13 Oct


Lisa Williams

Lisa Williams

y name is Lisa Williams. I have been working professonally with children and adults with special needs for 15 years. I have experience with people with Autism, Epilepsy, Cognitive Delay, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Prader Willi Syndrome, and many other diagnoses. I became interested in this field of work at a young age. I have a sister who has a disability. I became her advocate when we were in grade school. I am old enough to remember when children with disabilities went to different schools. I was there when my sister was the first student with a disability to attend our grade school. I was there when the teachers didn't know how to care for her, and I was called out of my class several times a day to tend to her needs. I was there when she fell down the steps at school, and I was there when a ramp was put up to assist her. I think it was that ramp that got me "ramped up" about working in this field. To be in a posiion to effect change for people with disabilities has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I assist families in navigating through the incredibly complex funding systems. In addition to my position as Associate Director for a National company, I am a member of a Disabilty Awareness Work Group that educates the community about people with disabilities. I can't think of a greater way to earn a living!
Lisa Williams

The topic of guardianship over a loved one with a disability can be emotional for some families. People with cognitive disabilities, and those who care about them, often have different ideas about whether guardianship is a good idea or not. Like most things, it depends on the situation. Below are some frequently asked questions about guardianship?

1. As a parent, am I automatically the guardian for my adult son or daughter with a disability?

No. At the age of 18, the law considers a person emancipated, regardless of the severity of the disability. Only a judge can appoint a guardian for a person over the age of 18.

2. How do I become my child’s guardian?

A parent must initiate a fairly simple court proceeding in order to be designated guardian. This can be done prior to the age of 18, or at any time after that. 

3. What does a guardian do?

A guardian makes all decisions about the care and treatment of the person under guardianship.

4. Who should serve as guardian?

A guardian is the person’s chief advocate, so he or she should have an interest in the person with a disability and be willing to take the time to learn about the person’s needs. Ideally, the person selected as a guardian should live close to the individual and know where to turn for professional help in making decisions. Most often, it is a parent or other family member who establishes guardianship. 

5. Are there alternatives to guardianship?

YES!!! If full guardian ship is not necessary, other options include Financial Power of Attorney or Medical Power of Attorney.

Most states will offer free legal council if you are wondering if guardianship is right for your loved one. This is an important decision to make as your child becomes an adult. 

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