Friday, April 28, 2017
Adjust Text Size
A- A A+
Translate Site
Idaho Parents Unlimited supports, empowers, educates and advocates to enhance the quality of life for Idahoans with disabilities and their families

Transition into Managing Your own Healthcare!

This is for all you teens out there who are ready to be independent! Those of you who are looking forward to handling your own business! We have to become adults eventually, right? Why now start now by learning how to manage your own healthcare?
Even if you have a developmental disability, a chronic illness, or other disabilities, you can still take the steps toward independence. You just have to do it in a way that works for you and your needs. By reading this, you are already taking the first step!
The management of the child's care gradually shifts from parents to child as the child's skills and responsibility increase even as the parents continue to have a supporting, consultative role. Your parents or caregiver can guide you through this process with ease by using some of the tools below provided by the University of WA Adolescent Health Transition Project, with funding from the WA State Dept of Health, Children with Special Health Care Needs Program :
Shared Management Overview diagram showing role of parent and how it intersects with the role of the youth
In regard to Shared Management and working towards independence, youth and parents should remember:
  1. It is never too early and never too late to begin!
  2. No youth is too limited to participate - but age and developmental level both need to be considered.
  3. Shared management supports movement up the stairway to maximal independence, taking the next small step, but allows for temporary regression.
  4. Shared management requires of parents: Parenting skills for typical challenges of growing up Special skills related to the youth's disorder and its management Aspirations for maintaining family life Dedication to support current and future overall health outcomes
 How to Start Taking the Next Small Step towards Independence
  • Identify areas in which progress needs to be made. Look at recent IEPs, the Health skills transition checklist, Bright Futures steps, etc. Consider youth and family needs, concerns, goals. 
  • Select a few specific goals to work toward, which are important to the youth and parents.
  • Break these goals into small steps considering current skills and limitations and the tasks to be learned. Teachers and therapists may be helpful in doing this.
  • Prepare a plan to learn/teach these skills with youth taking as much responsibility as possible.Parents may act as consultant, supervisor or manager. Review/reevaluate periodically.
An image showing a doctor and people in surgical scrubs
We can always answer questions as you and your parent or caregiver goes through the steps to gaining independence. Good luck!


Are you or do you know a young person, age 13-26, with a disability interested in self advocacy and self-determination? We are currently seeking young people who are connected to an advocacy or youth group in their community, state or another national organization and/or who are willing to make a commitment to do so. If interested, please consider submitting an application to join the KASA Advisory Board.

KASA is a youth run disability rights organization that hopes to change the systems we as young people with disabilities live in. We do this by sharing materials and information aimed at educating others about the rights that people with disabilities have, and encouraging youth to become involved in their communities. KASA has materials covering a variety of topics including how to save for college, living on one’s own, voting, volunteer service, disability pride and more. These materials were written by KASA board members. KASA Board members represent diversity in race and ethnicity, skills, experience, and geographic location. Some KASA members have provided training on different aspects of disability all across the country. Please consider joining us! 

The KASA Board

Click Here for Board Application (pdf)

Click Here for Board Information (pdf)

Click below to see videos created by and for youth with disabilities and special health care needs in transition to adulthood.

Self-Advocacy: Find the Captain in You! Produced by the PACER Center

Youth in Transition Discuss Hiring a Personal Assistant

Tools for Life - What do Idaho Youth with Disabilities Think About it? Burn Brighter Tools for Life Voice II Hailey, Idaho

Amanda's story of her traumatic brain injury. 

Boise Students Star in Video - Student First Language!

 Interview Part 1 (transition to adulthood)

Interview Part 2 (transition to adulthood)


Setting up a care plan for teens to better manage their transition