Faculty Publications


Guardianship: Its role in the transition process for students with developmental disabilities

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Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities





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The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore: (a) the underlying beliefs of those involved in determining the need for guardianship for young adults with developmental disabilities, (b) the overarching frameworks or theories that might explain some of the more predominate beliefs, and (c) the relationship of transition assessment, transition planning, self-determination, and age of majority to the guardianship process. The authors found that planning for guardianship was separated from the transition planning process and that full guardianship had become the set path for every student in the educational program. The authors made the following recommendations: (a) schools must begin with the assumption that each individual has the potential to lead his/her own life-from there supports in areas of need can be developed; (b) both the transition planning and guardianship process should be based upon an ongoing assessment of the student's strengths, needs, preferences, and interests; (c) schools must recognize students as emerging young adults, and prepare them to assume a variety of adult roles by helping them develop and practice self-determination skills; (d) the transfer of rights at age of majority should be seen as a key point in the transition process; and (e) in working to prepare students for adult life, instructional and support staff need to be aware of the wide variety of alternatives to and options within the guardianship process. © Division on Developmental Disabilities.

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