Guardianship is often appointed when a person is unable to properly care for themselves in Iowa due to being under the legal age or having a disability of some kind. Generally, it is designed to protect the person and not restrict his or her life. When it comes to those with Down Syndrome, it can often be difficult for parents to determine if guardianship is appropriate.
The Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center notes a lot has changed in recent years when it comes to a Down Syndrome diagnosis and the ability of people with this condition to live “normal” lives. They are living longer and being encouraged to integrate into society in ways they never really were in the 20th Century. However, there are still challenges and people with this disorder are not always able to live completely independent, so they are often granted a guardian.
Upon turning 18, every person is assumed to be an adult capable of handling his or her own affairs. This occurs regardless of any type of genetic disorder, disability or anything else that may, in reality, prevent the person from being able to care for him or herself. This is why it is important for parents to plan ahead.
When creating a guardianship, parents should look at their child and his or her needs and desires. Down Syndrome can affect people in different ways, so while one person may be unable to handle daily tasks, such as bathing or cooking, another may do those things just fine. It really depends on the individual as to how much influence and control the guardianship should have.
According to a story in The Washington Post, many people with Down Syndrome who have been appointed a guardian are simply fighting for the right to live their lives independently. They recognize their own limitations, but they still want to be able to have some say in how they live. In addition, the federal government has worked to make it the law for people with disabilities to be integrated into society and not treated as social outcasts. In some situations, appointing a guardian for a person with this disability could be more harmful than helpful, especially if that guardian wishes to severely restrict the individual’s ability to live freely and normally as part of a community.