You might be thinking – how do I help my brother or sister with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) plan for the future? Where do we start?
Developing a future plan can be challenging for many families. It is important that families have honest conversations about what is involved in supporting the family member with I/DD and what role(s) other family members are able and willing to play, as well as what role the person with I/DD wants them to play.
The Arc’s Center for Future Planning was established to support and encourage adults with I/DD and their families to plan for the future. The Center provides reliable information and practical assistance to families and individuals with I/DD on areas such as person-centered planning, decision-making, housing options, financial planning, employment and daily activities, and making social connections. The Center also offers webinars to families, staff at chapters of The Arc, and other professionals who support people with I/DD to help them learn how to assist families in the future planning process.
The Arc recognizes that siblings play an important role and typically have the longest relationship of their lives with each other. To prepare for a possible role supporting your sibling, you may need to learn more about your sibling. You should understand the history of services your sibling has received, your sibling’s support needs, and all family members’ wishes for the future. This information will help you become a better advocate, and it can also provide some peace of mind as decisions are made in the future.
The Center offers resources that siblings might find helpful as they engage in future planning discussions and prepare for caregiving roles:
- Sibling Tip Sheet – A sibling resource on getting the discussion started.
- SibTips Webinar – Understanding the Alphabet Soup of Future Planning:
-Join the Center for Future Planning and the Sibling Leadership Network for a webinar sharing practical tips that siblings need to support their brother or sister with I/DD as they plan for the future. As siblings play a larger role in the lives of their brothers or sisters with I/DD, they often times are confused by the new set of terms and acronyms they to learn to navigate the service system. This webinar will be hosted on Tuesday, August 11 from 2 -3 pm EST and will provide information about public benefits and the service system. To register, please visit https://thearc.webex.com/thearc/k2/j.php?MTID=tf8501d917d689b3bdb3c65b34f81eb55.
- Website Updates – Later this year, the Center is planning to launch additional features to the website. The Professional Services Directory will enable families to identify professionals in their communities who can help them create and implement future plans. The second feature, “Build Our Plan,” is a customized tool that will allow families to create accounts and begin to develop their plans within the Center.
Planning can be difficult, but it’s possible and necessary. For more information about the Center’s resources and webinars, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at futureplanning.thearc.org.
The above article is a submission written by The Arc as a Super Sib sponsor of the 2015 National SLN Conference.