Teenagers 13-17 years

Last updated


Transitioning to adulthood is an emotional and psychological step, where hormonal changes, secondary education and preparing for employment play a key role.

Key points

  • Navigating adolescence while living with disability can be a challenge
  • There are a number of programs to help people with disability transition from high school to the workforce
  • Support from family, friends, colleagues and teachers, among other support staff, can be really helpful

Supporting a teenager with disability

During this time, teenagers often feel self conscious and pay particular attention to the views and opinions of those around them. It is also a time where discrimination may wiggle its way into school and work life.

The Disability Discrimination Act (1992) protects people with disability from being treated unfairly, as well as their relatives, friends and carers. If you experience discrimination, speaking with teachers and management is the first step.

It is important for people with disability to have the necessary supports to navigate adolescence and pave their ways into becoming independent adults.

Challenges may arise during puberty with hormonal and body changes. There are a number of reproductive health and sexual education workshops that can help people with disability and their families understand the changes that are taking place.

Government bodies also provide a myriad of information on adolescent issues for people with disability and disability workers. Keeping an open line of communication between parents and doctors is just as important.

A number of programs are available to help with the transition of people with disability from high school to the workforce. Often these are run as vocational training, where students gain credit towards their high school accreditation through a work placement. This enables them to learn lifelong communication, teamwork and time management skills while building relationships with customers and colleagues. Most high schools also provide career counselling which can help people with disability decide on a career path, establish a plan and set goals for getting there.

For more information on these programs and how they can support young adults with disability in entering the workforce, speak to your teacher or school’s career counsellor.

For people with disability, the transition into adulthood can be daunting and overwhelming, but support from family, friends, colleagues and teachers, among other support staff, can help them reach their full potential.

What do you want to know about adolescence and living with disability? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content
Caring for a teen with disability – Sabine and Monice
What is the NDIS?
What support can I get?