How Impaired for Guardianship?

Today I realized that in less than two years we will almost certainly have to apply for guardianship for Sam.

It all started with another person discussing the process they are going through to get guardianship.

"How impaired does a person have to be to consider guardianship?" I asked?  And then answered my own question.

Sam has tons of skills.  He's in eighth grade.  He receives Learning Support for English and Science because of the reading involved.  He's working at grade level in Math and History and is fully included in these and other classes.  But he doesn't understand money in a sense bigger than "I save for computer games."  We will work on skills of rent and bank accounts and saving up for cars.  I am not sure that he would accept a medical treatment that involved pain but would better his life without a lot of support and someone else to make the decision.  He can't plan a meal or a grocery list.  Although those are skills that we will work on, I don't know when he will acquire them.  He is susceptible to scams and people who would use him and take his money.  I don't know if he will ever be able to recognize the subtle baser aspects of his fellow human beings.

It was a punch to the gut to realize that this man-child whom we've been therapy-izing and teaching for the last 13+ years has so many skills, but could probably not survive in the real world independently in 2, 5 or maybe even 10 years.

We've known for years that Nathan will require guardianship.  Sam is so much more competent than Nathan.  And perhaps someday we will relinquish the guardianship to allow him adult independence rather than transferring it to another person, as we will most likely do with Nathan.

Those dreams you have about your babies never include claiming the right to make their decision as adults.

if you'd like more information about guardianship, autism speaks has some good information about issues to address as your loved one approaches adulthood.


  1. That is one of the hardest things I've ever done. We have guardianship over our 19 year old and I hate that we have to sign a paper that calls him "disabled" and yet, he is. He is nowhere near as severe as our 15 yo, but nonetheless, like Sam, he could easily become the target of a scammer. :-( Hugs.


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