“My sister helped shape the trajectory of my life!”
Phillip Clark adores his sister, Sarah.
“I was 4-years-old when she was born, and I knew she was different then. From a young age, I knew I would always protect her.”
Clark kept his promise. He even created a career path centered around Sarah and other individuals with disabilities.
Clark owns ENABLE Special Needs Planning, LLC, and works with families daily to get their financial, life, resource, and legal plans in order for their child with a disability.
“We often talked about future planning in our family. When I was going away to college, my parents sat me down and explained how they prepared for Sarah’s future. They said she would live with one of my cousins if my parents both passed on. I told them ‘absolutely not! Sarah and Grace (the youngest, typical sister) would live with me’.”
When Sarah was born 28-years-ago, doctors told her parents she would
never learn to read, among many other limitations. However, today, Sarah works as a second grade teacher’s aide, tutoring students in reading.
Clark credits Sarah’s success to his parent’s diligent planning early on. “They always focused on her abilities, and they always included my typical sister, Grace, and I in the decision-making process.”
In his professional experience, Clark has found that parents who didn’t plan are struggling as their child ages.
“Some of these parents are in their 60s, and their adult child is in their 40s. Many didn’t plan, and now there’s not much help for them. Most end up in government run day programs, because the parents can no longer care for them at home.”
His advice, start early and think abundantly about your child’s future. Include your typical children as early as possible in the future decision-making plans.
Clark is optimistic about the opportunities that individuals with special needs and their families currently have. He believes these opportunities will continue to grow as awareness continues to get stronger.
“The generation before Sarah was often institutionalized because people didn’t realize the profound impact that individuals with special needs could have on their families, communities, and businesses. Sarah’s generation was the first to widely stay at home with their parents; but the awareness and opportunities weren’t yet there for them to be fully included in all aspects of life. The next generation will have countless opportunities for inclusion, and parents need to be prepared for this new reality.”
Clarks says it’s not enough to plan financially.
His personal journey allows him to understand the difference in planning special needs families face, compared to typical families. He explains that every aspect of your family’s life and child’s life must be carefully considered.
It is important to plan financially, but equally important to create a Life Plan and a Resource Plan. He says you must make a Life Plan for your child that gives him or her every opportunity to live a purposeful, impactful life.
As for Sarah, Clark says she is busy leading a fulfilling and purpose-filled life, but he’s prepared to help her when she needs him.
Clark is a Special Needs Planning consultant licensed to serve families in every state. He provides Life, Resource, and Financial consulting services and referrals for Legal Planning. He also created a database of resources for special needs planning. See what services Clark can provide your family here.
Inclusion Evolution and it’s author did not received any services from Clark or Enable Special Needs Planning.