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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Integrated Living Opportunities (ILO) is a 501c3 certified non-profit that serves individuals with disabilities and their families in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. At ILO, we are committed to building inclusive, integrated, and supported communities in which adults with disabilities can live independently.

Board members, staff, and participating families are also committed to ensuring that ILO is a reliable resource in the special needs community. Founded on community partnerships and networks of support, we pride ourselves on being an organization to which parents and individuals with disabilities can turn to for support, guidance, and information. As such, we publish a bi-weekly blog that covers significant, relevant special needs topics. We also use our blog to let you know about all of the important things ILO is doing, and how we can help your family with special needs realize dreams.

Today, we would like to share with you a few examples of the types of blog posts that we write, on topics such as the special needs mortgage and sibling support. We will also share a post chock full of how-to tips for navigating the process of applying for government benefits.

How is This Mortgage Different from All Other Mortgages?

ILO self-advocates and participating families know that independent living is different for everyone. Some self-advocates choose to rent an apartment, others choose to house share, and some choose to begin the process of purchasing their own home. In this post, Participating Family Member Barbara Goldschmidt discusses the special needs mortgage, a necessary component of independent living for self-advocates that wish to experience home ownership.

Barbara, writing through the lens of personal experience and research, points out that the special needs mortgage is different from the typical mortgage in many ways. As she writes, “As any parent in my shoes knows, the first thing you have to do when figuring out next steps is to find out what the right questions are! The research I’ve done so far has unearthed the questions. What’s next will be options rather than pat answers, because every situation is so unique. It’s all about making informed choices. From my own experience and the experience of ILO parents who’ve made a purchase, unless you have a Ph.D. in this area you will need the help of a knowledgeable professional.”

Barbara spends the rest of the post discussing the questions that she has unearthed, and suggesting possible routes that families can take as they explore their special needs mortgage options. In this comprehensive post, Barbara covers everything from Fannie Mae, to the IRS, to exploring the legalities of home ownership. How is this Mortgage Different from All Other Mortgages? is a great read for anyone considering home ownership for their family member with disabilities – click here to visit the full post.

Sibling Support in Families with Special Needs

As parents of individuals with a disability, we know all too well how challenging and time-consuming it can be to meet the needs of that individual, whether medical, emotional, academic, or financial. It is common for parents to feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and alone. We empathize with these feelings. We can also empathize with how the care of one family member with disabilities can sometimes lead to a lesser share of attention being given to other family members, namely, the siblings of the individual with disabilities.

Sibling Support in Families with Special Needs begins with a list of signs of “sibling stress”, or indicators that your child needs help coping with the challenges of being a sibling to an individual with a disability. For example, avoidance, separation anxiety, and perfectionism are identified as a few of the many signs that your child may need support. Once readers are shown how to recognize the signs of stress, the post then delves into a number of ways in which families can support their children, ensuring that they are coping in a healthy manner with the stress of having a sibling with a disability.

Please follow this link to read Sibling Support in Families with Special Needs in full.

Adult Services for Individuals with Special Needs: Applications, Wait Times, and Tips on how to Navigate the Process

As parents/family members/guardians of individuals with disabilities, many of us has already or will experience the application process (and sometimes excruciating wait times) for obtaining adult supports and services for our family members with special needs.

ILO President, Founder and CEO Maedi Tanham Carney, CFP®, CWIC is an experienced special needs planning professional. As the owner of her own special needs planning company, M&L Special Needs Planning, Carney has had years of experience – both professional and personal – navigating the special needs benefits process. In this blog, we have picked Carney’s brain and provided readers with some valuable (and time saving) information about the application process, wait times, and steps that individuals can take to improve chances of application approval.

If you are interested in learning more about supports and services for individuals with disabilities, including how to effectively navigate this process, please click here to read the post in full.

Would you Like More Information?

Thanks for taking the time to visit our blog today. We hope that you enjoying reading our blog summaries, and encourage you to take a moment to visit each post. We also encourage you to subscribe to our blog – we post bi-weekly, and would love the opportunity to share with you our progress as an organization, and also valuable information relevant to the special needs community.

If you would like to learn more about ILO and the work we do building supported communities for adults with disabilities, please contact us! We would also love to hear from you in regards to any questions, suggestions, or blog topic suggestions that you may have.



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