Presented by PACER's National Parent Center on Transition and Employment

When parents think about their son or daughter making the transition to adulthood, postsecondary education and employment are often the first areas considered. It may be just as important, or more so, to give careful thought to the skills the young person will need to learn, work, and live as independently as possible.

Learning independent living skills in high school leads to more opportunities and greater success after high school graduation. There are many aspects to living independently as a young adult. Starting with the most basic, it’s about having daily living skills, which include grooming and hygiene, personal safety, and knowing how to take care of oneself. In addition, it’s about self-determination – learning to “have a voice and make a choice” about one’s life.  These skills are learned over time at home, at school, and in the community. They provide the foundation for what it takes to live meaningful adult lives.

Independent living also means finding appropriate housing, using transportation, managing money, participating in community living – including social and leisure activities – and more. Support needs will vary based on the disability and the unique needs of the individual. A local Center for Independent Living can connect youth and adults with the kinds of supports and services they need.

This site walks through the following topics: