Community: The most important resource for families with special needs

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Here at M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC, we fully understand the importance of community. As parents and professionals in the special needs world, we have spent many, many years forming connections, creating friendships and building relationships with other parents, medical professionals, and special needs advocacy & support organizations. From a parent’s perspective, we recognize that our special needs journey would have much, much harder without these networks of support. As professionals, we recognize these connections are incredible resources for parents to draw on – it is through these networks that parents will find friendship, moral support, and information that they can use to help their own families with special needs.

Because we realize how important community is, we have added a section to our website called Special Needs Resources. This section acts primarily as a source of information for parents of children with disability, but it also serves another purpose: to facilitate community. It is our hope that parents reaching out for help with their special needs journey will find support and community through M&L. We would love it if people that came to our website seeking answers would leave with these answers, but also with leads to follow for further support and advice, whether that is with M&L or another organization.

Recently an organization in Florida, Cerebral Palsy Guide, came across our Resource section and asked if they could be included among our resources. We were delighted to oblige! In fact, we would like to take that request one step further and feature a write up on this incredible organization, because we feel that creating community starts with the sharing of information. So, please join us!

Cerebral Palsy Guide

Cerebral Palsy Guide is a website that is intended to give parents of children with cerebral palsy simple, straightforward information about cerebral palsy and its treatment, as well as to help families connect with medical and legal professionals. Designed specifically with parents of children newly diagnosed with CP in mind, the website strives to offer “peace, healing, and happiness.”

Among the many, many resources you will find on this site is a comprehensive guide to cerebral palsy, including information on the different types of the disorder, the symptoms, and diagnosis. The site also includes a plethora of information on the different treatment options available to individuals with cerebral palsy, and information on how to connect with medical and legal advice.

The most important feature of this website, in my opinion, can be found in large white letters on the right of the website: Help Me Find Support. This link will take you to a separate page complete with tips for parents and caregivers of children with cerebral palsy and information on different support and advocacy groups that help individuals with this condition and their families. And, just in case you want to speak to someone right now, along the top right hand side of their website is a toll free number where you can find additional information and support.
All in all, this website is an excellent guide for individuals that have children, relatives or friends living with cerebral palsy. We suggest that you share this site with your network, in the hopes that the information and support found in the guide will reach someone in need of it.

Integrated Living Opportunities: Building Communities

As we stated above, at M&L we feel very strongly about community. In fact, we think that community is so important for families with special needs that we are creating a non-profit for the sole purpose of facilitating community and networks of support: Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO). This non-profit, 501c3 certified, was created by M&L founder/owner Maedi Tanham Carney CFP® CWIC and a group of core founding families. ILO’s objective is to bring together family groups and help these groups work together to establish integrated, sustainable, and inclusive communities. We intend to accomplish this through building community partnerships, and through the formation and facilitation of networks of support.

ILO will offer a number of services, including the facilitation of Center for Independent Futures New Futures Initiative™ training (a training program that teaches individuals and groups how to create community based special needs housing in their own neighborhoods) but above all, its purpose to is bring together families with special needs that seek to support each other with the goal of creating full lives for their family members with disabilities in integrated and inclusive community settings.

For more information on ILO, please click here to access our blog archive on the topic. If you would like to join ILO and begin creating your own community and network of support, please contact us!

Would You Like More Information?

Thank you for taking the time to drop by our blog today! We hope that the Cerebral Palsy Guide reaches the eyes and ears of a family that is looking for information, guidance and/or support.

If you are a part of an organization that would like to be included in our resource section, please let us know! Also, we are always looking for blog topics that are informative and interesting; if you would like your organization featured please contact For more information on special needs planning in general, please take a moment to browse through our services section, and contact us with any questions you may have. We are here to help, and we love to meet new people!

Have a great day everyone, see you all next week!


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