When your child turns 18, you no longer have the right to make decisions for them.
This includes choices about their education plan and services.
But there are ways you can get official permission to help adult children make important life decisions.
The legal terms are Guardianship or Conservatorship
When your child gets close to age 17, the school will help you to manage this.
See the Exceptional Lives Guardianship Guide to learn more about decision-making and your adult child (It will open in a new tab on your screen.)
It can be overwhelming to think about your child's transition to adulthood. There are many things to think about, such as:
Your school IEP Team can help you with these issues.
There are also many resources in Massachusetts.
Exceptional Lives offers Guides on several areas related to the transition to adulthood, and more are in development.
Click on Tools and then Topics at the top of the page to learn more.
In addition, many groups in Massachusetts offer programs to help people with disabilities practice self-advocacy skills, and provide resources on transition for families.
Here are a few of these resources:
Arc of Massachusetts
Find your local chapter here: http://thearcofmass.org/about/chapters-by-town.
Autistic Self-Advocacy Network
Easter Seals Youth Transition Services
Federation for Children with Special Needs
Transition Guide (published with Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission):
Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong
Massachusetts Department of Education
Frequently Asked Questions: Transition from Early Intervention to Special Education
Best Practices in Early Childhood Transition
Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress
National Alliance on Mental Illness - Massachusetts (NAMI Mass)
Resources for transition-age youth: http://namimass.org/resources/teens.
Source: MA DESE