100 episodes

Parenting: Impossible – The Special Needs Survival Podcast is a podcast dedicated to giving compassionate advice for all stages of life. Our conversations revolve around the entire special needs community including those with autism, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health issues and more.

Parents and experts (and sometimes parents who are experts!) discuss a whole host of issues facing the special needs community including raising children with different abilities, transitioning into adulthood, sibling challenges and how to effectively navigate the complex systems in our world.

We offer inspiration, support, expertise and a wide range of discussions that will help you survive and thrive as you support your loved one with special needs. Imagine yourself having coffee with a friend and discussing all the important challenges in your life – but your best friend is an expert!

Hosted by Attorney Annette Hines, special needs mom, author of the best-selling book Butterflies and Second Chances, national expert speaker, writer and contributor to publications, and founder of the Special Needs Law Group based In Massachusetts, Annette has regular guests that include experts in the field of special needs, siblings that offer stories and survival tips with a positive message.

Parenting Impossible – The Special Needs Survival Podcast Annette Hines

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.9 • 32 Ratings

Parenting: Impossible – The Special Needs Survival Podcast is a podcast dedicated to giving compassionate advice for all stages of life. Our conversations revolve around the entire special needs community including those with autism, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health issues and more.

Parents and experts (and sometimes parents who are experts!) discuss a whole host of issues facing the special needs community including raising children with different abilities, transitioning into adulthood, sibling challenges and how to effectively navigate the complex systems in our world.

We offer inspiration, support, expertise and a wide range of discussions that will help you survive and thrive as you support your loved one with special needs. Imagine yourself having coffee with a friend and discussing all the important challenges in your life – but your best friend is an expert!

Hosted by Attorney Annette Hines, special needs mom, author of the best-selling book Butterflies and Second Chances, national expert speaker, writer and contributor to publications, and founder of the Special Needs Law Group based In Massachusetts, Annette has regular guests that include experts in the field of special needs, siblings that offer stories and survival tips with a positive message.

    Spotlight Series: A Focus on Education with Mary Sokolowski, Ph.D.

    Spotlight Series: A Focus on Education with Mary Sokolowski, Ph.D.

    We are thrilled to bring you our first episode in our spotlight series A Focus on Education with an interview with the dynamic advocate and supporter, Mary Sokolowski, Ph.D. from College Internship Program (CIP).  The College Internship Program (CIP) is a private young adult transition program for individuals 18-26 with autism, ADHD, and other learning differences offering comprehensive and specialized services.   
    Mary helps us kick off this series with a conversation about what people with learning challenges can and should have the opportunity to achieve. We talk about the article that Mary wrote a few years ago which is what prompted us to invite her to be on the show.  
    Please join us as we head down this path of transition, college and beyond for people with disabilities. Mary gives some great takeaways and ideas for parents, families, and adults with disabilities on how to start to navigate through this period of uncertainty and change.  We talk about how much learning is done outside of the classroom and how programs like CIP really “get” this about students with autism, ADHD and other learning challenges. 
    We know that this episode is going to shine a little light on transition and bring important and compassionate information to families and self-advocates.   We can’t wait for you to listen! 
    Before joining CIP in 2018, Mary worked for twenty years in the field of post-secondary education as an instructor and administrator. She served as adjunct faculty at several colleges and universities in the northeast. Mary also worked as Director of Federal Relations at SUNY-Binghamton and Director of Community and Government Relations at Salve Regina University. For the past two years, Mary has served as the Admissions Coordinator at CIP’s Berkshire location.
    As she joins the National Team at CIP, Mary brings with her a passion for working with students with learning differences and a desire to communicate effectively with diverse individuals and groups.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Loving You Big - Reprise with Leah Witman Moore

    Loving You Big - Reprise with Leah Witman Moore

    This week Annette Hines, host of Parenting Impossible, explores in her introduction a new year, a new look at where we are in our finances, financial planning, and support services in the world of Covid as we move into year three of the pandemic.
    The guest interview is a re-broadcast of one of our favorite episodes! Leah Moore, an author, mom, teacher, and advocate raising awareness for cri du chat. Leah’s story of raising three kids, one with Cri du chat syndrome is full of relatable stories of triumph and hardships while navigating the world of disability. Recently Leah released a book sharing her family’s journey, Loving You Big. This book is a memoir celebrating life’s victories and the profound impact of kindness. Please join us for this important and uplifting conversation.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Set Goals, Not Resolutions For 2022 with Tracey Ingle & Sarah Reiff-Hekking

