If you’re the parent of a disabled child in Pennsylvania, you have no doubt advocated for them their entire life. However, once your child reaches adulthood, your advocacy may begin to change based on their ability to make certain decisions and their legal rights as adults. This may be difficult, but it’s also necessary to understand the options.
What happens once your child reaches 18?
Once your child is 18, they are legally able to make their own decisions on all types of matters, including finances, education and health, among others. While you as a parent can continue to be an advocate for your child, you won’t have the same authority that you once did.
If you believe your child may get hurt from making their own decisions, you might want to consider gaining legal guardianship of them. The medical opinion and recommendation of a physician and or psychologist will need to obtained as it regards your adult child’s capacity.
What should you consider before making a decision on guardianship?
There are several things you should consider before deciding on guardianship for disabled children reaching age of majority. They include the following:
- Is your child able to understand the situation? Is their cognitive ability high enough to know that their decisions have specific consequences?
- How does your child communicate what they want and need? Is it practical?
- How does your child feel about making their own decisions and receiving assistance?
- What resources and support does your child already have available to them?
Advocating for your child
If you want to continue to advocate for your disabled child, it’s important to know that their needs can vary based on the situation. The way you advocate can also change. You will have to decide on things such as what help to provide to them, who will provide that help, and how to assist.