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Becoming an adult at age 18 means new freedoms and rights, but it also means new responsibilities. It can be confusing to understand what these changes mean for you. If you are living with your parents or guardians, it is important to talk with them about their expectations of you and for you to share your hopes and concerns.

If you are in high school and receiving special education services, once you turn 18 you will sign educational paperwork instead of your parents or guardians, and you will decide who to invite to your IEP meeting.

There are many laws offering youths and young adults protection and opportunities. Labor laws for minors (those under age 18) make sure that young people are safe on a jobsite by regulating the kinds of jobs and the hours that they can work.

The information below can help you to learn more about your rights.

On Your Own: An Overall Youth Resource on Rights from the Maine Bar Association

The Maine Bar Association offers a resource aimed at high school seniors called "On Your Own" . It talks about new laws that apply to youth when they turn 18. Note: This resource offers legal information but is not legal advice.

The Americans with Disabilities Act

This federal law, signed in 1990 and amended in 2009, provides qualified individuals with disabilities protection from discrimination in employment, housing, education, and service delivery.

The Maine Human Rights Act

This Maine law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment, and goes somewhat beyond what is included in the ADA.

Disclosure of a Disability

You are the one making the decision to disclose a disability to a potential employer. Information regarding your disability should be disclosed only to the people who need the information.

You must give your permission to disclose information before an Employment Provider releases any information. Also, a Provider cannot disclose information that you do not agree to.