Will your special needs child get the medical care they deserve as an adult?

As a parent of a child with special needs it is difficult to know how much independence to give. As they approach adulthood teens push to make their own decisions. Although you might want to give them their space, a guiding hand can be necessary especially when it comes to keeping them healthy.

You might already recognize this area as a touchy subject. Often children with disabilities would rather not take an important medication that makes them drowsy or eat the proper foods to keep them strong. They might fight with you to follow the doctor's orders. These could just be issues when your child is young but many adults with special needs struggle to make the best decisions for their health.

Some adults with special needs benefit from having a parent or family member appointed as a legal guardian. If you are unsure if your adult child with special needs will require help handling their medical care then here are some topics to consider:

  • Medication decisions
  • Seeking medical care when hurt or sick
  • Attending regular check ups
  • Following dietary advice
  • Understanding doctor's recommendations for medical procedures

If you believe your child might need guidance on these topics then it would be wise to consider becoming their legal guardian.

What is guardianship?

Once your son or daughter turns 18 they will be able to make their own decisions regarding medical care as an adult whether they have a disability or not. Guardianship is a court-ordered agreement in which you are given legal authority to make major decisions on behalf of your adult child regarding health care, education, finances, adult services, and general care.

Steps to becoming a legal guardian

In order to obtain guardianship over your adult child you must prepare a petition with an attorney to present to the court. First write down the reasons why you should be appointed as a guardian. You will need to establish all the facts about your relationship with your child and an overview of your child's disability and ability to make major decisions. You will need to present this evidence in court and a judge will determine if you have the capacity to be an appropriate guardian. More often than not a parent is granted guardianship over their adult child.

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