For Teens Only Practicing independent interactions with your parents
For Teens Only Practicing independent interactions with your parents

Your parents have cared for you in every way. Becoming more independent is normal for teens, but hard for parents especially when there are special circumstances such as a health concern. Here are some tips for your parents to follow to help this process go more smoothly for everyone.

By ages 6-11, or according to your child's developmental ability
• Help your child start talking directly with doctors, nurses, therapists and
teachers.
• Find out what your child knows about his/her special health care need. Build
on their
understanding.
• Continue teaching your child normal self-care skills as well as skills related to
his/her special health
care need.
• Work with school to assure equal access to school programs; ask if your child
qualifies for a 504 plan.
• Encourage hobbies and leisure activities
• Continue to encourage decision-making skills by offering choices.
• Continue assigning your child chores appropriate for his/her ability level.
• Let your child choose how to spend some or all of allowance.
• Teach your child the consequences of his/her behaviors and choices.
• Allow your child to experience the consequences of a poor choice as well as a
good choice.
• Begin teaching your child how to advocate for himself/herself.
• Begin asking your child "What will you do when you grow up?"
By ages 12-18, or according to your child's developmental ability
• Find out your teen's understanding of his/her special health care need. Fill in
knowledge gaps.
• Continue teaching your teen normal self-help skills as well as skills related to
special health care
need.
• Begin helping your teen keep a record of his/her medical history, including
conditions, operations, treatments (dates, doctors, recommendations) and
504 plan if he/she has one.
• If has a 504 plan, encourage teen to participate in any 504 meetings.
• Begin helping your teen take responsibility for making and keeping his/her own
medical appointments, ordering their own supplies, etc.
• Begin exploring health care financing for young adults at age 17. With teen,
check eligibility for SSI the month he/she turns 18. At age 18, the teen's
financial resources are evaluated, not the parents/guardians
• Discuss sexuality with your teen.
• Help your teen identify and build on his/her strengths.
• Help your teen be involved in age and developmentally appropriate activities.
Explore support groups, talk about possible career interests, find work and
volunteer activities, hobbies and leisure activities, seek out adult or older teen
role models.
• Begin, with your teen, looking for an adult health care provider.
• Encourage teen to contact campus disabled student services to request
accommodations if he/she will be attending college.
By ages 18-21, or according to your child's developmental ability
• Act as a resource and support to your young adult.
• Encourage your young adult to participate in support groups and/or
organizations relevant tohis/her special health care need.

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