Chapter 6: The Life Plan

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 6: The Life Plan

LIFE PLANNING FAQs


WHAT IS LIFE PLANNING?


Life Planning is the second step toward creating a comprehensive Special Needs Plan. You may be familiar with a Letter of Intent and/or Family Narrative. Your Life Plan should include both of those elements, plus additional essential details about your child.


In your Life Plan, you’ll want to record every essential detail of your child’s life, including details about your child’s daily routine, personal preferences, doctors, therapies, and medications, and much more—basically, all of the details about your child’s life that perhaps right now you only know in your head! It’s important to organize your Life Plan document in a way that’s easy to navigate and update.


WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LIFE PLANNING?


The true benefit of creating a Life Plan is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that if something happened where you had to leave your child—for a quick trip or through a permanent transition—that someone else would have all of the necessary information in an organized, easily accessible and updatable document, that would allow them to step in to love and care for your child as seamlessly as possible and carry out the vision for their life that you have planned for.

WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD MY LIFE PLAN INCLUDE?


Your Life Plan should include all of the important information and details about your child and family across the following five areas:


  1. Information About Your Child or Loved One with Special Needs
  2. Health History and Medical Records for Your Child or Loved One with Special Needs
  3. Government Benefit Information for Your Child or Loved One with Special Needs
  4. Information About Your Family
  5. Your Transition Plan


HOW OFTEN SHOULD I UPDATE MY LIFE PLAN?


We highly encourage families to update their loved one’s Life Plan every year as key details are likely to change over time.


HOW DO I LEARN MORE ABOUT SPECIAL NEEDS LIFE PLANNING?

To learn more about Life Planning, check out our blog post Life Planning: If You Won a Weekend Getaway, Would You be Prepared to Leave Your Child with a Family Member?

HOW DOES THE ENABLE LIFE PLAN TOOL WORK?

Like the ENABLE Vision Plan tool, the ENABLE Life Plan tool is fully guided and makes it EASY for families to create a “guidebook about their child” by walking them through interactive questions about their child and their family. Our team has taken the guesswork out of making sure families have recorded every important detail!

After completing the questionnaire, the Life Plan tool auto-creates a fully designed Life Plan PDF describing all of the important details about the family and child with special needs. This document is downloadable and sharable. It is also stored inside the family’s secure, online planning portal. As life events happen and details about their family situation or child change, families can log back into their planning portal accounts and easily edit and update their Life Plan.

The ENABLE Life Plan tool is available at the ENABLE website. Learn more here: https://enablesnp.com/purchase-services/

Let’s Start Planning!

Ok! You’re ready to create a Life Plan for your loved one with special needs. Just follow the steps below to start planning!

  1. Determine who will be involved in creating your child’s Life Plan. While you may have found it helpful to include family and friends as you created you child’s Vision Plan, the Life Plan is something that is best created by the individual(s) who knows your child best. Most likely, that’s you. Your Life Plan will include a lot of important information and key details about your child and family.
  2. Review the following questions…
      What does a typical day in the life of your child look like (including times of day and routines/rituals)?
      Have you recorded names and contact information for all of the important individuals in your child’s life? (e.g., Family members, Friends, Doctors, Therapists, Government Benefit contacts)?
           o  Where is this information stored?
      Have you documented other important information about your child? (e.g., details of your child’s medical health history, details about your child’s daily routines including weekdays and weekends, details about your child’s personality and preferences, details about your child’s dietary needs, medications, and food allergies, details about your child’s religious preferences, recreational activities, and other unique likes/dislikes)
  3. Use the template below to create your Life Plan. Remember to write down everything you can think of that would be important for temporary caregiver now – or a permanent future guardian. It will probably be easiest to create a Word document on your computer where you can easily answer and update your responses as details change.

Module 1: Information About Your Child/Loved One with Special Needs

The first module of your Life Plan should address the following topics:

  • Birth Information
  • Clothing and Shoe Sizes
  • Daily Routine Information
  • Times and Preferences
  • Hygiene Habits
  • Meals and Dietary Requirements
  • Personality Traits
  • Leisure and Recreation

Module 2: Health History and Medical Records for Your Child/Loved One with Special Needs

The second module of your Life Plan should address the following topics:

•Diagnoses
•Physical Abilities
•Allergies and Other Dietary Needs
•Medications
•Devices
•Medical Professionals
•Medical Insurances

Module 3: Government Benefit Information for Your Child/Loved One with Special Needs

The third module of your Life Plan should address the following topics:

•Federal Benefits and Services
•Income Benefits
•Medical Benefits
•Housing Benefits
•State and Private Benefits and Services

Module 4: Information About Your Family

The fourth module of your Life Plan should address the following topics:

•Information about Parent(s)
•Information about Sibling(s)
•Legal Relationships

Module 5: Your Transition Plan

The fifth and final module of your Life Plan should address the following topics:

•In Case of Emergency
•Vision for Your Child’s Life When You’re No Longer Able to Care for Him or Her
•Key Milestones and Major Life Transitions

4.   Save an electronic copy of your Life Plan so that you can easily update it as details change. It can be helpful to save a copy in the Cloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, or other web-based storage location where you can access the details from anywhere.
5.   You may also find it helpful to save a hardcopy of your Life Plan in a home safe, safety deposit box, or other secure location.
6.   Make sure key family members/friends know where your Life Plan is saved – either electronically or a hardcopy – so that they can easily access all of the important details about your child to love and care for them in the future, if you’re ever unable to do so.

To help make sure you’ve thought through everything, we’ve created a BONUS Life Plan checklist for you to use. Download this guide by clicking the yellow "Send me my FREE copy!" button below to receive access to the checklist now.

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: