most stressful aspects of caring for a child with learning disabilities and/or autism.

In previous Observatory research, family carers have expressed a wish that there had been a resource available which they could have used as a guide to help them understand what to expect during this time in their child’s life. 

What we will do

Phase I

The current project will provide the first step in addressing this unmet need through co-creating an online survey with a steering group, made up of parents of people with learning disabilities and autism, young people who have been through the transition, and members of DIFFERabled Scotland. Through this survey we aim to better understand the issues that parents experience during the transition process and identify the type of resource required to assist carers in the navigation of the post-secondary school transition process of their child with developmental disabilities.

Phase II

We will work with the steering group to use the information from survey respondents to co-design an online resource to help families navigate the post-secondary school transition process.

This project is supported by Glasgow Knowledge Exchange funding. 

Page updated 23rd October 2023. 

Survey for family members or carers of a young person with learning disabilities


We are looking to better understand the experiences of parents, family members and carers of young people with learning disabilities as they transition to post-secondary school life. To help us do this, we invite you to complete a survey to answer some questions about your experiences. We have developed this survey in collaboration with family carers and young people who have been through the transtion process and DIFFERabled Scotland. 

You can find the survey and some key information including how your answers will be safely stored and used to inform new resources to help family members and carers to navigate this transition process at this link. 

If you have any questions about this work, please contact Dr Kirsty Dunn