As a parent, it can be very difficult to think about what will happen to your son or daughter with an intellectual or developmental (I/DD) once you are no longer able to provide him or her with support. You might have a plan in your mind. If you do, you should talk to other family members and friends so they can help you build a plan. If you don’t have a plan in mind, you should start to create one. Planning ahead provides peace of mind for you and lays the groundwork for a smooth transition for your son or daughter.
How to Start
- Talk to family members and friends about possibilities. Ask them what role they are willing to play in your son or daughter’s life.
- Write a Letter of Intent. Although not a legal document, it is a good first step in creating a personal roadmap for the future.
- Set realistic expectations. Planning is not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process.
- Connect with a chapter of The Arc for help navigating the state service system and for other support in future planning. Please note that chapters of The Arc vary in size and in the services they provide. If you need further assistance, please contact The Arc’s national office through our online form or by phone at 202-617-3268.
Communication is Key
- Start the family conversation. Talk to your son or daughter about how he or she envisions the future and support needed.
- Talk with other family members about what roles they want to play.
- Don’t assume a family member’s role. Some family members may want to play a larger role than you anticipate. Others may be reluctant to take on the role that you envision for them. Try to listen and respect each person’s wishes.
- Develop support networks outside of the family. Learn how other people approach planning for the future.
Questions to Help Get Started
During the planning process, here are some questions to consider:
- What housing, employment, and daily living options are available in your community?
- Who will support my son or daughter with decision-making (if necessary)?
- What public services or benefits does my son or daughter receive? Are there other public services or benefits available?
- Have you developed a long-term financial plan?
- Which friends and family members are important to my son or daughter?