Transitioning to Adulthood

Empowering Youth to be Responsible for their Healthcare

Continued from the March 2016 edition of Together We're Better

Over the past four Saturdays, 12 teens (ages 14-18) have been attending an inaugural series titled Teens Talk Transition - a workshop designed to prepare youth with chronic conditions for the transition from paediatric to adult healthcare. The workshop series is designed for youth and the content has been created by youth that have lived experience or are living in the transition process. These young adults also instruct all of our workshops! Adult healthcare is quite different than paediatric healthcare, explains Deb Thul, Youth in Transition Coordinator at the Alberta Children's Hospital. We want our youth to feel empowered to take responsibility for managing their healthcare needs or be able to instruct a caregiver on what to do for them.

Simultaneously to the Teens Talk Transition Workshop, Deb runs a four-week parent workshop - this is a great opportunity for parents to address and talk about any of their anxieties and worries about their child reaching this important transition phase. Parents will understand what their child is learning and how to best support them in becoming independent. All workshops are free for participants and they may take the workshop series more than once if needed. It is expected that this workshop series will run in the Spring and Fall of each year.

The workshop series is divided into four main topic areas and each workshop is about 75 minutes in length. Topics addressed are: Managing Priorities, Knowing Your Condition, Talking to Your Team and Supports for Success. Each week, participants set goals and develop action plans that they can accomplish that week. Then they discuss how their action plan went at the next session. It really prepares them for goal setting, problem solving, developing an action plan and how to track and monitor that plan, comments Deb.

Each youth must be capable of processing the information in the workshops and be able to complete the assignments, based on their parent's perception of their ability. They are allowed to bring a peer support (someone of similar age) to help them scribe if needed. Participants in this series have various diagnoses (Diabetes, Aplastic Anemia, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, etc.).

Visit the Youth in Transition web page for more information.