ElderLaw News — The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. — MD, VA, DC
ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Autism – The Invisible Disability

Some might call autism the invisible disability. It's invisible because, with a casual glance, many of the people with autism look like anyone else.

It's only when interacting with the person with autism that one notices that they have trouble making eye contact, answering in complete sentences, or following simple directions. Complicating matters is the fact that not all people with autism are severely impaired. Some have only mild impairments, affecting social skills in a minor way. Their intellect is unaffected, and they can pursue any job or career that they desire. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in March 2012, that based on a 2008 study, 1 in 88 children in the US have some form of autism spectrum disorder. This represents a 78 % increase since 2002 numbers. (Elizabeth Simpson, "Ready or Not," The Virginian Pilot, 7-8-12) Why the increase? Most probably it is due to better understanding and diagnosis of the disorder.

So what are the implications for independent, adult functioning? With autism no broad generalities can be made. However, it can be said that for a significant number of adults with autism, there will be a need for continued monitoring and support throughout their adult life. This means that they will need supervised living situations (Availability varies from state to state. Many live at home.), coaching for employment, and assistance with tasks of daily living, such as bill-paying, etc. For example, the young man from Virginia Beach, VA featured in the July 8, 2012 Virginian-Pilot article, had graduated from high school with a special education diploma. This is not an academic diploma, so his post-secondary school options would be more limited than someone graduating with a standard or advanced studies diploma.

He had made tremendous progress over his school career, but he still had to be prompted to answer in more than a 2-3 word-response to questions. He has only just begun to be aware of social cues, and complimenting his mother on her cooking was a real milestone for him, his mother said.

In order to plan for an adult who cannot function independently, his parents/guardians may want to consult a certified elder law attorney who has experience with special needs trusts. The certified elder law attorney can suggest ways to protect family assets, while still providing for the care of the adult with disabilities throughout his/her lifetime. The attorneys at the The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm are specialists in this area.

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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

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