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08/02/2013

Guardianship Alternatives: Their Use Affirms Self-Determination of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities


Guardianship Alternatives: Their Use Affirms Self-Determination of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Dorothy Squatrito Millar

Abstract: This article was written with the purpose of informing educators, agency service providers, family members, stakeholders, researchers in the field of transition, and individuals with intellectual disabilities themselves, of the guardianship alternatives that can be used, hence negating the need for a legal guardian. Guardianship refers to the legal procedure when a judge appoints a person (a guardian) to make some or all decisions for another adult (a ward). It is a legally documented association between a guardian and a ward as a result of the court determining that the adult ward is either totally or partially incapable of making decisions with regard to: (a) self-care, (b) financial management issues, (c) medical and health care, (d) home and community living, as well as, (e) safety, civil or legal matters. Summarized in this article are: a description of guardianship and how it disaffirms self-determination, the guardianship legal process, a review of related research, and perhaps most importantly guardianship alternatives. This information aims to serve as a resource to stakeholders as a student who has an intellectual disability approaches or has reached the age of majority with respect to educational planning in the academic areas and functional life skills, and when the student may be in jeopardy of losing all or some civil and legal rights as an adult due to a perception that he or she is in need of a guardian.

 
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