"The right balance between simplicity and effectiveness"
Hello! This is Keri, author of the weekly Vest blogs. Some may know I am also Vest's Customer Success Manager. Recently, I connected with parent Pradeep G. who lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, two sons and their dog. I wanted to find out how Vest is making life easier for families like his (or, if it wasn't, then why not?).
Pradeep is the Vice President of Product at Sinch. His wife Nirupama is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst today, but used to be an Engineer at Microsoft. When both of them were working full-time at Microsoft, their son "M" was born.
As time progressed, it became apparent that M was going to need a different approach to learning. Pradeep and his wife soon charted a course which would help their son learn, grow, and realize his full potential in the world. As most parents of special needs children know, that is a journey full of highs, lows, challenges, and rewards.
This week, please enjoy my interview with Pradeep.
Keri: Pradeep, it's good to meet you, even though we are talking through zoom. Tell me, how did you hear about Vest? What brought you to Vest as a special needs parent?
Pradeep: Great to meet you as well. My wife and I were on this journey, realizing that navigating through special needs was going to be difficult. We did find many resources in our area, in our community, for what we needed for our son now. We wanted to take action...to ask ourselves what we could do now, and what we could do for the future. A financial planner, specializing in special needs, told us about Vest. Looking at Vest, it serves us now and in the future. It is a valuable tool.
K: What was your first impression, when you looked into Vest?
P: We liked it right away. I was struck by how simple it is. It has the right balance between too simple and too complex.
K: Once you began using Vest, what did you discover?
P: It is not information-heavy or too complicated to use. It is not surface-level either. It does the job and is just right for what it does.
A sense of appreciation for your child's journey
K: As you began working on your son's Vest, how do find the process?
P: The process is satisfying! Putting documents in my son's Vest is an interesting process. It reinforces the work we do as parents. We found ourselves reflecting on the full aspect of who our son is, what his story is, what his needs are and will be in the future. The onboarding experience creates a sense of appreciation for your child. And we can share that with others.
K: That's remarkable. I've spoken with a lot of parents in shoes similar to ours, and many feel daunted by the idea of planning for the future care of their children with complex needs ...planning now for what inevitably comes later. It can be an emotional process. Did you and your wife find it emotional at all to look towards future care?
P: I would say it was not difficult emotionally; it was satisfying. Interesting. I like how we are able to give others a complete picture of who our son is, and as changes occur, we simply add to his Vest. The process is reinforcing for us. It has allowed us to focus on what's important.
Vest has given us a bird's eye view of special needs...we can objectively evaluate if what we are doing is working.
- Pradeep G.
K: How do you think you will share your son's Vest with others, and do you think you will do that now, in the future, or both?
P: It will be no trouble to share the Vest with others. We see wide use for this. We will share the Vest with caregivers, trustees, family...as we create a trust for our son, we will continue to add to the Vest and all that information will be there. We can share the information incrementally, and it will grow over time. All of that information can definitely be available now, and as it tells his story in the future, it will be incredibly valuable.
A balance between simplicity and effectiveness
K: Had you explored other options for navigating and organizing future care needs for your son?
P: Yes. But we chose Vest because it strikes the right balance between simplicity and effectiveness. I could see the thought put into (Vest), and as a software tool, it meets our needs perfectly.
K: What do you think is the most valuable aspect of M's Vest?
P: The opportunity to capture the essence of my son. Through Vest, my wife and I can do this in a multidimensional way. Vest helps us with the full representation of him, which he cannot do for himself. Vest helps us do that, so others can understand him and his life.
K: That is a wonderful way of looking at Vest. Children facing complex care will have constantly changing needs as they grow up, and Vest is designed to help parents quickly and easily record, manage, and edit all the information caregivers will value. Is there anything else you have realized about special needs care since starting Vest?
P: So much of what we are doing is on a day-to-day basis. We don't always review or reflect on the importance of what we are doing...does something work, or not...where are we going with this...will it benefit our son? Vest has given us a broad view of special needs when it comes to our son. We are able to see where we are now, and where we are going, and make sense of it...take action. We know it's going to be super complex, so what can we do? Vest definitely helps with that.
Keri Horon is a writer, educator, and special needs parent. She joined Vest in 2019 as a Vest Success Manager.
She is also a Vest subscriber where she uses Vest to plan for the ongoing and future care of her precious son.