Helping disabled young people transition to adulthood with the Compass web app

Association for Real Change Scotland

local governmentweb app
group of teenagers with backpacks walking into school

Supporting the transition from school to young adult life

The Association for Real Change (ARC) Scotland is a charity that is committed to ensuring disabled and supported people are at the heart of their health and social care services. One of their areas of focus is the process of transitioning into young adult life, be that into further education, employment, or adult care. For young people with additional support needs (183,491 of them in Scotland in 2017), this process is far from straightforward and varies dramatically depending on unique circumstances. For parents and carers, it is often a stressful and confusing process for which it is difficult to find relevant information and support.

Our contributions

Research & analysis
Co-design & prototyping
Test & learn
Web development

Keeping parents and carers involved

Principles into Practice is a draft framework developed by ARC Scotland, based on the existing Principles of Good Transitions. It is intended to improve the planning and delivery of support for young people with additional needs. ARC Scotland recognised that in order to best serve the parents of these young people, it is important to give them all the resources they need to make informed decisions about the transition process. It is equally important to optimise the process itself according to their needs. This means finding out directly from parents what does and does not work and making changes based on their lived experiences and feedback. To achieve these goals, we suggested the creation of a web-based application, which can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

Guiding parents and carers through transitions

To address the difficulty involved in finding transition-related information, we proposed two core areas of functionality – personalised signposting and a glossary of commonly used terms. In order to collect all the necessary resources, we co-created personas and a user journey map with ARC Scotland. We used these to map out the various stages of a transition, which allowed us to identify the information required by parents at each point in the process. To ensure that what a user sees is tailored specifically to their situation, we built the tool to ask a series of questions relating to the young person, such as age, school year and expected leaving date. This allows us not to show information that is not relevant or helpful in the context of that young person’s transition.

Designing and building an accessible tool with parents and carers

Another aspect of Principles into Practice is gathering feedback from parents and carers about their experiences with the transition process. Regularly asking questions gives them the opportunity to reflect on and track their progress, and the data collected allows local authorities to identify where improvements are required. The mechanism for giving feedback that we implemented in the application is a questionnaire, with questions based on the young person’s stage in the transition process. It was designed with input from users, and several iterations have been remotely tested with potential end-users. Throughout the development process, we have made it a priority to make the tool accessible, so that it is usable by parents of a range of abilities.