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16 to 17 Year Olds


  • Student should attend all IEP meetings and could be leading them.
  • IEP should address all areas where skills are needed for independence.
  • IEP emphasis should be on post-education goals and skills.
  • Get agency representatives that are likely to pay for adult transition services to attend IEP meetings.
  • Research college options and services offered for people with disabilities.
  • Document steps taken to ensure students preferences, strengths and interests are considered even if they are not at the IEP meeting.
  • Parents should get all annual IDEA notices from the school.


  • A first job gives individuals experience and skills.
  • Meet with DVR to help your teen find a job.
  • Pay attention to the rights of people with disabilities in the workforce.
  • Establish transportation necessary to get to work.

Eligibility Funding

  • Medicaid — Youth should carry and use insurance card.
  • SSI — Supplemental Security Income - Plan ahead if SSI is an option.  Check for eligibility the month before the person turns 18.
  • CHIP — Children's Health Insurance Program State Insurance for Children for families with children under the age of 19 that don't qualify for Medicaid.
  • Begin exploring adult options for healthcare coverage if current coverage will end and teach teen how it will work (Deductibles/co-pays/referrals).


  • Discuss transition of care with your primary care physician.
  • Reinforce healthy choices and how they affect your teens medical condition.
  • Discuss what your teen needs to function independently in terms of therapy, equipment, and technology.
  • Encourage proper nutrition and exercise.
  • Teach young adult how to make medical appointments and fill prescriptions.
  • Keep a medical health record file that includes all paperwork.
  • Allow youth to spend time alone with doctor during office visits.
  • Schedule and have youth attend annual wellness visits with primary care physician (PCP).
  • Locate an adult provider and finalize adult health care coverage.
  • Transfer medical records to adult provider.

Parent/Caregiver and Young Person Interaction

  • Participate and encourage your child's participation in the IEP or 504 process.
  • Help young person participate in their IEP. A practice session might help.
  • Help young person to monitor progress on his/her IEP.
  • If you haven't already, open a joint bank account in your young adult's name.
  • Help your young adult apply for a driver's license.
  • Develop a long-term plan and make sure your child has employment, community and independent living skills they need.
  • Find adult or teen role models for your child.
  • Assess your teen's perception and basic knowledge of his/her special needs. Build on understanding. Encourage them to ask questions at doctors' visits.
  • Continue teaching self-care skills; include those related to his/her condition. Encourage all attempts, reward successes. Expect positive outcomes.
  • Continue teaching self-advocacy skills, especially with healthcare providers and teachers.
  • Discuss age of majority and the rights that will transfer to your child when they turn 18.
  • Begin helping your teen keep his/her medical summary.
  • Discuss relationships and sexuality with your teen and how his/her medical condition may /or may not affect this.
  • Help your teen identify and build on his/her strengths and personality traits to build self- esteem.
  • Explore your teen's thoughts, hopes and dreams for his/her young adult life.
  • Continue to have your teen help with family chores.
  • Continue to encourage hobbies, and leisure activities, emphasizing positive lifestyle choices.
  • Parents be a role model for your teen to advocate for what they need, plan ahead, be persistent, in accessing resources and services.
  • If guardianship is necessary, investigate options for your child's legal protection at least two months before they turn 18.
  • If necessary get a power of attorney, health care proxy or conservatorship.
  • Register to vote at age 18. 
  • Men should register for Selective Service. 
  • Explore alternative living arrangements.
  • Teach young adults about nutrition and proper exercise.
  • Discuss disability rights with young adults and what that means in the workplace.
  • Consider how youth will make BIG decisions when they turn 18 and arrange for assistance if necessary.
  • Research supported decision making to determine if this may be an option for your young adult.
  • Help young person continue to develop and use self-determination and self-advocacy skills.


  • Begin researching/discussing any possible supports/services that may be needed from outside agencies and how funding sources can benefit your student (SSI, Medicaid, DVR, Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDDS), etc.)
  • Identify and apply for services provided by adult agencies.
  • Initiate eligibility process for adult services in state.
  • Be persistent when accessing services.
  • Complete DDDS application, if applicable.
  • Apply for Section 8 housing if desired.
  • Check into services offered at potential colleges.
  • Establish connection with DART or public transportation.


  • Explore support groups for teens, as interested.
  • Talk with other parents of teens, with and without special needs.
  • Stay connected to partners, friends, family, faith-based and community.
  • Let professionals know when you need help. Accept help when offered.