Institutional Roadblocks to Supported Decision Making

I have the privilege for over 20 years to advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In that capacity, I have served on the board of local and state agencies, councils, schools, and task forces. I have asked a lot of questions and made many recommendations on behalf of individuals and families.

I am particularly disappointed at school transition coordinators and administrators advocating guardianship at the age of majority, which commences on the eighteen birthday. Though most states lack data on guardianship, I can say with certainty as a special needs planner, that in New York City, my domicile, most schools encourage guardianship over less restrictive decision making options.

I will address this troublesome fact in more detail for those of you who subscribe to the Stuart Flaum Consulting newsletter. However, I ask you:

” How can you expect your children to be safe, make informed decisions, and build independent living skills when culture does not encourage their self determination and self advocacy from birth? I define the culture as families, schools and the legal system.”

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