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Book Review

Parenting an Adult with Disabilities or Special Needs

Most parents share the same ultimate goal: raising their child to become a responsible, productive, and happy adult. For the parents of a child with disabilities, realizing this common dream often seems impossible. Nearly 20 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, adults with Down’s syndrome, autism, and many other mental, emotional, and physical challenges still face daunting obstacles to finding employment, affordable and safe housing, and the care, support, and understanding crucial to their independence and success.

Over three decades of working with disabled children and adults, as well as through her own battles as a mother of a now-grown son with multiple disabilities, she has become an expert on policies, programs, services, funding, and setting and achieving realistic goals. In this book she shares a wealth of information, advice, and strategies to help parents provide their son or daughter with a solid foundation for a fulfilling life—even after they can no longer be there for them.

What will happen to my child when I’m gone? That’s the question most parents of a disabled adult dread because the likely answer—abrupt placement in any vocational program or group home available—is frightening. “You can overcome some of the fear by being proactive in planning,” Morgan assures her readers. She also encourages parents to focus on maximizing their child’s abilities and teaching their child to become a self-advocate.

Morgan covers the steps of a grown child’s transition from a nurturing home to a more independent living arrangement and rewarding lifestyle. Among important considerations and vital issues, she provides parents with insights and practical guidance on:

- Identifying their child’s natural skills and exploring job possibilities beyond the “most likely employment” scenarios.

- Researching and tapping sources of government and private funding, from medical plans to assistance in finding a vocational placement and adapting a work site to their child’s needs.

- Drafting a detailed and attainable transitional plan for your child’s independence, with short-term and long-term goals.

- Establishing relationships beyond the immediate family—from distant relatives to fellow churchgoers to bowling buddies—to give your child a circle of friends and advocates.

- Taking care of the business of estate planning, including appointing a guardian, conservator, and trustee for your child, as well as creating a will and trust.