Transitioning A Teenager to Adulthood


The transition from teenager to adulthood can be a trying time for teens with FASD and parents and can also pose unique challenges. All teenagers want independence and freedom to make choices. As a parent or caregiver of a youth with FASD it is important to keep in mind that teens with FASD are usually developmentally younger than their age peers in a number of ways. So while 18 is usually a benchmark for ‘adulthood’ you must assess your child’s developmental age. You may need to find ways to safely respect your child’s desire for independence and freedom while keeping your expectations (and those of society) in check with their strength and challenges. 

Transition planning is an important step to help the adjustment to the next phase in your child’s life. Parents should consider several things when planning for their teen’s transition into adulthood. Start planning well before they turn 18. Help prepare your teen for this transition period by:

  1. Ensure that your teenager has been assessed by an appropriate professional and has all current diagnostic assessments in place. The assessment results may assist in determining whether or not your child qualifies for certain supports and services.
  2. Find out what your teen’s hopes and dreams are for the future.
  3. Include family, school and other professionals in the transition planning. Help your teen gain more understanding and acceptance of the type of support they may need in adulthood.
  4. Consider living arrangements. Would your child benefit from living at home as an adult or in supported living situations? If your child is able to live ‘independently’, remember they may need extra support to be financially safe. Be creative in coming up with ideas to help them with budgeting, so they can be successful in paying rent and fulfilling other basic needs (ex. direct payment for rent, utilities and other monthly bills). Keep in mind that your teen may be very generous with their money which leaves them vulnerable to financial victimization.
  5. When your teen is looking for work, help them build on their strengths and abilities. Remember that a busy, high paced work environment may not be a good fit. You may want to consider a supervised work placement. Encourage your teen to discuss their strengths and challenges with their employer, as well as ways to increase success in the workplace.

Transition planning takes time so start early! For more information and resources in the Edmonton and area please email:

Strategies Not Solutions: EFAN

Healthy Child Manitoba: What Parents and Caregivers Need to Know About FASD

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