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December '23 News, Updates & Events

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In This Issue

President's Message: Working Toward Inclusivity

2023 Parent University Class 12 on December 7: "Wrap-Up: Did You Get Real?"

Catch up on Parent University Class 11: "The Big Worry: Future Residential Options"

Notable Milestones from 2023

In the News: "Managing Personal Finances for Adult Children With Disabilities" and more

Upcoming Events

President's Message

It’s natural at the end of the year to look back at the 12 months just past. One trend I noticed in 2023 -- more inclusiveness of those with disabilities. Just a few examples:

  • Several new picture books had children with disabilities as their main characters, including “A Day With No Words,” written by a Black autistic woman. It portrays a Black autistic mother and her son communicating through the use of a tablet.

  • President Biden declared October 2023 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, encouraging businesses to embrace the talents and skills of those with disabilities.

  • Lewis Capaldi, a Scottish singer who shared in 2022 that he has Tourette’s, was performing in Germany when he suddenly stopped singing because of the onset of symptoms. His fans’ reaction? They finished his song for him!

Ultimately, it is a shared responsibility to create a world where people with disabilities are not just included but welcomed, valued and celebrated for their unique contributions.

As we enjoy the embrace of loved ones this holiday season, let us recognize how much work remains and how we can advance the ideal -- and the reality -- of inclusivity.

My warmest wishes for very happy holidays!

Mary Anne Ehlert

2023 Parent University Class 12: "Wrap-Up: Did You Get Real?"

Thursday, December 7, Noon-1 p.m. (central time)

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We started the year with wanting to be real and created a list of goals in January. How did you do? What did you accomplish, and what are the stumbling blocks?

We’ll focus on successes, recognize where you started and how far you have come. It’s time to pat yourself on the back, and graduate from Protected Tomorrows Parent University 2023.

And if you did encounter roadblocks, how do you get help? We’ll set very specific goals to carry forward into 2024.

"Wrap-Up: Did You Get Real?"

Thursday, December 7, Noon-1 p.m. (central time)

If you'd like the information, but can’t attend, register, and we’ll provide you with a link to the recorded video after the class.  

For Zoom security, when you register, you’ll receive an email with a link to the class and a passcode, which you’ll be asked to enter when you log-on. (To avoid disruption, we'll close the class at 12:05. If you’re late, you'll be able to watch the video later.) 

Registration is required. Click here to sign up!

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Catch Up on Class 11: "The Big Worry: Future Residential Options"

View It Free Until December 16!

If you missed our November Parent University session, it's available for free using coupon code 2023pu11residents until December 16.

Families often tell us that their biggest worry is where their child will live, how much it will cost and who will provide oversight.

Our panelists gave us insights as to the steps to take, how to think about starting, is it ever too early or too late, and finally how to involve the whole family and the Dream Team in this process. Together, we developed a tool to determine the starting point for identifying the most appropriate housing option and the most important things to look for in your own situation.


To watch it using the coupon code:

  • Click on the link below to access the class in our store
  • Add the class to your cart
  • Type in the code 2023pu11residents at checkout
  • Click “Apply coupon”
Watch here
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What's New at Protected Tomorrows

Stay Tuned for 2024 Parent University Topics!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Parent University survey for our topic selections for the 2024 Protected Tomorrows Parent University series. Your ideas and input are invaluable, as we want to cover the topics that are most important to you. 

Our list of free 2024 Parent University webinar topics and dates will be available soon on our website at

We hope to see you "back in class" next year!

Looking Back at 2023

A Year of Milestones and Important Stories

Working every day with special-needs families to secure their loved ones' futures, we think it's important to take time to recognize news and events from the realm of developmental and physical disabilities. Here are some events and milestones you may have missed.

Two landmark legislative achievements marked significant anniversaries in 2023.

The Rehabilitation Act was enacted 50 years ago, in September 1973. It was the first federal law to address civil rights for people with disabilities, and it had a profound impact. Its Section 504 prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities by any program or activity that is federally funded or conducted.

Importantly, it laid the foundation for the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law 33 years ago. Today's young adults never had to live in a world in which it wasn't illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in housing, employment and education.

The World Institute on Disability (WID) celebrated 40 years. It was established in 1983 as one of the first global disability rights organizations founded and continually led by people with disabilities.

The Special Olympics World Games 2023 took place June 17-25 in Berlin. Thousands of athletes, coaches, families and fans descended upon the historic city as Special Olympics athletes competed against one another in 26 different sports.

The United Nations observes International Day of Persons With Disabilities on December 3, recommitting the world community to achieving sustainable development goals for our most vulnerable populations.

In the News

Managing Personal Finances for Adult Children with Disabilities

As seen in CPA Practice Advisor

By Mary Anne Ehlert, CFP

Improved medical care, educational interventions and community services have given individuals with disabilities a better quality of life and longer lifespans. It’s not unusual for people with Down syndrome to live into their 60s and those with cerebral palsy to reach 50 years in age.

The situation is complicated by refinements in diagnoses of developmental disabilities such as autism. A child who 50 years ago would have been considered “slow” might today be placed on the autism spectrum, which doesn’t affect lifespan but may require a lifetime of care.

So, increasingly, adults with disabilities are outliving the parents who have cared for them over the years. It’s a frightening prospect – so frightening that it’s difficult for aging parents to even think about it, let alone plan for it. As parents approach retirement age, they have so many questions.

Read the article
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This Is Where We Will Be in the Weeks Ahead...


Upcoming Events 2023 - 2024

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All times are Central



December 7, noon-1 p.m.

Parent University 12 - Online

"Wrap-Up: Did You Get Real?"


Parent University Class 1 - Online

2024 topics and registration information coming soon!


February 13, 7-8 p.m.

Learning to Save Class #2 "Investment Choices - What Are the Differences?" - Online

Presented by Ehlert Financial Group

To register, contact Barb Gier

February 23, 12:30 p.m.

"Government Benefits"

Stevenson High School, 1 Stevenson Dr, Lincolnshire, IL 60069

For more information on these events and

our complete calendar, click here.

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