Objective: The journey into adulthood is a critical phase of profound psychological
and social change, especially for children with long-term care needs, including those with
Intellectual Disability (ID).
In this paper, we aim to describe the clinical picture of patients with mild to profound ID
during the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Methods: We explored the prevalence of all comorbidities in 53 patients with mild to profound
ID before and after transition. We collected information on the services taking care of
the person at the time of follow up and about the actual occupation, if any.
Results: Out of the whole sample of patients, 79% were in touch with an adult health service
after transition and about one fifth required care from more than one institution. 81% were
currently employed in centres managed by health services. The distribution of main diagnosis
and comorbidities both changed (χ2(1, n=42)=116.7; p<.001 and χ2 (1, n=42)=267.4;
p<.001, respectively) after the transition to adulthood. Transition to adulthood was characterized
by the emergence, as main diagnosis, of psychiatric disorders, as well as by a slight increase
of frequencies of comorbidities.
Conclusions: After transition from childhood to adulthood a change in epidemiology was
observed. This may reflect a clinical evolution or a discontinuity in the use of diagnostic labels
between paediatric and adult committed services. We propose suggestions for better
management of the transition phase.