Parent Page: Navigating Autism id: 31206 Active Page: Adulthoodid:31218


The resources and information in this section of the website are for the adult years. You may be exploring this section as an autistic adult, or as someone who suspects they may have autism. You may also be exploring this section as a caregiver of an adult child with autism who continues to need your support in day-to-day life.

The resources in this section are intended to help you or your loved one with autism in finding the support and information you need to succeed in the adult years. Keep in mind, only you as an individual with autism, and your family know what success means for you. However, in general, most individuals do find that meaningful relationships with a few close family members and/or friends and enjoyable ways to spend time are at least a few of the critical components of a meaningful life as an adult.

Across Oklahoma and the country, resources for the adult years are slowly increasing as families and professionals push for more supports. However, in general, resources are not as readily available as they are during the childhood years.  As an individual or family member, you may have to be creative and connect with others to identify, and in some cases create, the opportunities you seek during this important time in life.

Adult Evaluation Information 

In Oklahoma, there are not as many providers that evaluate adults for the characteristics of Autism as there are for children.  Providers may have a waiting list. You can find an online screening tool here. This may play a role in self-discovery and help you decide to pursue a formal diagnosis. For a formal assessment, please see a knowledgeable medical professional trained in assessing autism.  Our provider directory has listed providers that specifically evaluated and provide support for adults with autism. In the provider directory, we recommend that you click "adult" to filter, then click "medical evaluation."  TIP:  You will get more options if you do not filter your search by location if you are willing to travel for an evaluation. The cost for an evaluation varies.  Check to see if your insurance will cover some of the cost for this evaluation.  *TIP:  When you schedule an evaluation ask about the cost, if the medical office can bill your insurance, and if there will be a payment required on the day of the test.

Connecting with Other Adults

Connecting with people with similar life experiences is important for all of us. Social groups with others with similar disabilities can be stepping stones to finding other opportunities and resources in your community.  TIP: Autism Oklahoma offers support groups and social activities for adults.  

Employment Resources

Finding and maintaining employment is one sign of success in adult life but, for many individuals with autism employment can be a challenge.  Success in employment looks different for each person, ranging from part to full-time working for a company, individual, or oneself.  

Oklahoma Agency Resources for Employment

Resource Guides
Life Journey Through Autism: A Guide for Transition to Adulthood
ife Journey Through Autism: A Guide for Transition to Adulthood, by the Organization for Autism Research, provides an overview of the transition to adulthood process for persons with ASD.

The Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment facilitates successful secondary and post-secondary educational, vocational, and personal outcomes for students and adults with disabilities.  Their website provides a variety of resources to assist families and professionals in the transition process after high school


Resources for guardianship considerations

People with autism can have different abilities when it comes to making decisions. When someone turns 18 in Oklahoma, they are legally considered an adult. This means they have the right to make their own choices about things like medical care, finances, and education unless legal steps are taken to change this.

Some individuals with autism can make their own healthcare decisions, while others may need or want help. When healthcare decisions are too complex or overwhelming, it might be necessary to appoint a guardian.

Appointing a guardian is a significant decision because it takes away some of a person’s independence. It should be considered very carefully. The goal should be to interfere as little as possible with the person's independence while ensuring their health, safety, and protection from exploitation. Guardians should try to help the autistic person understand and be involved in all decisions. If someone needs assistance, there are different legal approaches to be considered.

Legal Guardianship: The Pros and Cons for Your Adult Disabled Child

Guardianship Alternatives

Supported Decision-Making (SDM) lets people with disabilities make choices about their own lives with help from a team they select. Individuals with disabilities choose trusted people to be part of their support network for making decisions. SDM is a different option from guardianship. Instead of having a guardian make decisions for them, SDM allows individuals with disabilities to make their own choices with support. You can learn more about SDM on the Center for Public Representation or the National Center for Supported Decision-Making website.

Types of Guardianship

  • Financial power of attorney: Without relinquishing control over personal finances, an individual grants an agent decision-making authority for the purpose of assisting in financial management. No court action is required.
  • Educational power of attorney: Authorizes another party to have access to the individual’s educational records and to make decisions concerning Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and postsecondary education. No court action is needed.
  • Full guardianship: Guardianship requires a court evaluation and transfers full responsibility for medical, financial, residential, and many personal care decisions to another party. In some states, financial authority must be invested in a conservator, who may be the same individual as the guardian.
  • Limited guardianship: Restricts the guardian’s responsibilities. The guardian might, for instance, be charged with making choices that relate to health care and housing, with the ward retaining all other decision-making capabilities. This requires a court appointment.
  • Health care proxy: Names an agent empowered to make medical decisions on the individual’s behalf. No court intervention is required, and the agreement can be dissolved at any time.

Purpose of Adult Guardianship

An adult who is incapacitated or partially incapacitated may need help taking care of their physical health and financial resources. Family members or caregivers for autistic individuals may seek to become guardians so that they can do things like make appointments, access medical records and make important decisions in an emergency. The family with an autistic person may consider a form of legal guardianship if there’s difficulty with at least one area of life:

  • Health care: The person cannot understand, communicate, and decide about their own health care.
  • Food and shelter: The person cannot manage money, provide their own food, or a place to live.
  • Potential for exploitation, serious injury, or illness: The person cannot consistently make decisions that help them stay safe.

Procedure to Obtain Adult Guardianship

To obtain adult guardianship, a person must submit a petition specifying:

  1. The names and addresses of persons entitled to notice.
  2. The nature and degree of the alleged incapacity.
  3. The relief requested and the facts supporting that relief.
  4. The estimated value of the intangible personal property of the ward.
  5. It may also be necessary to submit copies of professional evaluations of the individual in question as well as guardianship plans.

The court will generally make an investigation of the background of the prospective guardian, including previous criminal and civil matters.

Rights of Incapacitated Adults

An individual alleged to be incapacitated has the right to:

  • Receive notice of the hearing
  • Be present at the hearing
  • Have witnesses present
  • Present evidence
  • Cross-examine witnesses

Guardianship Materials Prepared by the Oklahoma Bar Association

Resources for Guardians of Adults

Resources for Guardians of Children 

*This information is not to replace the advice and counsel of an attorney.

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc (LASO) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that provides civil legal assistance to low-income persons throughout Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Free Legal Answers is a virtual legal advice clinic in which qualifying users may post civil legal questions at no cost to be answered by pro bono attorneys licensed in their state.

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Oklahoma Bar Association