There are some issues to be considered when a person with a disability, including autism, reaches the age of majority. In Oklahoma, and most other states, the age of majority is 18 years old. At that time, a person is legally considered to be an adult and parents are no longer their child's legal guardian even if the child has a disability. Parents no longer have the legal rights, such as accessing confidential health records and school records, that they were entitled to throughout their child’s younger years.
Not all people who have autism need the protection of Guardianship. Obtaining Guardianship for a person should be carefully investigated. A person’s ability to care for themself, make decisions that are in their own best interest, and manage their financial assets are some of the things that should be considered as well as the person’s interests, needs, strengths, and weaknesses are important in planning their future. Becoming the guardian of a person is a legal procedure that requires the appearance before a Judge. There are different types of Guardianship and these differ from state to state. While the services of an attorney are not absolutely necessary, it can be beneficial to consult with an attorney before filing legal papers and heading to court.
- LegalAidOK provides resources to families seeking guardianship in Oklahoma
- Autism Speaks provides resources to families making decisions regarding long-term planning, including guardianship