Transition to Adulthood Program

Transition is the term used to describe the process experienced by adolescents with special healthcare needs and disabilities as they become adults. Transition encompasses ALL facets of adult life, including healthcare, education, employment, socialization and recreation. The goal of transition is for adolescents to move toward independence.

Our programs

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia runs several programs to support patients who are getting ready to transition to adult healthcare and adult life.


These free programs, called REACH (Rapport, Empowerment, Advocacy, through Connections and Health), are for young people with chronic conditions and their parents.

REACH's mission is to prepare youth 14 to 24, with special healthcare needs, for a successful transition into adulthood by providing peer support, guidance and resources.

  • REACH for College - These sessions focus on the medical and social transitions necessary to plan for and navigate college life successfully.
  • REACH for Independence - In these sessions, caregivers and youth will participate in activities and discussions about learning to navigate the adult healthcare system and promote healthcare independence.
  • REACH for the Future - These are workshops for young people with an autism spectrum disorder. Parent and self-advocate mentors will share their experiences and advice on planning for adult life. 
  • REACH Mentors - Undergraduate and graduate student mentors are invited to share their experiences about living successfully with a chronic illness during college. 
  • REACH Your Potential - This is a workshop for young people with an intellectual disability. Parent and self-advocate mentors will share their experiences and advice on planning for adult life. 


Important points about transition

  • Transition is a process, not an event
  • The transition process should begin the day of diagnosis
  • The adolescent and his/her family should be involved in all decisions
  • Providers and parents should prepare to facilitate change
  • Coordination of services and providers is essential
  • There is no cut-off age when transition must be completed
  • Avoid transitioning during a medical crisis

Transition materials developed in collaboration with the CHOP Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program which is supported by Project T73MC00051 from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (Title V, Social Security Act), Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services.