Special Needs Planning is comprised of four unique components that are intertwined. Each one is important to address in order to have confidence that the comprehensive special needs plan has the greatest potential impact.
In my 5-part blog series, I will briefly discuss each component of a comprehensive Special Needs Plan and help you think through some important aspects in each area of planning.
In this post, part three of my five-part blog series, I will cover the importance of having a Resource Plan for your loved one.
Resource planning helps answer the question of what resources are needed to fulfill the hopes and dreams of your loved one’s Life Plan. If you didn’t get a chance to see the post about creating a Life Plan, I would encourage you to click here.
Because every individual is unique in their abilities, as well as their needs, resource planning will vary between individuals. For some individuals, physical and occupational therapy may be most important. Others might benefit from resources that offer job and social skill training.
Easter Seals is a national organization that has a chapters throughout the country. Their mission is to improve the lives of children and adults with special needs, disabilities or challenges by promoting inclusion, independence and dignity. They offer a variety of resources to help people with disabilities address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals by providing top-quality, family-focused and innovative services tailored to meet the specific needs of individuals.
From a young age, it is important to uncover resources that will allow your loved one to develop the abilities and skills necessary to be successful in their own unique way. However, just like the Life Plan, the Resource Plan is always evolving as the abilities and needs of the individual changes.
Personally, I have seen how a well thought through resource plan has impacted the life of my sister, Sarah. From the moment that my parents received the news that Sarah had Down syndrome, they were diligent in finding the resources necessary to fulfill the hopes and dreams they had for her.
Starting out at a very young age, Sarah participated in speech, occupational, and physical therapy sessions. These resources helped her develop the basic motor and communication skills that were vital to her success in pre-school and elementary school.
Today, Sarah is a 27-year-old young adult. Her needs are much different than when she was a young child. Resource Planning has evolved into other areas that allow her to expand her life, social, and vocational skills.
One resource that Sarah participates in is Music therapy through Bridges Inc. One of the goals of Sarah’s updated Life Plan is to be able to express feelings and emotions in ways that are appropriate and beneficial. Music therapy creates a safe and easy environment for her emotions and feelings to be expressed through music.
Sarah also participates in art therapy through Artful Connections, LLC. The art that Sarah has created has bolstered her self-esteem and confidence. Not only is she proud of what she is able to create, it gives her another avenue of self-expression. Each piece of art she designs, thoughtfully represents an impactful emotion or relationship in her life.
Both of these therapies allow Sarah to gain the confidence, self-expression, and personal interaction skills that she will need to be successful in her future vocations and living environments.
Sarah’s resource plan will continue to evolve as her skill set needs change. By frequently evaluating what areas to focus on and what skills she will benefit from developing, her resource plan will adapt.
The four aspects of special needs planning can seem overwhelming, frustrating, and confusing at times. These feelings can often result in no plan being created. A special needs planning professional will be equipped to ask the right questions to make the planning process easier and more impactful. He/she will be able to guide you through the process and share the needed resources.
Next week I will be discussing the importance of creating a financial plan.