Physician check up with teen

Becoming a young adult is an exciting time, but it can also present many changes and challenges. Adolescents and young adults who have neurological conditions may be confronted with a unique set of stressors in addition to the normal stress that teens face every day. The neurology team at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is here to help with the transition.

At Children’s, our goals for adolescents with neurological conditions include:

  • Preparing them to function at their highest potential and manage their healthcare more independently
  • Transfering them from pediatric to adult neurological care without a disruption in care

Our team is dedicated to providing the information to help make the transition to adulthood and adult-focused healthcare as smooth as possible. Around age 14, we will begin providing patients with developmentally and age-appropriate education and resources that encourage a healthy, successful future. Our team works with each patient to determine what knowledge is necessary to help ensure a successful transition to an adult healthcare facility and provides the corresponding education. As patients progress through the process, it is expected that they will develop the knowledge and skills to take on more responsibility for their own healthcare, while parents or guardians will take more of a supporting role in healthcare management.

What you can expect on your journey to adulthood and adult-focused neurological care

At Children’s, our neurology team is here to help prepare you and your family for what you can expect during the transition of care.

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As you transition into adulthood, it is important to have a doctor who is trained and experienced in caring for adults and their health issues. Establishing a relationship with an adult provider also helps preserve your continuity of care and allows for continued treatment.

When searching for a new doctor, it is important to ask a lot of questions, such as:

  • Is the doctor covered under your insurance plan?
  • Is the doctor accepting new patients?
  • When is their first available appointment?
  • Is their office located near your home?

Finding an adult neurologist

Our team has complied a list of adult neurologists for you to consider.

View list

We recognize that changing doctors can make some families nervous or anxious. To help answer some of your questions or concerns, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions. Download a copy (en Español).

What does transition to adulthood mean?

Transition to adulthood includes both transitioning from pediatric healthcare to adult healthcare and becoming more independent in daily activities and decisions.

What is involved with transitioning from pediatric to adult healthcare?

Transitioning from pediatric to adult healthcare includes finding an adult medical provider, addressing adult potential health insurance coverage changes, and learning to self-advocate and manage healthcare needs.

What is the difference between transition of care versus transfer of care?

The transition process includes ongoing conversations and activities aimed at preparing teens and their parents/caregivers for the move to adulthood and adult healthcare. These conversations involve building health literacy and independence. Transfer of care is the hand-off of care from a pediatric care provider to an adult provider.

What is the difference between a pediatric neurologist and an adult neurologist?

Pediatric neurologists specialize in caring for infants, children and teens with neurological conditions, while adult neurologists care for adults with neurological conditions. Neurological conditions may present differently in children, so pediatric neurologists receive specialized training to diagnose and care for children with growing and developing brains and nervous systems.

At what age will I have to transition to adult neurological care?

While our neurology age guidelines recommend established patients―under appropriate circumstances―transition to adult neurological care at age 18, patients are not required to transition prior to age 21.  

At what age will transition conversations begin?

The Children’s neurology team will begin transition conversation with teens around age 14. The goal is to continue talking about transition until you move to adult care.

How will I find an adult provider?

Our team has compiled a list of adult neurologists for you to consider.

How do I know if an adult provider is covered under my insurance?

Contact your insurance company by calling the phone number on the back of the card to verify if an adult provider is covered under your insurance plan.

What if I have a rare or unique neurological condition that can only be treated by a certain type of specialist?

Our team will review your unique situation and help you identify a list of providers who have the necessary skills and experience to care for you.

What if I haven’t identified an adult provider by age 21?

Children’s is a pediatric healthcare organization that cares for kids and young adults from birth to age 21. Upon turning 21, you must transition to an adult provider.

What if I am near the age cut-off and need a prescription refill?

A Children’s clinician can write a prescription for your medication—up to a 6-month supply (as clinically appropriate)—during your last clinic visit.

We are grateful you have chosen Children’s to serve as your pediatric neurological provider, and we look forward to helping you on your journey to adulthood and adult-focused healthcare. Our team is here to support you and your family every step of the way.

If you have any questions about the transition process, please reach out to your child's provider through MYchart