Medical Care

Transition to Adult Health Care

Children typically begin participating in their own health care during the early teen years. Famlies of children with special health care needs should support such participation to the degree that it is possible. Encourage your pre-teen to communicate directly with health care providers, even if you as a parent have to facilitate some of that communication. In some situations, the health care provider(s) may need to be prompted to communicate directly with your child.

When your child reaches the mid-teens, it’s time to start identifying adult health care providers. By age 18, your child should have adult providers. Start by asking your child’s primary care provider and specialty care providers for recommendations. Ask other parents and service providers as well. It’s common make an appointment to meet a prospective provider before your child’s visit. Be sure to ask if there is a charge for the visit.

Resources for Transition to Adult Health Care

Resource Contact Information

Children’s Hospital’s Advisory Network for Guidance and Empowerment (CHANGE)
CHANGE is a youth-led and youth-driven initiative that advises youth, families, and professionals about the transition process.
Health Care Transitions Project
Institute for Child Health Policy at the University of Florida
Planning guides for three different ages: 12-14 years, 15-17 years, 18 years and above
Pennsylvania Department of Health - Transition Health Care Checklist

See the Transition to Adulthood section of this Guide for more information about services for children ages 14-21.