As the eldest of five children, the caregiver role came naturally. His three of my siblings, he is 8, 10 and 14 years younger than me, are not what you would call “neurotypical”. This early experience and subsequent motherhood of her two “neurodiverse” children gave me the tools I needed to assist other caregivers and children with special needs. gave me
What I love most about being an attorney helping caregivers and supporters of children with special needs is their ResilienceThey come to my law firm with rigorous goals, intelligent questions, and a can-do attitude. They know the road to caregiving can be bumpy, but they know that with a good compass they can navigate!
I encourage anyone who cares for a child with special needs to work on these three steps to ensure the child is fully protected into adulthood.
1. Be their advocate.
It’s easy? You have been doing this your child’s entire life! If your child is about to “age” out of the education system, it’s time to repurpose and reorient your school advocacy skills. Be sure to enroll your child in public benefit programs, community supports and services designed to provide social skills development, job training, housing, medical care and respite care. Some of these programs are free. Provided by the government through Social Security, Texas Workforce Commission, HHS/Medicaid. Due to the long latency (10-12 years in some cases!) it is essential to learn about these options early.
2. Be their protector.
You definitely have this! If you are reading this article, make sure your child with special needs receives all the interventions you can afford or defend and all the medical care they need to maximize their development. Don’t stop when you’re 18! Unfortunately, the world is full of people who prey on and take advantage of other adults’ weaknesses. The law does not “recognize” that your child is disabled. Instead, “presume” that your child, at her 18th birthday, is well-equipped to make all the decisions known to adulthood without the help of other adults. .This assumption is often unfair to neurodiverse young adults and their caregiver.
If you know your child will need your full support for the rest of their lives, take legal action to become their permanent guardian. Permission is guaranteed. The guardianship process begins through your child’s probate court when she turns 17.5 and can become a guardian by her 18th birthday. Once the process is complete, you will become their lifelong guardian. Alternatively, if you believe your child is capable of making good decisions and just needs guidance, consult a real estate planning attorney who can speak with your child’s doctor, employer, and financial institution for assistance Prepare legal documents so you can continue to participate in complex decision-making after you turn 18.
3. Preserve your legacy for them.
“Legacy” is how you want to be remembered and how you want your loved ones to be treated after you die. I want to be able to have But plans for the future come with tough debates. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced professional guide these conversations. Financial planners and estate planning attorneys can help you overcome your natural fear of the unknown. These planners help children with special needs secure the lives they want and provide ongoing care. help by creating a workable plan to Whether it’s life insurance, investment products, wills, special needs trusts, or guardianship plans, taking the time to plan can start to make your future and that of your loved ones more secure. When you feel confident, you become more confident in your ability to tackle life’s next hurdle.we become resilient.