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Learning About Life on the Spectrum

With the constant barrage of birthday parties, after-school activities, and various appointments, raising a family can be utterly exhausting. In today’s world, being a mom requires you to wear many hats and keep pace with a quickly-changing society.

Liz Krogstad, First National Bank Trust Officer, mom, and wife, can speak to the struggle of maintaining a delicate balance all too well.

“It can be overwhelming trying to manage our many roles both inside and outside the home and meeting the needs of our families. I know I am personally guilty of putting additional pressure on myself.”

A few years after the birth of their son, Krogstad and her husband learned of a medical diagnosis that turned their world upside-down.

“Around our son’s 3rd birthday, concerns were raised about potential communication/social deficits,” Krogstad said. “Following Kindergarten, our son was ultimately diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

Understandably, Krogstad and her husband were overwhelmed, but quickly accepted their new roles as students. They began to learn all they could about autism and life on the spectrum in order to better support their son.

“It’s hard for parents to imagine that their child may struggle or have a different future than what you hoped for them,” said Krogstad. “But, just because an individual sees the world in a different way and maybe doesn’t fit into traditional societal molds, doesn’t mean they don’t have incredible gifts to offer.”

Krogstad and her husband have since found comfort and support in area providers and teachers. Sioux Falls is home to several organizations that offer services and products designed to provide assistance with finances, healthcare, and daily tasks, specifically for individuals with special needs.

First National Bank, along with financial institutions in each of the 50 states, offer a financial product called a Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trust designed for people receiving public or governmental benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid, or for individuals that may require or become eligible for those benefits in the future.

A Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trust is typically funded by third parties on an individual’s behalf, such as by a parent, guardian, or other family member. Once created, these trusts allow individuals with special needs to continue to benefit from supplemental resources and maintain financial security without being disqualified from receiving public benefits.

Krogstad attributes her advocacy for financial planning to her role as a trust officer here at the Bank. “I’m reminded daily of the importance of planning in order to build financial stability. Likewise, as a mom, one of my biggest priorities is to provide for my son, which makes being aware of specific financial products so important.”

Whether you’re starting your financial planning from scratch or simply modifying your current habits, planning for your child’s future can help ensure they’re taken care of, long after you’re gone.

“As moms, we see firsthand how quickly our children change and grow,” said Krogstad. “It can be hard to keep up, and no one is perfect, which is why it can be empowering as moms to share our struggles and learn from each other.”

Try as we may, there will ultimately be things that are out of our control. But, by knowing what resources are available to us as parents, we can feel better-equipped and more confident in supporting our children in the challenges they may face.

For more information on a Special Needs Trust or additional services, contact Liz or another member of our in-house Trust department.

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