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By Melinda Sacks
Becoming truly independent is a complex process, but there are several skills and characteristics that are good indicators of a teen's readiness. Experts suggest evaluating these indicators in your own teen before making decisions about freedoms that usually go along with turning 18:
As parents begin to answer these questions, they will be able to make decisions about how much independence is appropriate, and what skills still need to be taught, says Sheldon Horowitz, Director of Professional Services for the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD).
"Every parent wants his or her child to become independent, but clearly, the underlying goal is much more complicated," says Horowitz, who holds a Ph.D. in Education. "Being independent means getting your work done on time, caring for your personal belongings, adhering to a schedule and being on time for appointments and more. These are areas where adolescents and young adults with LD can certainly succeed with careful training and ongoing support."
In discussing the issues related to a teenager's freedom and independence, parents need to decide which things they care most about, and focus on those. Some suggestions from teen counselors include the following:
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