After the recent post regarding UN Treaty trying to take away parental rights for disabled children and/or adults, I wanted to share that several weeks ago I visited with a friend and fellow mother on the journey of autism who shared with me the importance of applying for guardianship before your child turns 18. It is a very difficult decision to make regarding whether your child will be able to support themselves once they are considered of legal age. I was told that when your child turns 17 to start seeking out lawyers for both you and your child. It will take some time to get the paperwork in and finalized naming you the guardian in the event that a decision needs to be made and they are not of sound mind to make one.
Do not delay in waiting until they turn 18 because at that point if an emergency happened they will not defer to you; a decision will be made by either state, doctor or someone else that may not have the same goals in mind. I was told that before the legal age of adulthood it would be pointless to apply for guardianship as you are already recognized one over them. However, I strongly urge you to look at setting up a will in the event you or your spouse cannot care for your child. I recommend not just talking with close family and friends about the care of your loved one in the event you can no longer take care for them, but to get it in writing and legalized.
As most of you with disabled loved ones know that fighting for their care is difficult in routine circumstances, in an emergency it is not the time to deal with legal red tape.