The process of helping students and parents make decisions about guardianship, conservatorship and supported decision making can be confusing, emotional and overwhelming. There are no easy answers for this process, and there is not a one-size fits all approach, either.
However, there are resources available to help youth and families make informed decisions.
Alternatives to Guardianship: The Rural Institute on Disabilities has created a number of resources, including a comprehensive toolkit, to explain supported decision making and the variety of option. Check it out!
- Supported Decision-Making Teams: Setting the Wheels in Motion. This article by Suzanne Francisco and Jonathan Martinis does a great job of explaining what supported decision making is and provides some resources for starting the process.
- Also, check out Supporteddecisionmaking.org for a wealth of information and resources.
- MYTransitions Region II created a brochure for youth and families entitled, Turning 18– Who Makes the Decisions? This informational brochure describes the process of transferring rights to an adult student and how families and teachers can help students plan for this responsibility. Additional resources are also outlined in this brochure.
- The Autistic Self-advocacy Network published this guide called: The Right to Make Choices: International Laws and Decision-Making by People with Disabilities. This guide is an international document, but does a nice job of explaining all of the different options concerning guardianship and decision making. There are many options that can be considered.
- The Center for Parent Information and Resources has a variety of resources in helping prepare yourself AND your teen for reaching the age of majority.
Sample FORMS for supported decision making:
- Consent to Designate Advocacy and Release of Information. These are examples of forms that may be used by a youth turning 18 or an adult who would like to designate a personal advocate in times of crisis or medical need/emergencies.
- Designation for Patient Advocate. This is another example of a form that an individual may use to designate someone to step in as a patient advocate.
For more information on Supported Decision Making, Jonathan Martinis from Burton Blatt Institute has prepared some helpful PowerPoint presentations.