Last year, I sat next to an older man on a plane. We kept to ourselves for most of the flight, but as we started to make our descent, we picked up easy conversation. It was my first time to Louisiana and I was curious and excited to see a different part of the country. He had been many times before and was returning for a few months. We learned that we had both spent time in the Northeast and we talked of children (mine young, his adult.) I talked about my work and what I love and he did the same. Heading toward the runway, I stared into the Mighty Mississippi and thought about how we are all walking in different shoes, with different experiences and different goals, but sometimes it feels like we’re looking for the same thing.
We are all trying to navigate our way in the world to create the best life for ourselves and our children. But we don’t always know what’s out there to help us.
In my world, as a parent of a child with developmental disabilities, I’m on a quest for information and support. Those are two different things and I want them both. I want someone to say to me “this is what you need” but I want them to do it while they hold my hand and tell me that I’m not alone. (And maybe every now and then let me know that I’m doing a good job). I know I’m not the only one looking for information and support. I see it on my social media groups, I hear it on the sidelines, at the coffee shops, in focus groups and posted on the chatboards. Social media and other online platforms have helped us to acknowledge and listen to the voices of the parents and individuals walking this walk. These are the voices that will lead us.
What is Exceptional Lives and how can we help?
We all have different stories and experiences but we are brought together by a common desire to be informed and supported. At Exceptional Lives, we want to help inform and support. We are parents and we are professionals drawing upon our own experiences and listening to yours. We love and care for individuals with developmental disabilities in our lives and we have a passion for supporting one another in our joint effort to connect families with resources and supports. All of us have had questions at different points in our journey: “What is Early Intervention and do I qualify?”, “How do I optimize my health insurance?” or “Do I qualify for SSI?”. Some of us were given a diagnosis and a recommendation to simply “buy a book” and some of us relied on friends to hold our hand and show us the way. For some, we learned about a disability at birth and some later in development. No matter where you are in your journey, launch a Guide today and you may just learn something new!