By Association for Children with a Disability
If your child is turning 18 this practical check list will guide you through their next steps into adulthood.
WHAT HAPPENS POST-SCHOOL
As your child approaches 18, the school journey will soon be finishing. Begin to plan a transition to post-school life and what this looks like. Post-school options are as varied as they are exciting.
• Supported group activities
• Running a microenterprise
So, how do you determine what option (or options) will work best for your child?
Start by thinking about their skills, strengths and interests. Remember what they can do will change over time and can be a combination of options.
Discuss with your child, talk to their school, ask therapists and service providers for their input and ideas.
Learning to drive is another milestone on your child’s path to independence. Take a look at the this article for more info on the processes involved.
PROOF OF AGE CARD
Now your child is an adult, they will need photo identification. If they don’t have a passport or learner’s permit, they may want to consider obtaining a proof of age card which you can apply for online or at your local post office.
If your child is a NDIS participant, you need to think through what support & services will be needed once they finish school.
Obtain reports from their therapist for evidence of support required and talk to your Local Area Coordinator or Support Coordinator (if you have one).
Talk to your child about whether they want you to continue to help them manage their Plan. If they want your assistance, be sure to fill out a nominee form before they turn 18, so that you can continue to act on their behalf.
There are two types of NDIS nominees:
1. A correspondence nominee
2. A Plan nominee
To determine which is best suited to your child’s needs, contact your Local Area Coordinator.
Begin this process early, that way you will avoid losing access to any of your child’s online MyGov services.
Your child will also need to sign the form to provide consent for your new role as nominee.
CENTRELINK AND MEDICARE
Your child will need their own MyGov account. If your child wants you to continue to act on their behalf, Centrelink requires that you become a nominee before your child turns 18.
You can contact Centrelink directly for more information.
Your child will need their own Medicare card. Medicare will also need you to complete an authorisation form if your child consents for you to access their medical records once they reach adulthood.
The transition from paediatric to adult healthcare is different with every service provider.
Some paediatricians will continue to work with people up until the age of 21, while others have a cut-off at 18. This will need to be discussed with your child’s doctor and you will need to work with them to develop a transition plan. Be sure to gain consent from your child before attending any appointments or seeking out medical records on their behalf.
Your child may want to choose a Medical Support Person to assist them with medical decision making.
In Australia, voting is compulsory for everyone aged 18 and over. So if your child has not already done so, they will need to enrol to vote.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) offers a range of services to support people with disabilities to vote, including postal votes and early in-person voting.
If your child is incapable of voting, you must complete an exemption form.
Now that your child is 18, they are legally considered an adult.
To support this transition, it’s helpful to talk to them about what this means, particularly their finances, healthcare and general care needs.
There are options like Supported Decision Making, Medical Support Person and Supportive Attorney.
There are also options like Supportive Guardians and Administrators to assist the person with disability to make decisions.
Guardianship is where another person makes decisions on behalf of the person with disability. This is the last resort and only made when a less restrictive option is not possible.
Now that adulthood has arrived, it’s time to look to your child’s future and your own.
Think about what support your child will need when you are no longer able to care for them.
Setting up supportive decision makers and making a will are an important part of future planning.
This information is reproduced with permission from the Association for Children with a Disability (ACD) who’ve been advocating for children with disability for more than 40 years. Visit acd.org.au