Psychologists, like me, are considered medical supports for families of children with special needs. Parents in such families are familiar with the titles Clinical Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Behaviorist, and many other professional offices that provide therapeutic support.
Recently I have been researching non-medical, or non-therapeutic support for special needs families. Social Workers and Case Managers are people who walk between the therapeutic and non-therapeutic worlds. But there are a couple of titles I think parents of children with special needs should also know about.
Most recognizable in this group, perhaps, are educational attorneys. These lawyers help you understand the law regarding support and services for your child. In addition, lawyers also help set up Special Needs Trusts that can establish financial protections for dependent children if something unfortunate and unexpected should happen to the parents.
Many special needs children may remain financially dependent on their parents or the State after reaching the age of majority, and specialized financial planners can help parents make relevant long-term financial plans. This can include retirement planning, investment planning and advice, debt reduction advice, and the like. The most skilled financial planners can coordinate with lawyers, accountants, and other professionals.
It wasn't that long ago that most people got their insurance through brokers. Insurance brokers are middlemen who evaluate the customer's needs and locate the best insurance policies to meet those needs. It is my experience that brokers are coming back en-vogue as it becomes increasingly difficult to compare insurance companies. Special needs parents usually need good deals on the usual insurance like house, car, and health because it's expensive to run a special needs family. Small monthly savings on multiple necessary insurances can add to substantial financial protection for families over the long term. In addition, many special needs parents may decide they need life insurance or income protection insurance. Regardless, good brokers are dedicated to saving special needs parents money on insurance.
I think all parents of children with special needs should ask or have already asked themselves, "How will my child be cared for if something happens to me?" In the above groups, there are people whose job it is to help you answer that question, and reduce uncertainties. Peace of mind is essential in these areas because the task of raising a special needs child is already routinely intense.