My son has been found to be an incapacitated person according to law in the Superior court of the State of Washington. This was recommended by a court appointed guardian ad litem.
By definition of his disability and his functional abilities, my son is not able to make safe choices and by court order is unable to make those choices. He is unable to vote.
Why, when the court recognizes that my son, and many with similar issues, is incapacitated are there “advocates” saying that he has the right to choose? In my opinion they are telling me that my son is worthless and not important. The are advocating for negligence. They have no clue what his functional level is and their total disregard for his quality of life, his worth as a person are ignored. My son and others deserve human dignity and respect just like everyone else. He deserves safe, quality care. He deserves the right to be free from harm. The Superior Court has recognized this fact and the fact that he is unable to make these choices himself and to keep himself safe. These are the choices that I make for him because he is unable to make those choices himself. Certainly, those who have no idea what his experience is can make these decisions better than I can or better than those who know him can.
The court realized that my son and others are unable to make safe decisions and the court has taken steps to ensure there is a person who will make those decisions on behalf of those who are, by definition of their very disability, have a less developed capacity for abstract thinking and less developed level of verbal and linguistic capabilities. This makes them dependent on their parents/guardians to represent them.(Anna Barelds, 2009)
To assume he is suddenly able to make choices which may affect his safety is negligence.
My goal is to keep my son safe and healthy. My son has no clue about how to keep healthy and if he did he doses not have the functional ability to manage his basic safety. Why are there people telling me and policy makers that people like my son are now miraculously able to make their own choices and to live independently? My son and many others live in supportive communities – communities which are safe and offer stable, quality and sustainable care.
“It is the intent of the legislature to protect the liberty and autonomy of all people of this state and to enable them to exercise their rights under the law to the maximum extent, consistent with the capacity of each person. The legislature recognizes that people with incapacities have unique abilities and needs, and that some people with incapacities cannot exercise their rights or provide for their basic needs without the help of a guardian. However, their liberty and autonomy should be restricted through the guardianship process only to the minimum extent necessary to adequately provide for their own health or safety, or to adequately manage their financial affairs.” RCW 11.88.005. (Washington State Superior Court Guardianship Forms)
NOTICE OF LOSS OF VOTING RIGHTS
(Proposed SCOMIS Code: NTLVR)
“On _____________________, this matter came before the court. Pursuant to Laws of
Washington RCW 11.88.010, it has been determined that the individual named in this
notice lacks the capacity to understand the nature and effect of voting such that she or
he cannot make an individual choice and should not retain the right to vote.
Accordingly, the court has appointed a guardian and has revoked the right to vote.”
(Washington State Superior Court Guardianship Forms)
Anna Barelds, I. v. (2009). Quality of care and service trajectories for people with intellecftual disabilities: defining the aspects of quality from the client’s perspective. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 24, 164-174.