1step2life™ helping teens in pain take back their lives.


1step2life is a research-based app that thinks like an adolescent.  It’s designed to help kids living with severe chronic pain take back their lives.

We help kids and caregivers:

  • understand the science underlying pain rehab and management
  • celebrate every step that moves you forward
  • follow doctors’ and therapists’ advice by providing visual tools that help you find a path that works for you

1step2life doesn’t replace resources like doctors, pain therapists, or books.  We make them work better.

Our mission

This project was born of pain.  Not my own pain, but my son’s.

My name is Nancy Darling.  As a developmental psychologist, I’ve studied parent-adolescent relations in the US, South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. All of that theory came crashing down when suddenly, out of the blue, my healthy, happy son had his first migraine.  Within six months he was curled up in his bed, under the covers, in the dark, shaking from pain.  School, friends, time with family – every normal thing that makes up the life of a healthy teen – seemed suddenly out of reach.

All the advice I was given – good research-backed treatment from some of the best specialists in the world – seemed impossible to implement and completely counter-intuitive.

  • “Send your child to school”
  • “Follow a strict diet”
  • “Aerobic exercise, 5 times a week”
  • “3 liters of water a day”
  • “He’s got to mediatate’

Did they have any idea what it was like parenting a kid in pain?  I got excellent advice, but so hard to do when my son could barely stumble to the bathroom.

Our goal is to use cutting edge developmental science to help teens living with chronic pain take back their lives, one step at a time.  We do this by providing teens with the knowledge and planning tools they need to plan how best to follow their caregivers’ instructions.  Then we provide information for parents so they can work effectively as coaches to support their child in their path towards better functioning.  Finally, we help teens and parents see and celebrate every small victory.

As my son used to say:

“I’ve moved from the bed to the couch. There’s no stopping me now!”

With chronic pain, it’s too easy to feel lost, overwhelmed, and helpless.  Our goal is to help you take those first steps towards a better life.