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Caring for an adult child with special needs

As their child is approaching the age of adulthood, one thing a parent may be thinking about quite a bit is their child's future. What kinds of worries, concerns and hopes a parent has about their child's future will very much depend on the specific characteristics and situation of their child. 

For parents of children with special needs, one thing they may be particularly focused on when it comes to their child's future is ensuring their child will continue to get the care they need after they become an adult. 

It is not uncommon for parents of special needs children to continue to provide a significant amount of care to their child, even after their child reaches adulthood.

After their special needs child passes the age of 18, there are some roadblocks parents could encounter in their care efforts towards their child, such as:

  • Privacy laws blocking them from getting certain information regarding their child and their condition.
  • Them not having decision-making authority regarding medical matters and other important matters for their child. 
  • It being unclear where decision-making authority lies for different decisions regarding their child. 

In some situations, if such roadblocks could significantly impair a parent's ability to give an adult child with special needs the care they need, a parent may want to think about requesting to be named a guardian for their adult child. Such a guardianship, if granted, can give a parent a variety of different decision-making powers regarding their adult child.

Now, a guardianship is a very powerful and impactful legal mechanism, and thus is not something that is the right fit for all situations involving a parent caring for a special needs adult child. 

As this underscores, when a parent is making preparations to help ensure their special needs child continues to get appropriate care after they become an adult, the specific circumstances of the child and the overall situation are important to take into account. 

Helping parents of special needs children with special needs planning is among the legal services our firm provides. We are knowledgeable on the various issues and mechanisms special needs planning can involve and are committed to matching parents of special needs children with the right plan regarding their child's future care needs. 

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