Who's in Charge: Decision-making Options for Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

Who's in Charge: Decision-making Options for Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

Archived Recording
In order to view the webinar presentation, please click on the webinar icon below.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013- Wednesday, April 17, 2013
2:00 pm EST - 3:00 PM EST

Webinar Objectives:

This webinar was one of a series of webinars developed by LEND and UCEDD programs within the Southeast Regional Consortium.  The objectives of this webinar were:


  • Provide an overview of adult guardianship by explaining the legal process for appointment of a guardian
  •  Describe forms of decision-making support that may be used to enhance or take the place of guardianship
  •  Describe best practices for preserving and promoting autonomy of the individual who needs decision-making support

Webinar Description:

For young adults with an intellectual disability, the transition to adulthood brings many challenges. In our society, an 18 year old is presumed to be capable of making decisions for him/herself. However, individuals with an intellectual disability may require assistance. The instrument for providing the assistance may take the form of a plenary or limited guardianship, an advance directive for healthcare, a financial power of attorney, a representative payee, or a special needs trust. The instrument should be narrowly tailored to meet the needs of the individual and should not restrict any more rights than absolutely necessary.

The webinar provided an overview of adult guardianships, including the functional purpose of guardianship and the legal standard for appointment of a guardian. The webinar described factors to consider when deciding whether to pursue full guardianship or whether to use a less restrictive alternative. Finally, and most importantly, we discussed the importance of preserving and promoting maximum independence in all cases.


Tina Sarkar, J.D.

Tina Sarkar, J.D., received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Duke University. Prior to attending law school, Tina taught English as a Second Language in Funabashi, Japan. After receiving her law degree from the University of Georgia, she clerked for a superior court judge and spent several years in private practice. More recently, Tina served as senior staff attorney for the Health Law Partnership (HeLP), an interdisciplinary collaboration among Atlanta Legal Aid, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and Georgia State University College of Law. Tina represented low-income patients and their families in legal matters that related to the children's health and well-being. Her expertise included handling children's SSI cases at the hearing level and appealing Medicaid/CMO denials of medically necessary treatment. On the topic of guardianship, Tina advised families who were interested in learning when to pursue guardianship or guardianship alternatives. Tina provided training and support to lawyers who volunteered to take guardianship matters on a pro bono basis. Tina also provided education to healthcare professionals regarding their role in this process.