Creating Opportunities Today; Maximizing Independence Tomorrow

My Transition into Adulthood

Do you have questions about your needs? Here is a document where you can access questions and answers that we think might help you to transition into adulthood.

This transition is all about preparing for adult life. The goal is to learn new skills, develop independence and gain confidence. The process of transition starts when you are 14 and usually lasts until the age of 21. When you are in the process of transitioning to adulthood, it is normal to feel apprehensive. This document has been prepared to help support you in learning about the resources available to assist you in this process. You play an important role in your future and your care. By working together with your health care team, your community and your school team, you will be prepared to make the right decisions at the right time for your health, your community involvement and your future.

The role of your health care team is to plan and support your transition from pediatric to adult health care services. Your health care team includes you, your family, your family doctor/pediatrician, your medical specialist, the community therapist and other health care providers who are involved in your care.

The role of your community is to offer you services adapted to your needs, to support you in becoming a thriving member of your community.

The role of your school team is to help you explore your post-secondary options and to offer guidance towards future employment and volunteer opportunities.

Transition to adulthood is divided into three categories: health care, community and school. You will find your key contacts in each category.

My health care...

Who can I talk to about preparing my transition to adulthood?

The first step is identifying the main health care practitioners who are involved in your care. These people will be the key players in planning your transition with you. In many cases, your family doctor or pediatrician will be a good place to start. If you are followed at the OCTC medical clinic, the nurses will support you and your family in planning the transfer of your care to providers from adult health care services. They will assist you and your parent to understand the various aspects of transition and support you throughout the transition process. OCTC also has a transition clinic for children with a physical disability. The clinic is comprised of a multidisciplinary team that will assist you in setting goals towards greater independence as you prepare for adulthood. To determine your eligibility and to request a referral to this clinic, please contact your OCTC Social Worker, Family Resource Worker or Nurse.

If you have a developmental disability, the developmental agency from your area is your key contact. They will inform you of the community resources available to you, and they will guide you in applying to Developmental Services Ontario (DSO). You may contact the agencies below directly or you can contact your OCTC Social Worker or OCTC nurse, who will facilitate a referral to the appropriate developmental agency.

Ottawa: Service Coordination Services
Tel: 613-748-1788

Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry: SD&G Developmental Services
Tel: 613-937-3072

Prescott/Russell: Valoris Children and Adults
Tel: 613-673-5148
Toll free: 1-800-675-6168

Renfrew: Developmental Services Renfrew
Tel: 613-735-6866 Ext. 4128 or 4159
Toll Free: 1-800-267-5878

Lanark: Lanark Community Programs
Tel: 613-257-7121

Grenville / Leeds: Developmental Services of Leeds and Grenville
Tel: 613-345-1290

What does Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) offer?

Developmental Services Ontario is the single point of contact for adults with developmental disabilities seeking support and services funded by the province. Once your eligibility has been confirmed, a DSO assessor will work with you and your family to determine your service and support needs. They will provide referrals and connect you to these services and supports as they become available. You can apply to DSO at the age of 16. Services can only be accessed, if available, once you have reached your 18th birthday.

All ministry funded specialized services, such as those listed below, now require a DSO referral in order to be accessed.

  • Behaviour Services
  • Case management
  • Respite care
  • Residential care
  • Daily activity and programs
  • Direct funding

For further information, visit the DSO website or contact them directly.

Ottawa, Renfrew, Prescott-Russell and SD&G:
Main Office Phone: 1-855-DSO-ERDS (1-855-376-3737)
Fax: 1-855-858-3737
TTY: 1-855-777-5787
Main Office Address:
200 - 150 Montreal Rd
Ottawa, ON K1L 8H2

North Lanark and North Grenville Counties:
Phone: 1-855-237-6737 or 1-613-547-1555
Satellite offices may be located in your community.

Who could offer me adult therapy services once I am discharged from OCTC?

If you have a physical disability with a specific issue or need, your family doctor or medical specialist can refer you to The Rehabilitation Centre (TRC) at the Ottawa Hospital and/or to the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) at any time.

What other services can The Rehabilitation Centre offer?

The Rehabilitation Centre (TRC) provides services to clients who have a physical disability and more complex needs. These services may include: Outpatient services for Seating and Mobility and Splinting, Augmentative Communication and Writing Service, Social Work, Driving Rehabilitation Service, and Environmental Assessment Services.

For further information on admission criteria, please see link below:

What are the services for seating and mobility?

You may request an assessment from a private Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist. You may request a referral from a community physician to The Rehabilitation Centre or to the Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) Occupational Therapist.

