• Lauren A. Merritt, P.A.

Guardian Advocacy: Who is Developmentally Disabled?

Updated: Oct 6

A person must be “developmentally disabled” to qualify for Florida’s Guardian Advocacy proceeding. Florida’s Guardian Advocacy proceeding is a streamlined guardianship process in Florida that allows a court to appoint a guardian advocate or co-guardian advocates for a person 17 1/2 years old or older with developmental disabilities without having to declare the person “incapacitated.” Instead, the focus is on the person's "decision-making ability."


Florida law defines who has a “developmentally disability” for purposes of a Guardian Advocacy proceeding.

Under Florida Statute §393.063(12), a developmental disability means a disorder or syndrome that is attributable to:

a) An Intellectual Disability (IQ less than 70);

b) Cerebral Palsy;

c) Autism;

d) Spina Bifida;

e) Downs Syndrome;

f) Phelan-McDermid syndrome; or

g) Prader-Willi syndrome.

The disability must manifest before the age of 18 and must constitute a substantial handicap that can reasonably be expected to continue indefinitely.


To learn more about Guardian Advocacy, CLICK to download our free GUARDIAN ADVOCACY REPORT: How to Support Your Special Needs Child Without Losing the Right to Make Medical, Educational, Financial, or Legal Decisions.


If you have questions about Guardian Advocacy, give me a call at (850) 741-2999 or email me at lauren@laurenmerrittlaw.com.


Lauren A. Merritt, P.A.

111 S. De Villiers Street, Ste. B

Pensacola, FL 32502

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