Articles Posted in Special Needs Planning


Lindsey Runkel playing sled hockey

Now that we are done rooting for the USA teams to do their best in the Olympic Winter Games, we want to shift focus to the Paralympics Winter Games that are about to begin on March 8th, also in PyeongChang.

Let’s give a shout-out to some amazing athletes in our own state – members of the Gaylord Sports Association.

colleen-240x300We are pleased to welcome special needs planning attorney Colleen Masse to our team as a valuable and experienced addition to our Special Needs and Disability Planning Department. Colleen was drawn to focus on helping families navigate special needs trusts because of her own passion for special needs advocacy, a passion that grew out of personal family experience and evolved into an impressive and rewarding career.

Colleen began her legal career at Travelers, but after 9/11 took some time off to be a stay-at-home parent to her two sons. Her deep interest in helping children with disabilities and survivors of child abuse inspired her to become an advocacy trainer. In that role, she coordinated seminars for teachers and parents, helping them better understand and address the challenges faced by children with special needs, students and their caregivers and teachers. She also took on related roles:

  • Joined the board of SpEdConnecticut, a lobbying and advocacy group with a similar focus

By Colleen E. Masse

You did it! You made it to 18 and now your child is an…ADULT?!

Yes, that’s right, your little bundle of joy is all grown up and your work is done, or is it? Here are some things to consider as your child reaches the age of majority.


While there are endless concerns for parents of children with special needs, one of the greatest worries is who will care for them in the future.

With proposed Connecticut State budget cuts to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) totaling millions of dollars, parents need to plan now to ensure quality care throughout the child’s lifetime.

“Generally, the parent of a child with special needs has two goals: to provide or source enough financial security to  maintain the child’s quality of life now and after the parent is no longer here, Continue reading

mosaic-300x240Shelter is one of life’s basic necessities.  Yet simply because something is necessary, does not mean that it is easy to acquire.

Perhaps this sobering truth is best known by aging parents of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), who wonder where their adult child will live, and how he or she will be cared for, when they are no longer around.

Housing for individuals with I/DD is a complex mosaic with pieces uniquely shaped to each person’s particular needs and circumstances.  In crafting this mosaic, there are three key questions that will help to guide you along the way: Continue reading

Heart in woman hands. Love giving, care, health, protection concept

Family members of individuals with intellectual disabilities go to extraordinary lengths to provide their loved ones with proper supports, services, and care.  Establishing guardianship is often a necessary part of protecting the health and safety of individuals with intellectual disabilities.  Yet, while many people are generally familiar with the concept of guardianship, few know what guardianship of an individual with an intellectual disability actually entails. Continue reading

stop waiting time for action act now dont waste time standing in a row for a wait list being impatient

The bleak state of our State is that many individuals with special needs are no strangers to “waiting lists” for vital supports and services in the community. For many, the term waiting list has become synonymous with “good luck and goodbye.”

But for those individuals who have fallen into the dark abyss of waiting, the Department of Justice has released a groundbreaking statement that shines a ray of hope.

The United States Department of Justice issued a powerful Statement of Interest in an Ohio case wherein individuals with disabilities sued the State for placing them on long waiting lists and for failing to provide supports in the community. Continue reading

On July 13th, Congress took another critical step toward furthering the rights of individuals with disabilities. 

Members of a committee within the House of Representatives voted to pass the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act—a bill that would allow individuals with disabilities to establish their own special needs trusts (known as first-party special needs trusts).

We know what you’re thinking—don’t individuals with disabilities already have the right to create their own special needs trusts?

summer fun

If you use a wheelchair, there’s a lot to do in Connecticut, especially during our way-too-short summer. Whether you love the beach or the woods, there are many great venues to sample.

We did some research and selected some special places for you to check out.

Take a Hike

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy lists wheelchair-accessible trails in Connecticut. Here are user-reviewed five star-rated trails:

Continue reading

Amanda Lustig Guest blog, by Amanda Lustig

When I was not quite 40 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and my life was permanently altered. It has taken 15 years of battling – a divorce, unemployment, bankruptcy and foreclosure, not to mention dealing with the advancing disease itself – but today I feel like I have taken back control of my life.

When a disease like MS strikes, particularly for those who experience advanced, crippling symptoms and who – like me – require daily living assistance, life can become a stress-inducing chore.

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