231 episodes

Welcome to Parenting Impossible, the podcast dedicated to empowering and supporting the disability community. Hosted by Annette Hines, this podcast was born out of a mission to combat the scattered and sometimes inaccurate information that parents and caregivers of disabled adult children often face.In each episode, we delve into the pressing questions and concerns that weigh on the minds of the entire special needs community including those with autism, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health issues and more. From navigating the complexities of special needs trusts and planning for the future to addressing the fundamental question of "How will my child be okay when I cannot do this anymore?"—we leave no stone unturned.Attorney Annette Hines is a 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. She shares personal insights and her guests (parents, siblings, and experts and sometimes parents who are experts!) discuss many 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're not just here to talk; we're here to make a difference.In a society where the disabled and their caregivers are often devalued, Parenting Impossible stands as a beacon of advocacy and support dedicated to giving compassionate advice for all stages of life. Join us as we tackle the challenges, break down barriers, and strive to create a more informed and compassionate world for the disability community. Because when it comes to parenting in the face of impossibility, you're not alone—we're here with you.

Parenting Impossible – The Special Needs Survival Podcast Annette Hines

    • Kids & Family
    • 4.8 • 43 Ratings

Welcome to Parenting Impossible, the podcast dedicated to empowering and supporting the disability community. Hosted by Annette Hines, this podcast was born out of a mission to combat the scattered and sometimes inaccurate information that parents and caregivers of disabled adult children often face.In each episode, we delve into the pressing questions and concerns that weigh on the minds of the entire special needs community including those with autism, intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health issues and more. From navigating the complexities of special needs trusts and planning for the future to addressing the fundamental question of "How will my child be okay when I cannot do this anymore?"—we leave no stone unturned.Attorney Annette Hines is a 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. She shares personal insights and her guests (parents, siblings, and experts and sometimes parents who are experts!) discuss many 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're not just here to talk; we're here to make a difference.In a society where the disabled and their caregivers are often devalued, Parenting Impossible stands as a beacon of advocacy and support dedicated to giving compassionate advice for all stages of life. Join us as we tackle the challenges, break down barriers, and strive to create a more informed and compassionate world for the disability community. Because when it comes to parenting in the face of impossibility, you're not alone—we're here with you.

    230: Thriving with Disabilities at MIT | Jenny Huang & Ben Lou

    230: Thriving with Disabilities at MIT | Jenny Huang & Ben Lou

    In a world where societal norms often dictate limitations based on physical abilities, Ben Lou, 20, an award-winning MIT physics and math wiz, and his mother, Jenny Huang, are beacons of hope in disability advocacy. Living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), Ben has defied expectations and achieved remarkable success, including acceptance to MIT. With Jenny’s tireless help and support, Ben scored a perfect score on his math SAT, and he now maintains a 5.0 GPA at MIT, where he is studying Math, Physics, and Philosophy and hopes to earn his PhD in Physics.
     
    In this episode, Jenny reflects on their early years, the challenges of raising a child with a disability, and the decision to support Ben's educational aspirations at MIT. She shares the importance of never giving up, seeking help, and the continuous journey of personal growth. Ben shares the importance of setting high standards, his motivation to excel, and the impact of strong family support. Together, they discuss the role of comprehensive care and the critical need for advocacy to promote a more inclusive society.
     
    In this episode, you will hear:
    How individuals with disabilities can achieve extraordinary goals.
    Why strong family and caregiver networks are crucial for the success of individuals with disabilities.
    How comprehensive care plans, including physical, emotional, and educational support, are essential for thriving with disabilities.
    Ways setting high standards and pursuing goals can lead to significant achievements despite physical limitations.
    Why planning for future independence and support ensures long-term success and well-being.


    Resources from this Episode:
    Instagram: @team.ben_
    Watch Ben Lou’s speech: here
     
    Engage with us:
    Join our community: Circle of Care
    Visit: https://annettehines.com/
    Read Butterflies and Second Chances
    LinkedIn: @annette-hines-snc 
    Instagram: @parentingimpossible
    Facebook: @SpecialNeedsCompanies
    Twitter: @SpecialNeedsCo
     
    Follow and Review:
    We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast.
     

    • 34 min
    229: What My Daughter Taught Me About Life

    229: What My Daughter Taught Me About Life

    In the quiet moments of caregiving, my daughter Elizabeth showed me that the essence of success is far deeper than material achievements.
    In this episode of Parenting Impossible, I share the journey of raising my daughter Elizabeth, who taught me the true meaning of success. From navigating her rare mitochondrial disease to founding Special Needs Family Services, this podcast is about finding resilience and building a thriving community for special needs families.
    In this episode, you will hear:
    My reflections on what it means to be a successful and happy person, as inspired by my daughter Elizabeth.
    Insights into the challenges and lessons I learned from raising a child with special needs.
    The evolution of my advocacy work and the creation of support systems for special needs families.
    The launch and purpose of our membership community on Mighty Networks for real-time collaboration and support.
    Engage with us:
    Join our community: Circle of Care
    Visit: https://annettehines.com/
    Read Butterflies and Second Chances
    LinkedIn: @annette-hines-snc 
    Instagram: @parentingimpossible
    Facebook: @SpecialNeedsCompanies
    Twitter: @SpecialNeedsCo
     
    Follow and Review:
    We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast.
     