    Set Goals, Not Resolutions For 2022 with Tracey Ingle & Sarah Reiff-Hekking

    In this week’s podcast, Annette speaks with Attorney Tracey Ingle and speaker, coach, and Psychologist Dr. Sarah Reiff-Hekking about setting goals for yourself for the new year.  Tracey is the founder of Ingle Law and works with clients to create their estate plans and plan out the future.  Sarah is the founder of True Focus Coaching Inc and works with clients to transform their lives and businesses.
    Setting goals can feel overwhelming for some people.  Some may not be able to visualize their goals or be able to think of goals in the long term rather than short term.  The first thing Sarah mentions to people is to NOT do resolutions as they are really only a will power thing and will only get you so far.  You should create a completed vision of your goal – what will it look like when you reach it?  Once you have that in mind, you work backwards to create the steps to get to this goal.  This does not have to be figured out right away.  You will want to break it into smaller pieces and spend at least 5-10 minutes every so often working on some of the details to get you to your goal.
    Another important key is to pick only one or two goals and make them realistic.  Most of us including those that are caregivers, are already too stressed and pushed to their limits. Adding a huge list of unrealistic goals to accomplish is a sure way to chip away at your personal energy and motivation levels.  Don’t try to do it all yourself.  Delegate if possible.  You may find someone that would love to do that task for you or maybe someone will have an easier and quicker way to do it.
    Tracey uses systems with her clients to keep them on track with their estate plan goals.  There are clear steps as to who does what next and by what date.  Keeping clients on track and moving toward their goals keeps the momentum going.  Tracey even sends out congratulations cards to clients when their estate plan goals are met and are complete.
    Annette, Tracey and Sarah all agree that getting support and asking for help is important.  It is human to get stuck and need assistance.  It is not a sign of failure and not a sign that you are not good enough if you can’t do it alone.  Sarah leaves us with the thought that “Success never happens in a vacuum.”
    If you would like to contact Attorney Tracey Ingle, you may find her on her website Ingle Law, as well as on Facebook and Linked In. 
    Sarah Reiff-Hekking can be found at True Focus Coaching Inc, on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In
    Please send us your comments:
    As Annette mentions in the intro, she recently purchased a building in Massachusetts.  As of January 1, 2022, Special Needs Companies, Special Needs Law Group and Special Needs Family Services will all be housed in this new location. They will be working with designers and contractors to create a family friendly environment that is special needs accessible.  Annette wants to hear from you – what is something you would like to see or something that would make your visit more comfortable when you visit a professional’s office.  Of course they will focus on ramps and more handicapped parking but are there other items that you would like to see or were maybe lacking in your last visit to a professional’s office? Please reach out HERE and let us know! 
    For information on other topics, please also check out Special Needs Companies. For legal advice, inspiration, and other resources, visit our blog here. Similarly, you can always listen to previous podcast episodes (and be sure to leave us a review), or download our free eBook here. We are always looking for podcast guests as well so please let us know if you or someone you know, has a special needs or disability topic you would like to speak about - Contact Us! 
    Please Leave a Podcast Review
    Please consider leaving a podcast review for Parenting Impossible – The Special Needs Survival Podcast on iTunes.  More positive ratings and reviews mean more new listener

