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Friday, September 21, 2012

Hope, empowerment for parents ...


Editor’s Note: Family Time Magazine is pleased to welcome our new blogger, Greg Zibricky whose 19-year-old son Aaron suffers from autism. Zibricky is the president of Provider Group Wealth Advisors and the author of “F.A.M.I.L.Y. Autism Guide: Your Financial Blueprint.” Zibricky’s blog posts will hopefully be a valuable resource for parents of children with autism and related disorders. Family Time Magazine will host its annual Autism & Special Needs Seminar from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 17 at Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills. The event will feature expert speakers, as well as offer participants the latest research, cutting-edge therapies, strategies for coping and networking opportunities. Zibricky will be one of the many exhibitors on hand at the event to provide a wealth of information about autism and special needs. For more information about the seminar, visit www.familytimemagazine.com or call us at (815) 806-8844. We hope to see you there!
-       
     Rex Robinson
Managing Editor
Family Time Magazine


Greg Zibricky
My Son Aaron

Hope and Empowerment for Families 

of Autistic Children


By Greg Zibricky

As I pen this first blog installment regarding parenting a child with autism I can’t stop thinking about the progress made and the many challenges that lie ahead.

Since my son’s diagnosis 15 years ago the incidence rate for autism has skyrocketed from 1 in 500 to a startling 1 in 88. Awareness has increased as well. National autism organizations, regional not-for-profit organizations and grass root parent groups have worked tirelessly to bring our plight into the mainstream. Films, bestselling books and television shows have featured characters and story lines showcasing the spectrum of developmental disabilities.

Is it really different now?
Is it “better”?

The goal over the next several months is to share ideas, resources and success stories. The focus will be empowerment while pursuing avenues to help our children meet the future with pride and self-respect.

All of us are concerned with our children’s future. Where will they live, work, play and worship? In my financial practice I use an acrostic, F.A.M.I.L.Y., to convey difficult concepts and future planning concerns to assist families navigate money, insurance and legal issues. I’ll share key elements and strategies.
My son has benefited greatly by having a mom who is a nurse, active in the disability community her whole career. Young parents who are dealt the challenges shared by my family have a hard enough time without having a medical of financial background.    

What about unplanned events and spontaneous invitations that look like fun? They are inevitably met with a stern “I don’t want to go”. Social awkwardness and knowing the inside joke won’t be understood can be frustrating. We want our kids to be fully accepted by their peers. But wait a second. That’s on me, my problem! Raise the bar Greg, refuse to accept self-imposed limitations and accept my son for who he is. Many, many times I have repeated that message to myself.
What about the school experience? Dealing with stress, bullies, teachers who don’t “get it”, Individualized Education Plans, Transition issues……….YIKES!

What about high school, college or a specialty school?  Options are emerging at a rapid pace.  We’ll stay tuned in. 

The Affordable Health Care Act, known by many as ObamaCare, gives kids like mine in the autism community access to health care and essential services. Unfortunately this progress may be punted away like a political football. Austerity measures and budget cuts loom, and they always seems to impact the disability community disproportionately.

What are the trends in housing and employment?

Besides personal antidotes I will interview thought leaders in a wide range of disciplines that work towards creating a brighter future through research and discovery. 

My son Aaron will introduce himself and share insight to help other families looking for guidance.

Maybe the rest of the Zibricky’s will want to jump in too!

See you next month. 

Greg Zibricky’s book,“F.A.M.I.L.Y. Autism Guide: Your Financial Blueprint for Autism,” is available at amazon.com. E-mail him at Greg@providergroup.com.