Has anyone experienced raising a child where no matter what parental advice is offered, they deliberately choose the opposite? Please tell me I am not alone.

My daughter Maddy is fiercely independent. If it were up to her, she would make every one of her life decisions without any regard to what her parents think. While a primary goal of parenting is to raise children to be independent and self-reliant, parenting a child with special needs raises some unique challenges, particularly as we begin preparing them for the demands of adulthood. Although Maddy wishes to retain her independence once she turns 18, I also recognize she will require help making decisions.

Fortunately for me, Illinois is one of 20 states that recognize Supported Decision Making as a planning technique that allows individuals with special needs the ability to maintain their decision-making independence while receiving assistance from supporters. Other states are either in-process or do not officially recognize Supported Decision-Making (SDM).

SDM can also be used in conjunction with powers of attorney as they are not mutually exclusive and can be used to complement each other.

Along with Maddy’s input, we have begun gathering her team of trusted advisors which includes professionals, friends, and family members who are tasked with supporting Maddy in making future adult decisions. We have sought out dependable, dedicated individuals who enjoy long-standing relationships with Maddy. Many have already been a part of Maddy’s team, advocating on her behalf long before SDM was recognized.

SDM supporters can provide the individual expertise in areas such as self-care, bill pay, grocery shopping, employment assistance or any other decision-making areas where your loved one needs help.

Part of an effective Supported Decision-Making Agreement is for the supporter and the individual to share ideas and give and receive feedback while learning to understand the process of what goes into making a sound decision. As parents, we need to consider each individual’s strengths, skills, and decision-making capacity.

If you believe your loved one will have the capacity to make their own decisions at the age of 18, you may wish to consider SDM as part of their future planning. Because each state has their own agreement, use your browser to search for your state’s Supported Decision-Making document.

If you have any questions about Supported Decision-Making, please contact Oak Wealth Advisors.

Please find important disclosures about this resource HERE.