The OCTC Seating and Mobility Team created a pamphlet to help you with your options.
Seating and Mobility Transition Pamphlet

Who can help me if I am feeling depressed, anxious, or having negative thoughts?

We recommended that you start by discussing this with your family physician or nurse practitioner. You may be eligible for counseling from a Social Worker at the Rehabilitation Centre. Additional resources can be found by visiting the following websites:

Do I need a Family Doctor?

As you enter the adult health care system, you will notice changes in the way health care is delivered. Unlike the years you spent in the pediatric system, where you probably visited several medical specialists on a regular basis, your family doctor will now become your key health care provider. You will probably have fewer medical specialists and appointments with them will be less frequent. Your family doctor will be the only doctor who will specialize in ALL of you. He or she will provide ongoing, comprehensive health care to you and will refer you to specialists on an as needed basis. For this reason, it is important that you find a family doctor whom you are comfortable with and who is interested in taking good care of your health care needs. If you have a physical disability, you will want to ensure that your doctor's office is fully accessible. If you require assistance to transfer to the exam table, be sure to ask what assistance and/or equipment is available to you. If your family doctor is new to your care, be sure that he/she receives a complete health care history copied from your pediatric health record.

Your pediatrician can help you find a family physician or nurse practitioner if you do not already have one. You can also check the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons website or Health Care Connect helps Ontarians website (links below) to find a health care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner) in your area. It can take years to find a family doctor. We encourage you to start looking up to four years prior to your 18th birthday.

What specialists will be involved in my care once I am an adult?

Some pediatric specialists may refer you to adult specialists of their respective specialties while others may decide to let your family doctor assume certain parts of your care. It is important to schedule appointments with each of your pediatric specialists prior to your 18th birthday, and to discuss a transition plan with each of them. If you are referred to an adult specialist, it is important to write down the name, specialty and contact information of this new specialist, so that you can contact their office directly if you need to.

What other services can The Rehabilitation Centre offer?

The Rehabilitation Centre (TRC) provides services to clients who have a physical disability and complex needs. The Rehabilitation Centre services include: Outpatient services for Seating and Mobility and splinting, Augmentative Communication and Writing Service, Social Work, Driving Rehabilitation Service, Vocational Assessment and Environmental assessment services.

For further information on the admission criteria, please visit the following website:

In my community...

If I want to move away from my family, what are my options?

If you have a developmental disability, you may contact or visit the developmental agency from your area, to explore both public and private options available to you. If you have registered with DSO, be sure to let them know that you are interested in independent living.

If you are a person over the age of 16 with a permanent physical disability who requires assistance with activities of daily living and that you have the ability to direct your personal care needs, you may be interested in the following programs:

The Attendant Care Outreach Program (ACOP): Attendants assist with routine activities of living, such as dressing, transferring and toileting. Care can be provided in an individual's home or apartment, school or work, on a pre-scheduled basis.

The Supportive Housing Program: They have several accessible apartments in Ottawa integrated throughout larger apartment buildings that have attendants available to provide non-medical assistance to adults with physical disabilities. Supportive Housing is geared to persons with physical disabilities who require a minimum of 2 hours of attendant care services per day.

VHA Health and Home Support: VHA manages a central application for subsidized attendant care services and supportive housing services. Please note that the wait times for subsidies are considerable.

For a complete list of providers of Attendant Care in the Champlain Region, see the link below:

Direct Funding Program:

You can also apply to the Direct Funding Program by contacting the Ottawa Independent Living Resource Centre (OILRC). The Direct Funding Program enables adults with a physical disability to become employers of their own attendants. You can apply for the program by contacting the OILRC. They also manage a list of possible attendants who are available to work. Please note that the program is currently at capacity but you can still apply to have your name added to the wait list.

What recreation and leisure options are available to me after I turn 19?

Please see the Recreation Therapy resource list for suggested recreation and leisure programs in the community. Community Recreation – English

You may research these other recreation options below:

For Ottawa residents, if you have a physical disability, you may be eligible for services from The In Community after the age of 18 years.

Other websites:

If I want to learn how to drive, where can I get an assessment?

It is recommended that you speak to your OCTC physiatrist to see if you are a good candidate for this assessment. If so, a referral can be made to The Rehabilitation Centre. A vision assessment from an ophthalmologist needs to occur before the driving assessment. There is a fee for the driving assessment. Your family physician can make a referral to the Intake office of the Rehab Centre to see a physiatrist who will assess your eligibility for a driving assessment.

