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High Spirit Advisory

Dedicated to helping parents of special needs children approaching adulthood. 

who we are

High Spirit Advisory is an organization dedicated to helping all parents of special needs children approaching adulthood. Our mission – and our work – is borne of our experiences as parents. It reflects the challenges we faced and the solutions we discovered as families of children who were no longer of school age and had no obvious places to go, to grow, and to thrive. 

Through the various resources on this site – a Q&A of how to build your own community, links to valuable state resources, a video library and more – we hope to show you some options for you and your child, and to help inform the hard  decisions you will need to make about where you go from here.


Here's the challenge ...

Bob and Ginny Swain of Cambridge, Massachusetts, found themselves in the same position as many parents of young adults with intellectual disabilities in 20?? when their eldest son, Bar, became an adult in the eyes of the law:  finding few options of quality, state-provided services that offered more than the prospect of their son living, largely isolated, at home.

Here’s how they describe what they found:

In the starkest numerical terms, the Massachusetts landscape was lacking.  Of the almost 37,000 adults with severe intellectual disabilities documented by the state (DSS, 2021), 60% had to be cared for at home, whether by choice or due to a lack of alternatives. 

The national data didn't look any better.  As of 2016, an estimated 7.3 million people in the United States had some form of intellectual disability.  Out-of-home opportunities for the population were seriously limited.  Only 9.3% lived out of the home.  An estimated 71% received residential care and support from family members and caregivers.

Despite Massachusetts’ reputation as one of the most generous and progressive states with regard to people with special needs, Bob and Ginny knew there had to be another way.


This site, in part, documents their journey, highlighting the ups and downs along their path to provide a better future for Bar. We encourage you to take a hard look at your own jurisdiction as you consider your family’s needs. Each state is different – for better and, sometimes, worse. Our States page is one place to start, with links to various agencies, by state, and where available, data on the conditions – and opportunities - in your own area.  

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