Some young people take good health for granted while others struggle with injuries, disabilities, and chronic health conditions. Maintaining optimal health, however that may be defined, encompasses a number of factors including diet, exercise, sleep, regular physical and dental checkups, and may include other factors such as mental health care, medications, therapy, personal assistants, and other caregivers.
Maintaining optimal health is further complicated by the fact that between the ages of 18 and 22, youth exit secondary education, pediatric health care, Social Security, foster care, and other youth serving systems. They then enter adult service systems that "often have different terminology, eligibility requirements, and service options than those of the corresponding youth systems. This disconnect can result in consequences such as termination of services and lost progress" toward education, career, and independent living goals (Podmostko, 2007, p. 2-5). This disconnect, or "transition cliff," also exists for private sector services such as insurance, where many youth lose their parents’ health care coverage when they reach the age of 19 or graduate from high school or college (Podmostko, 2007).
The health transition topic area will address a number of issues, beginning with
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Podmostko, M. (2007). Tunnels and cliffs: A guide for workforce development practitioners and policymakers serving youth with mental health needs. Washington, DC: National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth. Available at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/tunnels-and-cliffs