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Publication: Dear Abby
Families Of Disabled Children Can Find Help For The Future

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          DEAR ABBY - April 17, 2008 
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FAMILIES OF DISABLED CHILDREN CAN FIND HELP FOR THE FUTURE

ABBY: Please allow me to respond to "No Thanks! Sacramento, 
Calif." (Feb. 7). Having also grown up with a disabled 
sibling, I empathize with her distress and feeling "saddled" 
with an obligation of caring for her younger mentally 
retarded sister.

I recommend she talk to her school counselor, who may be 
able to assist with family counseling. Once her sister turns 
18, she may be eligible for public assistance as well as 
other state programs. Many nonprofit organizations are 
available to assist disabled citizens after their parents 
have passed, so the sole burden does not fall upon the 
sibling's shoulders.

My mother has conservatorship over my brother's medical 
affairs, while a local nonprofit organization oversees his 
financial affairs. When Mother passes, there is a small 
trust fund set aside for him that I will manage. I will 
then becomehis medical conservator. Everything is set up 
in a way that I can care for my brother while maintaining 
a life separate from him. 
-- LISA IN SAN DIEGO

LISA: I was enlightened by the responses that poured in 
offering additional recommendations that may alleviate the 
concerns of both "No Thanks" and her mother. Thank you for 
sharing yours. Read on:


ABBY: I am a senior support coordinator (futures and estate 
planning) with The Arc of Frederick County, Md. The concerns 
"No Thanks" has about being completely responsible for her 
sister's care are frequently expressed by siblings of
children with disabilities. Fortunately, there are many 
possibilities for her family that would allow the best of 
both worlds.

Thank you for printing the letter from this young lady, 
Abby. She echoes the concerns of siblings around the world, 
and there IS an answer. 
-- KARLA IN FREDERICK, MD.

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ABBY: As the mother and sister of special-needs people, I 
understand both "NT's" and her mother's points of view. You 
recommend a "group living situation" for her sister, but 
unfortunately there aren't nearly enough group homes to meet 
the large (and growing) demand for them. "Becky" should get 
on a housing wait list as soon as possible.

Her parents should contact the special-ed department at the 
local high school. The department is aware of organizations 
that can help with Becky's needs. Also, the parents should 
make financial arrangements for Becky's future. My parents 
did these things for my brother, and I am very grateful. 
-- SEES BOTH SIDES IN COLUMBIA, MD.


ABBY: I am mom to a 15-year-old son with autism, bipolar 
disorder and mental retardation. I also have a daughter 
who is 12.

One day, when my daughter was only 8, we explained that
most adults move out of their parents' home and into a 
place of their own. I explained that eventually her brother 
would be moving into a group home with others like him.

My daughter said: "I love my brother, but I don't think I 
want him to live with me when we grow up. Is it OK if I
visit him and make sure he has the things that make him 
happy? He could come to my house for holidays and birthdays."

Perhaps, if "No Thanks" shows this to her mother, they can 
both see the compromise and have a little peace of mind. 
-- BEEN THERE IN OREGON







ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 
____________________________________________________________

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