    • 28 min
    228: Interior Design for Sensory-Friendly Homes | Beatrice Tokayer

    228: Interior Design for Sensory-Friendly Homes | Beatrice Tokayer

    Turning a bedroom into a creative studio was a deeply emotional journey for Annette following the loss of her daughter.
    On this episode of Parenting Impossible, this powerful experience sets the stage for Annette’s conversation with Beatrice Tokayer, an interior designer and mother of three, who brings her personal insights and professional expertise to designing spaces for families with special needs. Beatrice shares her unique method of using design boards, 2D layouts, and realistic 3D renderings, helping clients visualize their spaces without feeling overwhelmed. 
    Beatrice opens up about her motivation, which is deeply rooted in supporting her middle son, who has been diagnosed with ADHD and sensory processing disorder. She advises parents on observing and responding to their children's unique sensitivities, discussing the impact of colors, patterns, and lighting. We also explore her holistic approach to home design, emphasizing personalized, supportive spaces that cater to the entire family's needs.
    This episode is full of wisdom for those looking to create a nurturing and calming home environment.
    In this episode, you will hear:
    Annette’s emotional journey of turning a bedroom into a creative studio following the loss of her daughter Beatrice Tokayer’s unique approach to interior design using design boards, 2D layouts, and realistic 3D renderings Her advice for parents on observing and responding to children's unique sensitivities The impact of colors, patterns, and lighting on creating calming environments for children with sensory issues The importance of personalized, supportive spaces that cater to the entire family's needs Balancing the needs of all family members in shared spaces while maintaining functionality and aesthetics Virtual design services and a holistic, person-centered approach to home design Resources from this Episode
    BRT Interior Design website: www.brtinteriordesign.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/Brtinteriordesign Instagram: www.instagram.com/brtinteriordesign LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/beatrice-tokayer-053418213 Follow and Review:
    We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast.
    Episode Credits
    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.

    • 30 min
    227: Building Support Networks for Special Needs Families | Julie Foge

    227: Building Support Networks for Special Needs Families | Julie Foge

    When Eliza was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome, the flood of emotions from anger to isolation was overwhelming.
    On this episode of Parenting Impossible, join Annette as she opens up about her personal journey and the moments that shaped her path in special needs parenting. Annette welcomes Julie Foge, a fellow special needs mom and founder of the Leaning Into Love website, to share her experiences and insights.
    Julie and Annette cover advocating for their children amid the chaos of daily responsibilities, underscoring choosing battles and seeking support. Julie’s mission, inspired by her child's rare disease and her background as a teacher, is to create a nurturing space for parents and caregivers. With her husband’s medical expertise adding another to their conversation, they dive into practical tips for managing the NICU experience, from using your voice effectively to reducing decision fatigue through community support.
    Julie and Annette also tackle special education advocacy, offering strategies to foster productive collaboration with educators. Discover how simple tools like an “All About Me” page can help teachers understand your child's unique needs.
    In this episode, you will hear:
    The emotional rollercoaster of parenting a child with special needs Dealing with a diagnosis of Prader-Willi syndrome and feelings of isolation The importance of advocacy in navigating daily challenges  The need for support systems for both children and parents Strategies for managing a NICU stay, including effective communication with medical staff Leveraging community support to reduce decision fatigue Techniques for successful special education advocacy, nurturing collaboration with educators, and creating personalized tools like an “All About Me” page Julie's dual perspective as a teacher and a special needs mom Insights from Julie’s husband's medical background with practical advice for parents Overcoming the transition from NICU to home care, dealing with decision-making, and finding local resources for ongoing support Resources from this Episode
    Leaning Into Love website: www.leaningintolove.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/juliefoge Instagram: www.instagram.com/juliefoge LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/julie-foge-88418b30a Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/leaningintolove Follow and Review:
    We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast.
    Episode Credits
    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.

