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How can I support my child with special needs from ages 15 to 18?

The following are suggestions on how you can support the development of your child with special needs from 15 to 18 years old:

Development
  • Help your teen identify his or her strengths and interests.
  • Explore support groups, if your teen is interested.
  • Help your teen prepare for independent living including household tasks, budgeting, and shopping.
  • Explore recreation and leisure opportunities.
  • Check out assistive technology and computer resources.
  • Help your teen get key documents such as a driver's license or ID card, birth certificate, and Social Security card.
  • Explore living options (independent, assisted, dependent, with family or friends, a group home, or skilled nursing facility).
Medical
  • Encourage your teen to take responsibility for his or her medical needs.
  • Teach your teen how to keep a record of his or her medical history.
  • Begin to explore future healthcare needs like obtaining insurance and finding an adult healthcare provider.
  • With your teen, check eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) the month he or she turns 18 (At age 18, the teen's financial resources are evaluated, not the parents' or guardian's).
Education
  • Talk with your teen about life plans after high school.
  • Explore job support or training at vocational or technical schools, or colleges or universities.
  • Contact the school's disability center to discuss available and proper accommodations for your teen.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.