SNA Public Policy: Advocating for Adult Children

The Voice® is prepared and distributed by the Special Needs Alliance (SNA). This installment was written by a consortium of members of the SNA’s Public Policy Committee. The Public Policy Committee through our public policy consultant, Brian Lindberg, work with members of Congress and congressional staff to educate and advocate on issues of importance to individuals with disabilities and their families. The Public Policy Committee will author periodic issues of the The Voice® to introduce our readers to the Public Policy efforts the SNA is directly involved in.

Disability Community Represents 20% of Voters

This post was authored by Jennifer L. Lile, CELA, of Krugliak, Wilkins, Giffiths & Dougherty, L.P.A., Canton Ohio. She is president of the Special Needs Alliance (SNA) and focuses her practice on special needs planning, elder law, estate planning and probate law. Pew Research reports that Americans consider the upcoming election to be the most [...]


Self-Advocate’s Golden Gate Adventure

Angela at the Golden Gate Bridge, which has long fascinated her. Late last year, we wrote about Angela Campbell’s approaching dream-come-true trip to see the Golden Gate Bridge. The award-winning self-advocate from Madison, Wisconsin, mentioned her longing to visit the iconic landmark during her acceptance speech at an event hosted by The Arc-Dane [...]


Mediation Promotes Relationships, Dignity and Choice

ROXANNE J. CHANG, JD, MS LLP, is an attorney specializing in elder and special needs law. She is also a Limited Licensed Psychologist, with a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology. Ms. Chang has experience in consultation and advocacy for persons with dementia, developmental disabilities, and other individuals with special needs. She also provides conflict resolution services, including mediation and conflict coaching. Ms. Chang has a solo private practice in Plymouth, Michigan.


“Wings for All” Activists Make a Dream Come True

(From left) Job Coach Kathy Walters and self-advocate Angela Campbell with the “boarding pass” for their round-trip flight to San Francisco. Angela Campbell, of Madison, Wisconsin, has a can-do attitude that touched the hearts of Wings for All sponsors and volunteers, inspiring them to make a dream come true. “I’m saving my money [...]


Special Needs Alliance Launches New, Enhanced Website

Streamlines Access for Families and Individuals with Special Needs to Connect with Attorneys and Showcases Extensive Special Needs Resources Tucson, AZ – August 29, 2019 – The Special Needs Alliance (SNA), a national organization comprised of attorneys in the practice of special needs, disability and elder law, today launched its new and enhanced website aimed [...]


Call to Action! Ask Federal Legislators to Co-Sponsor Bills Benefiting People with Disabilities

The Special Needs Alliance and other prominent advocacy groups have long supported two pieces of legislation that would greatly benefit individuals with disabilities. Now we're asking you to help sign up additional co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (H.R. 2123/S.1672) This bipartisan legislation was introduced in [...]


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 [...]


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 [...]


Robert Fechtman Elected President of Special Needs Alliance®

Robert Fechtman, Fechtman Law Office, Indianapolis, Indiana, has been elected president of the Special Needs Alliance (SNA). "SNA is concerned about potential cuts to public benefits and attacks on Obamacare," says Fechtman. "Many of the individuals and families we serve rely on needs-based public benefits programs, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and [...]


Recommended Books for the Special Needs Community, Second Installment

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Laurie Hanson, Esq., a shareholder in the Minneapolis, Minnesota elder law firm of Long, Reher, Hanson, & Price, P.A. The firm’s focus is to provide individuals who are aging or living with disabilities positive strategies to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. Laurie concentrates her practice exclusively in the areas of government benefit eligibility, special needs trusts, trust and public benefit litigation, estate planning and planning for incapacity. She is a past president of the Elder Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, a member of the SNA board of directors, and is repeatedly named a super lawyer in the field of elder law by her peers.


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 [...]


Connecting Through Sports

By Scott Suzuki, Esq. Scott Suzuki (in white shirt) has been a Special Olympics basketball coach for over 15 years. The recent Winter Olympics reminded us that competitive athletics can bridge differences of many kinds. Special Olympics, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this summer, has long understood that sports can be a powerful mechanism [...]


Travelers with Special Needs Learn Ins and Outs of Airports

Travel can be especially stressful for individuals with disabilities…or it can open doors. During October, members of the Special Needs Alliance participated in programs in Chicago, Houston and Phoenix that were designed to introduce those with special needs to the airport experience. The Houston and Phoenix events were part of a nationwide program, Wings for [...]


Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: A Time to Reflect

By Elisa Dillard Rainey, CELA Since 1987, when President Ronald Reagan declared March to be “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month,” this has been a time to celebrate progress and recognize the remaining challenges facing those with special needs. One of the biggest victories has been the increased involvement of individuals with disabilities in mainstream life. I [...]


Kids with Special Needs Learn about Air Travel

By Mary Alice Jackson, Esq. (From left) Joyce Fossmeyer, Kristina Ferguson and Mary Alice Jackson at the airport. It was a Saturday afternoon in early September when my staff and I arrived at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to participate in "Wings for All," an opportunity for children with autism and other developmental disabilities to practice [...]


Building Lyn’s Future Plan: Through the Lockes’ Eyes

By Taylor Woodard, MPAff & MSSW, Program Associate, The Arc Janet Locke tossed her books down on the counter and got up her nerve. "Hey, Mom, there is something Lyn and I want to discuss with you and Dad. You two have done so much for Lyn all these years, making sure she had every [...]


Political Advocacy by Parents of Children with Disabilities

This issue of the Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Lois M. Zerrer. Lois has practiced Elder and Special Needs Law in Springfield, Missouri for over thirteen years and speaks frequently on these topics for Special Needs professionals and families.


Justice Department Upholds Rights of Seniors with Disabilities

It was in 2011 that individuals living at Harbor's Edge, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Norfolk, asked a Special Needs Alliance member attorney to file a discrimination suit on their behalf. The facility was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Housing Act, having barred residents of its assisted living [...]