    • 47 min
    226: CrossFit for Our Community with Karen Hurley

    226: CrossFit for Our Community with Karen Hurley

    It can be difficult for families to find fitness classes oriented toward individuals with different abilities, whether neurodivergence or physical. However, an emerging fitness category is designed for those who need adaptive and inclusive therapy.
    On this episode of Parenting Impossible, Annette sits down with guest Karen Hurley, a physical therapist and strength and condition specialist with more than 20 years of experience. Karen received a bachelor’s degree in educational studies from Brown University, where she was a varsity athlete and captain of the women’s gymnastics team. She then received a master's degree in physical therapy from Boston University. Karen has worked in various settings and spent the past eight years as a districtwide physical therapist for a local school district. Karen is the founder and president of A.I.M. Therapy located in Needham, Massachusetts, which offers adaptive inclusive movement therapy, including CrossFit and functional fitness sessions for kids, teens, and adults with autism, ADHD, processing challenges, and anxiety.
    Annette and Karen explore Karen’s background as a physical therapist, creating connections with students, and how that ultimately led to her establishing her business, A.I.M. Therapy. You’ll also hear what makes CrossFit an inclusive and adaptable activity, who she works with, and what Unified Sports is. Karen explains how the goals of her business have changed since founding it, what makes A.I.M. unique, and why CrossFit benefits neurodiverse athletes. Finally, she outlines how A.I.M. meets clients where they’re at, her encouragement for someone hesitant to attend these classes, and what you can do to get started with adaptive and inclusive therapy in your community.
    Adaptive and inclusive therapy can tremendously impact communities where it’s offered. Karen Hurley is excited to share the difference it can make for individuals with different abilities.
    In this episode, you will hear:
    Karen Hurley’s background working as a physical therapist with students, creating meaningful connections with them, and how that led to teaching CrossFit CrossFit as a scalable, inclusive, and adaptable activity Why Karen works primarily with individuals with disabilities and how it led her to open her own business An explanation of Unified Sports and the Special Olympics How the goals of Karen’s business have changed over time because of the importance of community A.I.M. (Adaptive Inclusive Movement) Therapy and what makes it unique from other adaptive and inclusive classes A typical day at A.I.M. Therapy What differentiates adaptive and inclusive CrossFit from traditional physical therapy CrossFit’s variability and how that benefits athletes with neurodiversity Relative high intensity scaled to meet you where you’re at, which is functional fitness The encouragement Karen gives to those who are hesitant to attend her classes Her advice for those who would like to start their own adaptive and inclusive therapy in their communities Resources from this Episode
    adaptiveaimtherapy.com
    www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100093139387607
    www.instagram.com/aim_therapy
    www.linkedin.com/in/karen-hurley-9141b41a2
    Follow and Review:
    We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast.
    Episode Credits
    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know we sent you.

    • 30 min
    225: Highlighting the Year Ahead

    225: Highlighting the Year Ahead

    Navigating the complexities of the special needs community is fraught with challenges, and the current workforce crisis in the disability sector is a cliff we're all facing together. Annette has seen firsthand how the pandemic has eroded the support program landscape as a special needs mom, attorney, and author. It's time we discuss the dire statistics and what they mean for our loved ones. The scarcity of direct support professionals (DSPs) is at a critical point.
    In this episode of Parenting Impossible, we're pulling back the curtain on the harsh realities service providers are grappling with, from program cuts to the tough competition for attracting dedicated workers. Yet, amidst the stark outlook, there's a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
    Annette is excited to share the recent settlement poised to relieve SSI beneficiaries and the proactive steps the Social Security Administration is taking to rectify overpayment issues. But let's not lose sight of the impending expiry of federal funding that could spell a reduction in community-based services. It's a heartfelt plea for awareness and action—we must bolster the ranks of DSPs and ensure the support structures our community relies on don't crumble. Your involvement is critical, and by sharing your thoughts and spreading the word, you can help ignite the changes we so desperately need.
    Join me in this crucial conversation, and let's pave the way toward a more supportive future for those with special needs.
    In this episode, you will hear:
    The critical workforce crisis in the disability sector post-pandemic Some personal insights from Annette An examination of the direct support professional (DSP) shortage and service program cutbacks Recent settlements benefiting SSI beneficiaries and SSA's resolution of overpayment issues The implications of expiring federal funding from the American Rescue Plan on community-based services The need for legislative action to stabilize the DSP workforce and ensure sustainable disability support Follow and Review:
    We’d love for you to follow us if you haven’t yet. Click that purple '+' in the top right corner of your Apple Podcasts app. We’d love it even more if you could drop a review or 5-star rating over on Apple Podcasts. Simply select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” then a quick line with your favorite part of the episode. It only takes a second and it helps spread the word about the podcast.
    ***
    Episode Credits
    If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Emerald City Productions. They helped me grow and produce the podcast you are listening to right now. Find out more at https://emeraldcitypro.com Let them know I sent you.
    Have you been searching for a law firm that understands the unique challenges of your family? We can help you at Special Needs Law Group put legal planning in place to protect you and your loved ones now and in the future. Book a free call today with our team or contact us via our website: specialneeds-law.com/contact.

    • 18 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 Ratings

Leaning into Love ,

A wealth of knowledge!

Annette does a fantastic job breaking down the hard things that come with caring for a child with special needs, from how to advocate to how to seek help and so much more. Highly, highly recommend!

Sue’s Strategies ,

Vital info!!

I learned valuable information from these podcasts. Thanks for so generously sharing your vast knowledge.

jsagoe ,

Chalk full of great info

Any parent who needs a great perspective on how to get a handle on tough parenting issues can find great resources from Annette Hines! She is such a wealth of knowledge and her guests add so much value, as well!

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