Paul and Krysia Braun are the parents of three active boys, two with developmental disabilities. Their active family of five enjoy star gazing, bike riding, listening to live music, doing art projects, playing video games, traveling, kayaking and doing volunteer work in their community. Like all busy families there are numerous extracurriculars outside of the home that must be done: Tae Kwon Do practice, drama practice, practicing instruments, and playing with friends. However the added weight of occupational therapy, speech therapy, social skills classes, sensory regulation, daily living skills classes, support groups, and special meetings to develop and maintain individual educational plans are challenges they have had to take on, too. A great deal of extra work and financial cost is put on families who are trying their best to prepare their children to become stable, happy adults.

The Brauns armed themselves with the best information, resource and professional services they could find to help give them guidance. Endless hours have been spent learning all they could about a variety of special needs issues that affected their children: premature births, developmental milestones, early childhood development, language acquisition, sensory integration, best practices for a variety of therapies addressing Autism Spectrum Disorders, disability advocacy, community inclusion, Attention Deficit Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, medicaid, social security benefits, special needs financial planning and so much more. Unwilling to be daunted by statistics on the bleakness of life for adults with developmental disabilities, they advocate constantly so that their sons will be educated, employed, and independent adults.

Fortunate for the Brauns that they were well equipped with higher education and degrees to deal with their challenges. Lifelong learning is certainly necessary to parent children with disabilities in an every changing system of benefits and assistance, impeded and sometimes eliminated by governmental policies and laws.

Krysia has a Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of South Carolina and Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Davis. Krysia is the founder of a parent advocacy group for families who have children with special needs called Middleton Abilities Group Improving Community (MAGIC). This group was created so these parents, who are often isolated or have little time to find support, can share resources, problem solve, learn how to manage the system and how best to help their children, develop advocacy strategies and work with educators & community members to benefit their families.

She has been a [email protected] mom, necessary to manage the complicated household. She adores her boys, relishing the playful moments with them. Paul has a Masters of Science in Natural Resource Management from the University of Arizona in Tucson and a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from the University of Wisconsin Madison. He is a loving father, patient teacher and ever aware of his boys’ needs. Together these two make a great team and provide a parental perspective on the Mansfield Hall Board of Directors.