Anne Marcus
December 14, 2022

A letter from Anne Punzak Marcus, Co-Founder and CEO of Exceptional Lives

2022 marked a return to normal for many, but families of children with disabilities still face obstacles. Exceptional Lives is here for you.

Dear Friends,

For many, 2022 marked what felt like the beginning of a return to “normal.”  COVID vaccines and treatment have meant that many of us got to travel, eat in restaurants, see friends, and go to in-person events.

But for those of us caring for children with disabilities, pandemic-induced challenges are still front and center.

During the last two years, children with disabilities were disproportionately affected by learning loss and intervention delays

Special education students lost a whole lot of ground during remote learning – and have yet to make it up.

48 states reported a shortage of special education teachers this year. 

For parents and caregivers, identifying and resourcing appropriate support was a dizzying maze before the pandemic.  And now our children with disabilities are farther behind their peers, with fewer specialists to support them.  Caregivers themselves are struggling under the weight of inflation, supply shortages, and other hard trade-offs.

Exceptional Lives is proud of what we did over the last year to support families of children with disabilities.

Here are a few highlights:

Our powerhouse speakers covered topics ranging from managing discriminating practices in diagnosis and services to building community and addressing mental health for children with disabilities.

Over the next year, we have some big goals. We plan to:

  • Build and launch a new website with more intuitive navigation, more content in Spanish, and an overall improved user experience.

  • Expand our work into one new state by providing location-specific tools, resources, and supports to families, providers, and school systems

  • Update and expand our comprehensive guides that walk parents step-by step through topics like “What to do if you think your child might be different,” how to apply to SSI for a child with a disability, and navigating the transition to adult life for teens with disabilities.

We need your support to keep moving forward. Here’s how you can help:

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Tell us your story – what you and your child have learned can help other families.

From all of us at Exceptional Lives, please accept our best wishes for a healthy, safe, and peaceful 2023.

  • Anne Punzak Marcus

    Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

    Anne Punzak Marcus has over ten years of experience working with organizations focused on brain disorders, education, and health. She was a co-founder of the Autism Consortium and previously worked for Fidelity Investments as a portfolio manager and research director. Anne was a 2012 and 2013 Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellow. She earned her MBA from the Wharton School after receiving her BS from Boston College.

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