One thing every family of a special needs child knows is that it often takes a village. In other words, the more helpful information you can obtain, from as many sources as necessary, the easier the challenge of raising a special needs child can become. Raising children with autism is no exception. One nonprofit charitable organization known as “TASK” is working in California to provide such assistance.
TASK serves California families with special needs
The mission of TASK is “to enable individuals with disabilities to reach their maximum potential by providing them, their families and the professionals who serve them with training, support, information, resources and referrals, and by providing community awareness programs.” TASK offers various workshops that serve families of children aged birth to 26 years of age under IDEA and other systems mandated to provide services to individuals with disabilities. TASK is a federally-funded Parent Training and Information Center, which provides advocacy, information, workshops and information to these families.
What Is Autism?
Autism is a general term for a group of complex brain development disorders. These disorders are characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. Children with autism suffer these difficulties in varying degrees. While the disorder can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues, some individuals otherwise excel in visual skills, music, math and art.
Where does autism come from?
It is suspected that Autism has its roots in very early brain development. However, the most obvious signs and symptoms of autism are likely to emerge between 2 and 3 years of age. It is believed that early intervention, including behavioral therapies, improves the outcome. As such, Autism Speaks, one of the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organizations, continues to fund research on effective methods for earlier diagnosis.
How Common Is Autism?
Based on statistics reported from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 1 in 68 American children are identified as being on the autism spectrum. That’s ten times the prevalence reported 40 years ago. Studies also tend to show that autism is four to five times more common among boys. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.
Providing a Lifetime of Special Needs Care
With as many as 2.6 million special needs children in our country, the value of a special needs plan cannot be overlooked. Even with the likelihood that these children will need a lifetime of special needs care, after their parents have passed away, very few families have prepared themselves to provide a lifetime of special needs care. Regrettably, some studies show that only about 62% of parents have an appropriate plan in place to care for their special needs child after they can no longer do so. Furthermore, those who have a special needs plan in place, these plans often disqualify the child from government benefits. Your special needs planning lawyer can assist you in putting an effective plan in place.
Life insurance coverage is most often insufficient
The most common way special needs families provide for the anticipated costs of a lifetime of special needs care is through life insurance. Indeed, nearly 85% of parents with a special needs child under the age five, have a life insurance policy in place. But, parents with children ages 13-18, are less likely to have a policy in place. This is bad news, since the cost of care usually increases with age. Most parents are unaware of the fact that they can access the accumulated cash value in certain policies. This would help cover some of the cost of their child’s special needs.
A common mistake in special needs planning
Having a plan is not as beneficial as it could be, if the plan is not established properly. Nearly half of all parents with special needs children believe that leaving the necessary funds directly to their children, or naming their children as the beneficiary, is the best way to plan ahead. However, both of these methods can potentially disqualify their children from useful government benefits.
Latest posts by Scott Schomer, Estate Planning Attorney (see all)
- What Are the Most Important Things I Need to Know About Estate Planning? - March 23, 2019
- What is an Asset Protection Trust? - March 22, 2019
- I’m Young and Healthy. Why do I Need Medi-Cal Planning? - March 21, 2019