Legal Rights for Students with Disabilities Turning 18
The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and its implementing regulations (Code of Federal Regulations) include guidelines for informing students with disabilities of their legal rights as adults when they reach the age of majority. (See "Legal Guide for New Adults Turning 18" in the A-Z Library for an overview of Florida adult rights and responsibilities.)
A Florida Department of Education Memorandum dated April 1, 2005, provides guidance to school districts on the transfer of rights at the age of majority. It is based on Section 300.517 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Rule 6A-6.03311 of the Florida Administrative Code, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and Sections 393.12, 743.07, and 744 of the Florida Statutes.
An outline of the key points of the Memorandum follows:
The full memorandum, including a sample form for the notice of transfer of rights may be downloaded at http://www.project10.info/files/AgeofMajorityMemo05-35_1_.pdf.
Some students with disabilities may need assistance with making adult decisions. Florida law provides a number of decision-making options including banking services, power of attorney, representative payee, advance directives, medical proxy, trust, guardian advocacy, and guardianship (Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, 2010, p. 19). See the resources section below for more information.
Guardian Advocate Information and Forms
This webpage from Florida’s Ninth Circuit Court (for Orange and Osceola counties) contains information and forms for obtaining legal guardianship for a person with a developmental disability (intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, autism, spina bifida, or Prader-Willi syndrome) who “lacks the decision-making ability to make necessary decisions relating to daily life.” The guardianship process should be similar in other counties.
Lighting the Way to Guardianship and Other Decision-Making Alternatives: A Manual for Individuals and Families
This manual was jointly developed by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Guardian Pooled Trust, Office of Public Guardian, Inc., Statewide Public Guardianship Office, and the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc., to increase the knowledge of individuals with disabilities and their families about decision-making options available in Florida.
Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Inc. (2010). Lighting the way to guardianship and other decision-making alternatives: A manual for individuals and families. Tallahassee, FL: Author. Available at http://www.fddc.org/sites/default/files/file/publications/Guardianship%20Family%20Manual.pdf
Lockman, B.J. (2005, April 1). Transfer of rights – Age of majority. (Memorandum). Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of Education. Available at http://www.project10.info/files/AgeofMajorityMemo05-35_1_.pdf
| The development of this website was funded by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
through a grant by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services,
Florida Department of Education (2010 - 2011, 291-2621A-1C008).