Aim This study aimed to identify the ways in which adolescents living with Type 1 diabetes and their parents communicate about Type 1 diabetes management with healthcare professionals in a clinical setting. Methods Twenty-nine adolescents (aged 11-17 years) and their parents were purposively recruited from two outpatient clinics for non-participant observations. Outpatient clinic appointments, which consisted of multiple consultations with healthcare professionals, were observed and audio-recorded. Outpatient clinic appointments were categorized based on the nature and extent of communication by the adolescent and their parent(s) in relation to Type 1 diabetes management activities. Results Data from 29 outpatient clinic appointments, consisting of a total of 68 observed consultations, were analysed and a continuum consisting of three patterns of communication was identified (parent-led, collaborative and adolescent-led). Healthcare professionals should attend to the nature and extent of communication by adolescents and their parents in relation to Type 1 diabetes management activities because parent and adolescent engagement in communication during clinic appointments may also reflect their degree of involvement in daily Type 1 diabetes management. Conclusions This continuum provides a framework for healthcare professionals to use to identify communication patterns in consultations which in turn may allow healthcare professionals to encourage more effective communication about Type 1 diabetes management from adolescents and their parents in clinic consultations. This may have a positive impact on the sharing of Type 1 diabetes management responsibilities and adolescents' developing self-management skills as roles change during this developmental period.