Loud and Clear: A Special Needs Conversation

A Career on Her Own Terms: Attorney with Special Needs Beats the Odds

By Elisa Dillard Rainey, Esq. Amanda Carter targeted a law career early on. The unemployment rate among individuals with disabilities is alarmingly high, and their job search can be frustrating. But a fellow attorney, Amanda Carter, knew what she wanted and went for it. “I have cerebral palsy and require full-time attendants, who are paid […]

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Posted: May 21st, 2019 | No Comments »

Full Funding of the IDEA Critical for Our Children

By Linda M. Gorczynski, Esq. It’s critical that we get increased funding for special education services in order to meet the needs of students with disabilities and achieve compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Attempts have been made to make legislative changes for years, but it hasn’t happened. We all need to […]

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Posted: May 20th, 2019 | No Comments »

Letter of Intent Gives Valuable Advice to Future Caregivers

By Glynis A. Ritchie, Esq. Parents of children with special needs have lots on their plates. When it comes to estate planning, the tasks at hand can be complicated, and the choices parents have to make – how to provide for their child’s needs when they are not around and whom to name as fiduciaries […]

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Posted: April 1st, 2019 | No Comments »

Looking Ahead: Transition Planning for Life After School

By Sage C. Hart, Esq. High school graduation is a milestone for any student, but when a young adult has disabilities, it ushers in a period of even greater change. While attending public school, students with special needs are legally entitled to a wide array of services, but once they leave (by the age of […]

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Posted: February 11th, 2019 | 1 Comment »

Bullying and Kids with Disabilities

By Judith L. Smith, Esq. Bullying in its many forms is a serious, all-too-common problem, and social media has moved this abuse online. The bullying may involve insults, threats or physical violence, with results that range from damaged self-esteem to poor academic performance to bodily injury. Children with special needs are more frequently targeted by […]

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Posted: January 28th, 2019 | 6 Comments »

Wings for All® Takes the Fear Out of Flying

Barbara Hughes, center, Vice President of The Arc Dane County, chaired the stunningly successful event.  From left, Danielle Sendelbach and Bianca McCormick from Barbara’s office were two of the many volunteers who helped out. On Saturday, October 20, nearly 50 children and adults with special needs, along with adult companions, braved high winds and the […]

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Posted: December 4th, 2018 | 2 Comments »

Stress-Free Holidays for Kids with Special Needs

By Ann McGee Green, Esq. Seasonal festivities can bring stress along with the joy. Schedule upheaval, unfamiliar activities, travel and family visits can cause conflict and anxiety for anyone. For loved ones with special needs, who may have sensory challenges or issues with transition, this time of year can be especially tough. But there are […]

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Posted: November 19th, 2018 | No Comments »

Preparing for Dementia

By Sally L. Schoffstall, CELA Dementia is on the rise with the aging of baby boomers. Nearly six million individuals in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, while others deal with cognitive decline related to Parkinson’s disease, stroke, Downs Syndrome or other medical conditions. The changes are often wrenching, as parents become vulnerable and adult children grieve […]

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Posted: October 22nd, 2018 | 1 Comment »

Roundup: Decisions for Minors/Aid & Attendance/SNT Cost-Benefit

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with the wide-ranging issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling from member blogs and newsletters… Who Can Make Decisions for a Minor Child with Special Needs? In these days of blended families, who can represent the interests of a […]

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Posted: October 8th, 2018 | No Comments »

Mother and Son Activists Shared Story in Far from the Tree

Emily Kingsley and son Jason are prominently featured in Andrew Solomon’s Far from the Tree, recognized by The New York Times as one of the 10 Best Books of 2012, and in the film of the same name. Far from the Tree explores family relationships when a child is significantly different from parents. Jason has […]

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Posted: September 12th, 2018 | 3 Comments »

Obstacles Remain to Exercise of Voting Rights by Individuals with Disabilities

By Emily A. Donaldson, CELA As mid-term elections approach, the stakes are high for individuals with disabilities. Budget battles are being waged at every level of government, threatening Medicaid, SSDI, Medicare and other programs that are essential to their quality of life. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, Americans with Disabilities Act and Help American […]

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Posted: August 13th, 2018 | No Comments »

When Should a Special Needs Trust Be Updated?

By Daniel M. Surprenant, CELA Special needs trusts (SNTs) are financial instruments designed to enhance quality of life for individuals with disabilities by supplementing the government benefits available to them. Assets held in SNTs aren’t counted when determining an individual’s eligibility for means-tested public programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Since personal […]

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Posted: July 24th, 2018 | 6 Comments »

Five Activities to Improve Your Child’s Communication Skills

By Lisa Orlando, Invo-Progressus Communication is such a fundamental part of who we are that we can take for granted how often we use these skills. Speaking, listening, questioning and responding are all a part of our daily lives. That is why so much emphasis is placed on communication regarding your child with special needs. […]

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Posted: June 17th, 2018 | No Comments »

Housing: A Big Piece of Puzzle for Ensuring Your Loved One’s Future

By Desiree Kameka, Autism Housing Network As the project leader for the Autism Housing Network, I have visited over 100 residential options and social enterprises across our country. I have seen the great, the good, the bad, and the “I thought this was a good idea.” Abraham Maslow was right when he listed “shelter” as […]

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Posted: May 30th, 2018 | 3 Comments »

Roundup: Back to Work/Money Management/SSI

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with the wide-ranging issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling from member blogs and newsletters.. Transitioning Back to Work After Receiving Disability Benefits Learn about government programs designed to ease you back into the workforce, while protecting certain benefits. Money Management […]

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Posted: May 20th, 2018 | No Comments »

Staying Independent

Older Adults with Developmental Disabilities Want to Age in Place Pamela Merkle is executive director of the St. Louis-based, nonprofit Association on Aging with Developmental Disabilities (AADD). “Individuals with developmental disabilities are living longer, thanks to advances in healthcare.” she begins. “For the first time, large numbers are outliving caregiver parents, and because they seldom […]

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Posted: April 3rd, 2018 | 1 Comment »

Dual Eligible Beneficiaries Under Medicare and Medicaid

By Amy C. O’Hara, CELA There are an estimated 11.4 million individuals receiving services through both Medicare and Medicaid. These individuals, or “dual eligible beneficiaries,” are among some of the most vulnerable members of the patient population, due to a combination of low income and a high incidence of chronic health conditions. However, dual eligible […]

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Posted: March 18th, 2018 | 2 Comments »

In Case You Missed This: Choosing Summer Camp for Kids with Disabilities

The summer camp experience can benefit a child with special needs and parents alike, but they’re likely to feel anxious ahead of time. For kids, it’s fear of the unfamiliar. For parents, it’s worries about having someone who doesn’t really know their child suddenly take charge. But if properly researched, spending time at a day […]

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Posted: February 12th, 2018 | No Comments »

Don’t Let an Emergency Find You Unprepared

By Elizabeth L. Gray, CELA While snowstorms, fires and other disasters can plunge entire communities into chaos, the challenges for those with disabilities are often even more acute. But with careful planning, individuals with special needs and their families can reduce the disruption. Get Informed Begin by contacting your local emergency management office to understand […]

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Posted: January 8th, 2018 | No Comments »

Paid Family and Medical Leave: The Disability Angle

By TJ Sutcliffe, Director, Income & Housing Policy, The Arc The need for paid family and medical leave is universal. Nearly all of us at some point will need time away from work to care for a family member’s or our own serious medical condition, or to welcome a new baby or new child into […]

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Posted: December 10th, 2017 | No Comments »