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How Can a Conservatorship Help an Autistic Person?

12/13/2022 | Conservatorship
How Can A Conservatorship Help An Autistic Person

According to, “[a]utism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.” Some individuals who have ASD are considered high-functioning and, therefore, more capable of caring for themselves and their affairs. However, others have challenges that interfere with their everyday decision-making and routine self-care. When a person has substantially disabling ASD and requires additional support, a California conservatorship can be a critical resource. Here is how a conservatorship can help an autistic person:

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), ASD is estimated to impact 1 in 54 children in the United States. In 2014, California Department of Developmental Services statistics revealed that “substantially disabling” autism cases had increased from 3,262 in 1989 to more than 73,000 in the state. As the name suggests, ASD includes a range of functioning. Therefore, not every person with this condition will need a conservator. However, for those that require assistance, having a conservatorship can be essential to meeting their needs.

What is a Conservatorship?

A conservatorship is a legal relationship that allows an adult to make decisions for another adult about their physical care or financial interests. When someone is appointed conservator of the person, they can decide where another person lives. The conservator can also make decisions about the individual’s medical care and will assume responsibility for making sure that they are adequately clothed and fed. A conservator of the estate will have decision-making authority for the individual’s finances and be responsible for protecting their financial interests.

General and Limited Conservatorships

Depending on the degree of the individual’s symptoms, someone with autism may require a general or limited conservatorship.

General Conservatorships

  • A general conservatorship is commonly used when a person’s mental capacity has become severely impaired due to aging, illness, or injury.
  • If someone cannot manage most aspects of their daily living, a general conservatorship will be more appropriate than a limited conservatorship.
  • This type of conservatorship will allow the conservator to make a broader range of decisions for the conservatee.

Limited Conservatorships

  • A limited conservatorship is generally used for individuals who require some adult care and supervision, but not as much as those under a general conservatorship.
  • A limited conservatorship focuses on giving the person as much autonomy as possible while also providing for their necessary support or care.
  • This type of conservatorship will only grant the conservator the power to do what is included in the court’s order.

A conservator is usually a family member or friend. This person will usually have the authority to decide where the conservatee will live. They may also have the power to manage their finances, examine their health records, sign contracts on their behalf, consent to medical treatment, and make decisions about marriage and relationships for them.

Making certain that the right person is in place to assist in making choices on behalf of your loved one with autism is vital. It’s also crucial to plan and consider the options before the appointment process begins. By working with an experienced California conservatorship attorney, you can examine the situation and determine what is best for you and your loved one.

Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we are personally invested in every conservatorship law case. We can help you evaluate your circumstances and determine the best solutions for you and your family. Please contact us online or by phone to schedule an appointment today.