Other driving assessment location:

McConnell Medical Centre
Dr. Reen
820 McConnell Avenue
Cornwall Ontario K6H 4M4
Phone: (613) 933-8990
Fax: (613) 933-8997

What financial assistance can I receive?

The Assistance to Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) program ends at the eighteenth birthday. You must apply to the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) for adult funding. Even if you were not eligible for ACSD, you might be eligible for the Ontario Disability Support Program. You can initiate the application process by contacting your local ODSP office six months before your 18th birthday. If you are accepted, your payments will start when you are 18.

If you receive Special Services at Home (SSAH), you should know that recent changes were made to the program. As of April 1 2012, Special Services at Home is for children only.

The Passport Program provides funding for adults with a developmental disability who are no longer in school and who are seeking transition planning and community participation supports. Since April 1, 2021, adults with a developmental disability who seek direct funding for help with daily living and respite are supported entirely through Passport.

For additional information on eligibility and how to apply, visit the following link:

To apply, contact your local Developmental Service Ontario Office:

How can my family and I make sure I have financial security for the future?

Here are some options to explore:

Federal services for financial assistance:

Private and community based services to secure financial assistance:

Some law firms have lawyers that specialize in this area. You can find a list of these specialized lawyers in the Ottawa Directory of Services for Children and Adults with ASD, which was provided by a parent and is posted on the Autism Ontario website, Ottawa Chapter. These lawyers provide services for families with children or adults with a range of disabilities including physical and developmental disabilities. Their services include:

  • Henson Trust (at any time)
  • Wills and Estate planning
  • Power of Attorney

How can I maintain/create social networks?

There are many social networks available. Your options may include your friends, your families' friends, student clubs and your community centre.

Other possibilities that might interest you:

How do I obtain an application for an Accessible Parking Permit:

You can download and print the Application for Accessible Parking Permit; or you can pick up an application at any Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Office; or request an application by mail from:

Service Ontario
License Renewals Unit
P.O. Box 9800
Kingston, Ontario
K7L 5N8

Where can I access information on accessibility in my community?

In Ottawa:

The City of Ottawa Accessibility Services provides information on accessibility options (i.e. restaurants, museums, community accessibility, etc.)

In Renfrew:

In SD&G:

In Lanark and Grenville:

Prescott Russell:

After High School...

How can I start volunteering?

Look within your community and have conversations with your family and friends about possible volunteer opportunities. Contact the developmental agency of your area to help you find an agency or service that will assist with volunteer opportunities.

You can also investigate:

Other options may be:

Until what age can I stay in secondary school?

Depending on your needs, you can remain in high school up to the age of 21.

What college or university options are available after high school?

You can ask the guidance counselor at your current high school to help you liaise with appropriate community services. Some examples of local post-secondary options that have student disability services include

What will happen to my special education equipment (computers, communication devices) at school?

For equipment that was purchased by the school through a Special Education Amount (SEA) grant, you will need to discuss this question with your school. Equipment that was funded by the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) is intended primarily for home use and stays with you once you are finished school.

How early should I start the process of researching colleges and universities?

Upon entry to high school, you should look into programs and post-secondary institutions to find out what the admission requirements are, and to ensure that you are planning accordingly (ie. taking the right courses, having the right documentation to submit). Assistance can be provided by guidance counselors / Special Student Services or direct contact with the post-secondary institutions.

What types of bursaries are available for colleges and universities?

You can check the following websites for bursaries:

What is a vocational assessment? Can I have a vocational assessment?

Vocational assessment is the process of determining an individual's interests, abilities and aptitudes and skills to identify vocational strengths, needs and career potential.

Agencies that provide vocational assessments include:

Here are some other options for employment training and support programs: (ODSP employment support)

What are my transportation options to get to appointments/post-secondary institutions?

In Ottawa:

If you have a physical disability, you can apply to Para Transpo

Depending on your needs, you may also be able to obtain an attendant card from OC Transpo; please visit the website for further information:

Private company and accessible taxi are also available. Here are some options:

  • Blueline taxi
  • West Way taxi

In Renfrew:

In SD&G:

In Lanark and Grenville:

  • Kemptville Taxi 613-258-2500
  • Aces Taxi Service 613-258-1010
  • Brockville Para Transit 613-342-8772 ext 8231

Here are other links that may be helpful for this transition, please note that these documents are provided by other centers or services.

Community Options Guide: This guide is provided by Service coordination. It lists all organizations in the Ottawa area servicing youth with disabilities. They identify organizations which are MCSS Funded as well as Community Programs.,%202012.pdf

Champlain Health Line: This page offers a directory of services which support people living with intellectual or physical disabilities.

Tools for Transition