Abstract

A discussion of adulthood in general and that of individuals with severe cognitive impairments was presented. The meaning of adulthood in our culture raises issues regarding the disparity between status as an adult and status as a person with a severe cognitive impairment. An examination of the traditional roles, rites, and rituals of adulthood (e.g., voting, marriage, consensual sex, and moving out of the family home) was provided. Personal deliberations on how the first author intends to assist her daughter in accessing these markers of adulthood are included. Our overall goal in this article is to promote discussion regarding adulthood and significant disabilities and to encourage additional movement toward full societal membership of adults with severe cognitive impairments.

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