    • 48 min
    Episode 130: Year End Planning with Annette Hines

    Episode 130: Year End Planning with Annette Hines

    We are now at that time of the year when everyone should sit down and review their current special needs plan.  Time to make sure your planning is correct, in good shape and is planned out for what is best for your family.  This is one of Annette’s favorite podcasts to do and it has become an annual episode to help listeners create checklists to go over their own family’s plans. And what if you don’t already have a special needs plan? Well, this is the best time then to start getting things organized and begin thinking about the details you will need to start planning out the future.
    Annette has 6 tips to help you review your current plan or begin creating a new one:
    Take inventory of your assets. What do your accounts look like?  Have you made any large purchases, bought any real estate?  What does your debt look like?  This may be a good time to consider looking into working with a financial advisor if you don’t already have one. Check out the people in your documents.  Are the people you have chosen to list in your future plans still around, do you need to make changes?  If you don’t already have a plan, start thinking about people you want to name as potential trustees or guardians. Have there been any changes to laws?  Are there any laws that may require you to adjust any parts of your plan or laws that may require you to rewrite something entirely? Have there been any major changes in your family?  Has anyone passed away, gotten married, divorced or had a child?  Your plan will also need to change and grow as your children change and grow.   Write down or update your wishes or your “Letter of Intent.”  What will someone need to know about your family, your special needs child if you were to pass away unexpectedly.  Personal details can be very helpful for those who will take over the care of your child, so they will be able to make decisions as if they were you. Talk to your family about your plan.  This can be an uncomfortable topic within families, but it is important that they understand some details such as where the assets are held, what your healthcare wishes are and is there is an opt in clause to name a few. It’s important to have some sort of planning in place and to keep it as updated as you can.  Annette recommends checking in with your estate planning attorney every 3-5 years at least unless you have major changes that need updating immediately.  If you are just starting to plan, start small. Create checklists and begin by getting things organized and listed on paper.  Ask for referrals for financial planners and estate plan attorneys.  This is important for your family’s future and for you to know they will be taken care of when you are no longer around.
    For information on other topics, please also check out Special Needs Companies. For legal advice, inspiration, and other resources, visit our blog here. Similarly, you can always listen to previous podcast episodes (and be sure to leave us a review), or download our free eBook here. We are always looking for podcast guests as well so please let us know if you or someone you know, has a special needs or disability topic you would like to speak about - Contact Us! 
    Please Leave a Podcast Review
    Please consider leaving a podcast review for Parenting Impossible – The Special Needs Survival Podcast on iTunes.  More positive ratings and reviews mean more new listeners are introduced to this informational and inspirational podcast.  Look at the bottom of this page for the purple oval that says “Enjoying the podcast?  Leave an iTunes review here.”  This will take you over to the iTunes site/app where you will be able to login and leave a review.  We really appreciate it!
    You can also join our free Facebook group for the disability community, the “Circle of Care,” or watch the webinars and other speaking events on YouTube. The purpose of this community is to create a space for people to be themselves,

    • 28 min
    Episode 129: Legal Decisions and Person Centered Planning for the New Year with Annette Hines

    Episode 129: Legal Decisions and Person Centered Planning for the New Year with Annette Hines

    As the year winds to an end, we begin to think about the new year and how prepared are we are for the future.  What planning will we need to do, what will we need to change, what worked well, what didn’t work well. For special needs families, the planning can sometimes be a little more challenging when it may include legal decision making regarding guardianship.  In this podcast episode, Annette goes over some of the different types of guardianships (or conservatorships) there are and other important legal documents to have, as well as the importance of making sure the supported person is at the center of the decision making process.
    Annette begins by discussing some of the national and local developments that have taken place.  The National Guardianship Network has called for a reform of the guardianship system and has proposed a guardianship bill of rights.  They have proposed limiting guardianships where possible, maintaining person centered planning, right to counsel, supported decision making and better monitoring of guardianships to address abuse.  Congress is also considering funding a national court improvement program. The Massachusetts Guardianship Policy Institute has brought about many changes in the guardianship process since 2015 including supported decision making.
    Annette then discusses the Brittney Spears case and how it brought so much national attention.  Brittney was allowed almost no freedoms and every part of her life was controlled though she was performing and making money.  This brought about the question of what does incapacitated look like?  How can she be working and earning money, yet still need guardianship?
    Annette discusses one of the most important parts of this whole process – person centered planning.  When you are planning for your special needs individual, you need to make sure they are at the center of this planning.  You have to figure out first what decisions the individual can make and where they will need supports.  Then review the list of available supporters and who may be preferred.  Annette says, “remember that the supported person is at the center of the team and their voice is the most important one.” They need to have their own voice and be able to participate in their own future. Supported decision making is important – here are two online tools to help:  Supported Decision-Making and Honoring Choices Massachusetts.
    Annette closes with the view that families will know what is best for them.  There is no one right answer to the legal decision making process.  The most important part is to remember Voice and Choice – the supported person should have his own say if he is able to and he should be at the center of all planning for his future supports.
    For information on other topics, please also check out Special Needs Companies. For legal advice, inspiration, and other resources, visit our blog here. Similarly, you can always listen to previous podcast episodes (and be sure to leave us a review), or download our free eBook here. We are always looking for podcast guests as well so please let us know if you or someone you know, has a special needs or disability topic you would like to speak about - Contact Us! 
    Please Leave a Podcast Review
    Please consider leaving a podcast review for Parenting Impossible – The Special Needs Survival Podcast on iTunes.  More positive ratings and reviews mean more new listeners are introduced to this informational and inspirational podcast.  Look at the bottom of this page for the purple oval that says “Enjoying the podcast?  Leave an iTunes review here.”  This will take you over to the iTunes site/app where you will be able to login and leave a review.  We really appreciate it!
    You can also join our free Facebook group for the disability community, the “Circle of Care,” or watch the webinars and other speaking events on YouTube. The purpose of this community is to create a space for people to b

