Chapter 1: Sarah’s Story

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING

How to Create a Special Needs Plan that Allows Your Child to Live a Purposeful, Impactful Life

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Chapter 1: Sarah's Story

Before we really get going with content, I want to quickly share with you some background about me and my family… and why I'm so passionate about Special Needs Planning.


When I was only four years old, my sister, Sarah, was born. I remember that day so clearly when they told me that I was finally a big brother. I had a younger sister who I had been waiting for months to see! I went to the hospital to meet her for the first time and it was everything I’d imagined. I felt so proud. I felt so important. I was her big brother. She was my little sister. It couldn’t have felt more perfect.


However, after Sarah was born, I noticed something seemed different in my Mom and Dad’s demeanor that I’d never seen in the past. They didn’t smile as much. They seemed worried. Looking back, it’s amazing how much a four year old can pick up on…


At the hospital, with newborn Sarah, my parents didn’t get the typical ‘Congratulations on your new baby girl!’ from the doctors. Instead they said, “I’m sorry, but your daughter has Down syndrome,” and then proceeded to give my parents list after list of limited expectations for Sarah’s life.

During those early weeks and months of Sarah’s life, my parents heard things like: “Your daughter may never be able to ride a bicycle. Your daughter may never be in a mainstream class room. Your daughter may never be able to live independently.”


Those were just a few of the long list of limitations that doctors and other professionals gave my parents regarding the abilities that my sister would NOT have.


Have you ever been given similar limited expectations for your child’s life?


Naturally, for my parents, this was discouraging—even heartbreaking. They had so many big expectations for my sister’s life…


Since becoming an adult, my parents have shared with me that those two little words, “I’m sorry…” followed by a long list of limitations, instantly shattered the dreams they had for Sarah and her future.


Luckily for Sarah, my parents didn’t spend much time dwelling on their shattered dreams. While they didn’t know much about Down syndrome at the time – and they realized that life would look very different from what they had imagined for her – they still believed that Sarah could live a full, purposeful life!


One of the limitations that doctors warned my parents about with Sarah was that she might never be able to read. In their exact words, “Most of the time, Individuals with Down syndrome don’t learn to read. You should expect the same.”


However, if those doctors and professionals had followed Sarah’s life and were able to fast forward 30 years into the future… TODAY, they would find Sarah working in preschool and second grade classrooms where one of her many duties is tutoring the young students in reading.


Reading! The exact skill that the doctors had said she would never be able to accomplish herself.


A few years ago, Sarah was working in the second grade classrooms, and there was a student who had fallen so far behind in his reading level that the teacher brought the parents in to discuss her concerns. The school year was only a few months from completion, and being able to read was such an important skill to move one to the third grade. Together, the teacher and parents decided that it would be best to hold the student back in the second grade for another year.


For one reason or another, the teacher paired Sarah with this student one-on-one for the rest of the semester. On a daily basis, he would spend time reading to her. She would read to him. Together they would work through comprehension worksheets.


When the end of the school year arrived, and the entire class’s reading ability was re-tested, to the teacher’s astonishment, the student had completely caught up with the rest of his peers! In fact, he was able to move on to the third grade with the rest of his friends!


On the last day of school, the student walked up to Sarah with a hand-written thank you card and a pad of stickers. He gave my sister a hug and quietly said, “Thank you.”


My mother shared this experience with me and explained how Sarah had been able to make an impact in this student’s life. Sarah listened as my mom recapped the story, and her demeanor visibly changing as my mom spoke. By the end of the story, Sarah was grinning from ear to ear and standing proudly in front of us.


She was so proud of the student! He had worked so hard to accomplish his goals. Sarah had seen the work he had put into improving his reading abilities.


However, I could tell that she was also proud of herself! She was proud that she had been able to impact the life of that child so dramatically.


At that moment, I became aware of what makes all of us feel purposeful: Having the ability to positively impact others’ lives. Being impactful is what gives each and every one of us a strong sense of purpose to our lives.


You and I are not unique in this ability. Sarah is not unique in that ability. Your child is no different. I believe that EVERYONE has the ability to be impactful!


Do you believe that? 


I sure hope you do. If so, keep reading! This guide is definitely for you. 

DON'T HAVE TIME TO
READ THE ENTIRE GUIDE RIGHT NOW?

Not a problem! Let us send you the e-book version so you can download it and read it at your convenience! 

As a BONUS we'll also include the Essential Special Needs Planning Checklist to help you make sure you've planned for everything!

Just tell us where to send your resources: