Five things I wish I knew then

The team at Exceptional Lives is out in the community all the time. We’re asking questions and listening to parent feedback, with the goal of making our free online Guides better for parents. One thing we hear often is “I wish I knew [fill in the blank] when I was going through this for the first time.”

Thinking of first-timer parents who may be new to the world of disabilities,

People at a conference table

An IEP, which stands for Individualized Education Program, is an agreement between you and your child’s school. This plan serves as an outline of what services your child needs in order to be successful in school. It’s a road map for your child’s education. As an important part of the team, you help create your child’s IEP with members of the school’s special education staff and your child’s teachers and specialists.

Guardianship icon

 1. Why is Guardianship important?

When a child turns 18 in Massachusetts, parents no longer have the legal right to make decisions for him or her. Yet many children with disabilities need help making decisions after they turn 18. These decisions fall in key areas of life like:

Education
Housing
Health care
Insurance
Safety

This is where guardianship comes in.Guardianship means that another person,

Mass Health

Caring for a child with a disability can get expensive. But having the right kind of health insurance can make a big difference. With so many plans out there, it’s hard to know which is the right plan, or if one plan is enough.

The good news is that you have options. You may think that including your exceptional family member on your family’s private health insurance plan (like the one you get through your job) is your only choice.

Social Security Administration

For parents of children with disabilities, paperwork is a fact of life. You have to send the same information to different people over and over again. For once, wouldn’t it be nice to fill out one application – and get two major benefits?

If you live in Massachusetts, you’re in luck! If you apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and you’re found eligible,

Hillary Dolinsky

Your time is limited! Today’s families juggle jobs, children and often, elderly parents. Caring for a child with a disability is especially time-consuming and stressful. We created Exceptional Lives so that exceptional families can find answers 24 hours a day to some of their most difficult challenges.

Our first free online Guides focus on the following topics:

How to create an effective IEP
How to optimize your health insurance
How to access SSI
How to navigate guardianship

We’ve worked hard to make our Guides as complete as possible.

Paula and here son walking

Welcome to Exceptional Lives. Our goal is to provide helpful services to you and your exceptional family. Raising children is always complicated, and can be even more so when your child has disabilities. We are parents of children with disabilities, and professionals in this field. We understand the stress and frustration often involved in helping children,