We had the good fortune of connecting with Betty Lehman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Betty, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
By the time my son, Eli, was 6 years old in 1994, he had 36 medical diagnoses. One diagnosis at age 2 was autism. At that time, autism was considered a rare disorder affecting 1 in 10,000 children. Today, autism affects 1 in 44 children – and we have the internet to find information and resources.

The most important thing I’ve done as a parent is grow up fast and take initiative upon realizing that my son was not only vulnerable medically, but I was also in danger financially. When he received his autism diagnosis, private insurance quit paying – for all his medical bills. He wasn’t eligible for Medicaid, which would not have paid for autism treatment anyway. In fact, he was even denied early intervention services and services from the health department. No funders would pay for treatment for a child with an autism diagnosis.

The Colorado legislature passed my first private insurance treatment of autism statute in 1993. Eli was 5 years old. In 1995, a new Medicaid Waiver program modeled to provide services based on my son’s needs was passed which provided respite care – and I could work again.

Over the years I spearheaded dozens of Colorado statutes including 8 more private insurance funding laws, 2 Medicaid Waiver statutes, the creation of the Colorado Autism Commission, Early Intervention funding, and many other laws to ensure the disability journey for other families didn’t include going broke.

To be effective in changing our world, I had to show up. My community service included Chairing the Colorado Autism Commission and the Division of Insurance Consumer Council, serving on multiple disability nonprofit Boards of Directors and Governor appointed Advisory Councils and Task Forces. I was the Executive Director for the Autism Society of Colorado which, under my direction, won the Small Nonprofit of the Year from the Denver Business Journal.

I also needed to raise Colorado Autism Awareness. I created autism presentations seen in person by more than 5,000 people, produced 8 autism films, authored more than 100 articles.

There’s more, but my community achievements were never as important to me as being Eli’s Mom. I worked anxiously and constantly to improve Eli’s health outcomes – and his now relatively robust health and his daily joy in his life are my most important life achievements.

What should our readers know about your business?
What I learned from running and growing the Autism Society for a couple of decades is I possess the “planning” gene. I know how unpredictable funding and benefits are – what can be given can be taken away. I have Financial and Disability Benefits Plan A, B, and C for Eli and me.

I launched Lehman Disability Planning, LLC, (www.lehmandp.com), to coach parents of children with all kinds of disabling conditions on critical thinking skills about benefits and how to create a plan for now and the future. I work collaboratively with financial advisors and attorneys as there are three components in this kind of planning: financial, legal and disability.
I invented my company’s products and services based on my lived experience and the experiences of many hundreds of other families. I am proud of the parent testimonials posted on my website.

But my capacity and geographic reach are limited. And I know that families nationwide struggle mightily to deal with the lifelong challenges of their children’s and adult children’s disabilities.

I met Emeric Wigand. Emeric has an entrepreneur’s passion for building successful businesses in dysfunctional and fragmented industries. And he wanted to combine that with his goal to build a new company with a strong social mission.

Emeric introduced me to Steve Foster who shared the desire to start a business that could make an impact. Steve has a network second to none and is a co-founder of a company that morphed into a leading SAAS platform for corporate ethical and regulatory compliance.

Emeric and I started exploring options for delivering comprehensive lifetime advocacy, navigation, and planning to parents through an internet market network. ADAN (www.adan.net) was formally launched but the strategy continues to be shaped by network engagement and learning; continuous customer segment, industry expert and advisor team interaction and feedback.

Milestone revelations occurred along the way and have informed the cornerstones of the ADAN Platform today.
1. Information is not a sticky product. Problem solving is. Best Possible Outcomes is our focus, not outputs.
2. A Market Network attracts both parents and Subject Matter Experts. Adan connects them through problem-solving tools and secure communities.
3. Data Collection occurs through engagement to produce unique User Profile Builds which identifies User Connections to personalized tools and Groups.

ADAN will be accessible in 2022.
Adan’s Founders, Emeric, Steve and Betty, are excited about continuing this amazing journey!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Creating itineraries for visiting the Denver Metro area and trips in Colorado is my passion. Assuming this trip is with my besties, we will embark on a hot springs tour. I love to cook, so, we will stay in lodging that includes ways for me to bring our homemade food so we can spend our days hiking, soaking and relaxing.

My current fav’s are Cottonwood Hot Springs (so many great hikes from Cottonwood Pass), and Joyful Journey Hot Springs. Shoutout to the Ute Trail Motel in Hot Sulphur Springs – and the very caring, hard-working owners and staff that have brought me much joy every visit.

I have always had delicious meals at Ya Ya’s and their associated BBQ restaurant, Burnt Ends. I am from Kansas City. I love BBQ. And Poppies – consistently affordable and tasty – a Denver mainstay.

Close in, the fabulous City and State Parks: Roxborough, Castlewood Canyon, Cherry Creek, Barr Lake.

There’s not space to include all my destination choices – I have many – I love living in Denver.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Eli’s disabilities helped me find a new tribe: Disability Moms and our supporters who wanted to change our landscape. Eli has always had a close dedicated team of professionals – Eli’s improvements are a team effort. I have enjoyed the support of many professional advisors and business colleagues.

I have a long list of individuals who deserve recognition. It is not possible for me to name just a few.

Website: www.adan.net; www.lehmandp.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/betty-lehman-218b681/

Youtube: https://hickenlooper.com/new-ad-eli-highlights-personal-story-of-family-helped-by-hickenloopers-health-care-work/

Other: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/awed-by-awareness_b_569300

Image Credits
Emily Spetosky, Craig McNeil, Denver Life Magazine

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