The First Annual Disability Summit, “Planning Long Term, With Love,” was a full-day conference providing networking and educational opportunities for families who care for loved ones with disabilities. Though this was the first year, the event sold out, with over 200 attendees.
I have friends and colleagues with special needs family members, and am familiar with the particular issues they confront. I know how frustrating it is for them to deal with government agencies and educational institutions. They lose sleep on worrying about who will care for their child in the future. The Summit was designed to provide resources to the families that will help them navigate the legal, medical and social concerns they confront.
The presenters were expert and articulate. The attendees themselves were pretty savvy, too. Many of them spent years navigating bureaucratic programs as they tried to get the best care for their loved ones. The audience was well-prepared and passionate. What touched me was learning many of the presenters, organizers and keynote speakers had special needs children. Some of their kids were young, some were well into middle age. Hearing stories of how their kids were treated 20 or 30 years ago vs. how they are treated today was encouraging. Seeing how much love and commitment these parents have for their special needs relatives was humbling, and inspiring.
Shared Horizons, one of the Summit sponsors, is a trust helping protect benefits and preserve resources of special needs individuals. You can learn about them at https://www.shared-horizons.org/