Special Needs Navigator was born from a dad’s frustration with a broken system. There is NO reason it should be this difficult for parents to figure out what needs to be done to help their kids get underway with adult services after High School. Too often parents are given resources or told to do something without a deep enough explanation. We don’t know what we should ask, we’ve never done this before.
I’m committed to changing this paradigm. I don’t want the burden to fall on us as parents. We shouldn’t be expected to ask for what we need. In the future I envision, Navigators will be available to guide families from diagnosis to end of life. We won’t expect you to know what you need. Rather, we will provide you with instructions and as much detail as you would like.
We will help you complete the applications and make sure you know the key words and phrases when talking to local, state, and federal agencies. We will work with your other advisors, ensuring you know exactly what is, and isn’t, being taken care of. We will be very clear what you are responsible for. If you want, we will be your accountability partners.
I needed a purpose when I retired from the Navy. I wasn’t expecting to work in the disability community. I found my way here when I lost my wife. My resolve was cemented when I beat cancer in 2020. Eventually I would like to recruit employees who can address the legislative changes that need to happen. For now my focus is on parents like me. Below is the vision I read twice a day, every day. It’s a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG).
“It’s January 1st, 2026 and my dream is becoming a reality. Special Needs Planning is a recognized category, joining the ranks of Financial Planning, Estate Planning, Tax Planning, etc. Families and professionals around the country not only understand the importance of services provided by Medicaid Waivers, with my help they are getting into the system as early as possible.
Special Needs Navigator has grown significantly. I’ve hired an Operations Manager to free up my time. I’m now able to create and explore new opportunities. My resource list has been turned into a database with subscriptions available to those looking for help around the country. I am creating a Special Needs Planning certification. Once in place, experts around the country will understand how to help families integrate State & Federal benefits with the experts’ profession, whether they are accountants, financial advisors, lawyers or teachers (to name a few).
I am phasing out of working directly with clients. More than 60% of my time is spent creating content – blogs, courses, and podcasts. In addition to ABC’s of Disability Planning, I have launched a podcast sharing how parents have overcome obstacles. These stories are important because they will help our audience reframe what is possible. Our perspectives are helping our listeners understand it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
I now have 10 full-time Navigators across the country. They bring their personal experiences and expertise. Each of them has identified a specific diagnosis they are focusing on. I’m crystal clear on what makes a good Navigator and I continue to look for self-motivated individuals with a desire to make it easier for other families, and individuals. Eventually there will be at least one Navigator in every State, bringing a deeper level of expertise at the local (borough, city, county, etc) level.
I’ve become a sought-after career coach for those seeking to build their own businesses geared towards assisting families and individuals with disabilities. We work together to identify their desired niche, and from there build out the necessary processes and systems.
The DIY section has become a national resource. Families, professionals, and non-profits are using my products to reduce stress and make their lives easier. Organizations are reaching out requesting custom templates and decision trees so they can explain how everything works together to the families they support. It is evolving into its own stand-alone business and by 2028 I will have launched it as its own brand within the Special Needs Planning category.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If nothing else, I hope it gives you the push you needed if you have something you want to start. It’s up to us to fix the world. You can have an impact, bigger than you would ever imagine. Don’t let the fear others have hold you back. Reach out if what I’ve written resonates with you. Let’s see how we can work together.