Parents considering Guardianship often ask us whether it is appropriate for their special needs child, not always realizing there are many other options. We take that question as our cue to discuss “Decision Making Considerations” thoroughly and explain that formal Guardianship is just one of several decision-making tools available for their child. Many parents are surprised to learn that Guardianship can be customized to cover very limited areas of a person’s life.

Guardianship Considerations

When a child turns 18, they can make legally binding decisions for themselves — parents also lose access to medical and school records (if they haven’t already) and the ability to remain involved in medical and therapeutic relationships. For us parents of children with disabilities, this is an unnerving prospect!

How can parents continue to support their child’s development toward independence against the need to protect their child? Our team works to help parents identify the least restrictive decision making tool.

Understanding the Versatility of Guardianship

Guardianship is often presented as an “all or nothing” prospect – but Guardianship is actually very versatile and can be customized for your child. We explain all decision-making tools and help you assess which is best for your child. Parents should consider:

  • Does my child understand the value of money? Can my child count change accurately?
  • Can my child take medications correctly without reminders? Could he or she attend medical appointments alone and ask appropriate questions of the provider? Remember the important details of a doctor’s visit?
  • Does my child know what to do in an emergency?
  • Is my child too trusting of others? Has he or she given/lent money? Understand the need to be guarded with strangers?
  • Is it possible that my child will drive?

Contact Our Team

Each person with special needs is unique — there is no one-size-fits-all approach to decision making. Our team can guide you to the right tool for your child and family, and help relieve the understandable anxiety you are feeling about this new milestone. Click here to consult with us about your family.

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