    • 42 min
    Episode 128: Living With Sorrow & Joy This Holiday with Annette Hines

    Episode 128: Living With Sorrow & Joy This Holiday with Annette Hines

    The holiday season can be a stressful time if you have lost a child or a loved one.  As we have seen over the past 2 years now, it can be stressful also when our loved ones are still with us but due to the pandemic and closures and rule changes, we may be separated and not have access to see them or be with them.  In this podcast episode, Annette gives us her tips on how to thrive this holiday season and how to survive the holiday with both sorrow and joy in your heart.  
    Annette begins by saying how she feels the world seems so much more unsettled in 2021 than it did in 2020 during the main part of the pandemic.  People seemed so much nicer, more forgiving and accepting in 2020.  In 2021 it seems tempers are flaring, people are angrier, they are lashing out.  We are seeing higher expenses, staff shortages and people are struggling to access goods and services.  There appears to be so much anxiety and frustration out there it is hard for people to relax and find balance and peace.
    Annette recently attended a business coaching meeting where they had a monk as a guest speaker.  He mentioned something that resonated with her – how the human heart is amazing that is can hold both sorrow and joy at the same time.  People today are out of balance, they can’t recognize they hold both sorrow and joy.  So many are unhappy that things are not going back to the way they were.  We need to accept the sorrow of the past and embrace the joy of today and what is to come.  Once we get to this point, we can be at peace.
    Annette’s mentions her 4 tips to thrive this holiday season:  
    Food: have a great meal, eat your favorite foods, start new food traditions.  If your loved one is still with us, take them out to dinner or lunch or pack a meal of their favorite foods and take it to them Decorate: decorate a room or a special place and add things that remind you of your loved one.  If you are able to visit a loved one that is still with us, take decorations to share with them. People: celebrate the people you love, the ones that are here as well as the ones you have lost.  If you are able to, bring the celebration to your loved ones. Tell Your Story:  this is Annette’s biggest and best tip, talk about your loved one, share stories, share your experiences with them.  You do not have to have a blog or a podcast or even write a book, just share your stories with your friends and family.   Bonus Tip – Take Care of Yourself:  practice the power of no, if you don’t want to do something, say no.  Maybe you are just not ready to at this time, but you will get to that point eventually.  Your first priority is to take care of yourself though and allow yourself to grieve if needed For information on other topics, please also check out Special Needs Companies. For legal advice, inspiration, and other resources, visit our blog here. Similarly, you can always listen to previous podcast episodes (and be sure to leave us a review), or download our free eBook here. We are always looking for podcast guests as well so please let us know if you or someone you know, has a special needs or disability topic you would like to speak about - Contact Us! 

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
32 Ratings

32 Ratings

jluchicago ,

Love Parenting Impossible!

It’s obvious that Annette has passion and love for this this work and I always take something encouraging or useful when I drop in and listen. Keep up the good work.
- Podcast Fan

Croke ,

Great Topics

I'm in the autism space and this is relevant podcast with good information. Well done!

Summer Batte ,

Author

Annette has created a wonderful resource for parents of special needs kids!

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