The difficulties in giving even relative independence to handicapped children are reviewed. A compromise has to be worked out between too much and too little independence. The personality of the child will be a governing factor, but there are many environmental influences. Not least among these are the attitudes of the parents, and to what extent they accept the handicapped child and encourage self-reliance. Education must be realistically based on the child's ability and likely potentials on leaving school. Acquiring daily-living skills may be as important as academic qualifications. More needs to be learnt about the balance between independence and over-protection, and the success of management for an individual child can only be judged when maturity is reached with adequate self-confidence, and a maximal ability to compete in the adult world.