Rights, entitlements and advocacy

Making decisions as an adult

As an adult, you can legally make your own decisions. As a child, your parents played a role in your healthcare. After you turn 18, you have overall responsibility for making decisions. You can choose if you want your parents to attend appointments with you. Your parents or other people who support you will not have access to your health information without your consent. This might be daunting for some people, which is why it’s important to prepare for it. Some people also look forward to it because you become more independent and can make your own choices.

Although you will be responsible for managing your healthcare, you don’t have to do this alone even as an adult. Parents, other family, friends, and others who help you make decisions about your health now can still help you as an adult. There may also be other people you want to ask for help at different stages in your life. Additionally, groups like the National Advocacy Service offer free and confidential advocacy services for adults with disabilities aged 18 and over.

Some young people may need ongoing support and help with making decisions as adults. There are a range of supports to help people make decisions when they turn 18, like having a family member, advocate or close friend you trust help you understand the choices available to you and support you to make decisions. It may be helpful to start planning how you would like to be supported to make decisions with your parents or guardians and health professionals. You can find out more on the Decision Support Service website.