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Long-Term Planning for Your Child With Autism

December 19, 2023

For parents with a child on the spectrum, any future consideration may feel overwhelming. However, the comfort of knowing your child’s future is secure is worth it.

Long-Term Planning for Your Child With Autism https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/long-term-autism-planning/

Parents hope and dream that their child with autism will progress, grow, and become an independent adult. Because of this, it is not uncommon for some to avoid the topic of long-term planning. Although I understand such hesitancy, I want to encourage parents to take action now to prepare for your child’s future.

A friend of mine, who has a son with severe autism, told me that she has learned to always hope for the best but plan for the worst. Your first impression of her attitude might be that she doesn’t have hope for her child’s future, but that is not the case. This mother has been stronger and more courageous than she ever dreamed possible. She has made difficult decisions for the well-being of her child.

I have watched, year after year, as she consistently advocated for her child and tried numerous therapies to help him reach his full potential. She’s planned for his future in the event of unforeseen circumstances leaving him without parental care.This is loving and wise planning. It is what parents with children who have autism need to do.

I encourage you to meet with an attorney who specializes in special needs issues and discuss the legal aspects of providing for your child long-term. It is important to take these steps sooner rather than later, regardless of your age. 

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If you are a young parent, you may want to consider life insurance coverage, since it can be relatively inexpensive. Your attorney will be able to give you professional guidance about setting up a special needs trust. Grandparents may also be interested in this option. As the grandmother of a young teen who was diagnosed with autism at age three, I have made sure to set up a special needs trust for his future.  

Some parents of special needs children avoid this type of planning because it is too painful for them to deal with the possibility that their child might need long-term assistance. But this is taking unnecessary risks with your child’s future. I encourage you to take a deep breath of courage as you lovingly work through these details. It will give you peace of mind to know that you have done everything in your power to make provisions for your child’s future.  

Three questions to ask yourself

In closing, I would like to leave you with three questions you can ask yourself right now to overcome any hesitancy you may be experiencing regarding this issue: 

  1. What specific steps have I taken to secure my child’s financial future?
  2. What feelings or attitudes are hindering me from beginning the process of long-term planning for my child?
  3. What are the benefits of taking action right now to plan for my child’s future?

This article was featured in Issue 127 – Nonverbal Communication

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