How to Fight Bullying

By Judith C. Saltzman Parents increasingly recognize the dangers of bullying. One nationwide survey finds that 30 percent of parents with kids ages 12-17 fear bullying more than kidnapping! Children with disabilities are even more at risk. Another study finds that those with autism are three times more likely than neurotypical children to become victims. [...]


A Self-Advocate’s Perspective

Melanie Courtney, a legal assistant with Frascogna Courtney PLLC, has conducted training in self-advocacy for The Arc of Mississippi. The Special Needs Alliance recently interviewed her concerning this growing movement within the disability community. SNA: How would you define "self-advocacy"? Melanie: Self-advocacy is about empowering someone with a disability to have a voice, enabling them [...]


Sibling Perspectives on Special Needs

By Benjamin A. Rubin, Esq., LLM When a family member has special needs, siblings grow up fast. Parents sometimes speak of how life changed for them when they began caring for a child with disabilities, but for me, and for many siblings, the special needs household is our only frame of reference. Growing up, even [...]


Making a Difference with Sports

By Scott Suzuki, Esq. I've been involved with Special Olympics for over a decade. Although anyone can benefit from sports— building self-confidence and a sense of belonging while improving overall health and fitness, strength and coordination—for individuals with disabilities, there are added dimensions. Changing a Life When I first started coaching, one of the newest [...]


Advocacy in an Election Year

By Lois M. Zerrer It's an election year, and budget discussions at all levels of government are threatening decades of progress on behalf of individuals with disabilities. The stakes are high, and campaigning officials will be especially open to conversations with their constituents. If you've never before advocated with elected representatives, this is a good [...]


Better Advocacy Through Acronyms

The Voice is the email newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member James A. Caffry, Esq., a sole practitioner in Waterbury, Vermont. Jim's practice is concentrated in special needs planning and advocacy. One of Jim's three children, his eleven year old son, has autism and other special needs. Jim is a current member of the Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council, and a past member of the Vermont Autism Task Force and the Vermont Act 135 Autism Planning Committee. You can learn more about Jim, his firm and his practice at


Advocacy for Parents of Children with Disabilities

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Lois M. Zerrer, whose practice is in Springfield, Missouri. She focuses on estate planning, Medicaid, Medicare, probate and veteran's benefits. She has served as president of the Missouri Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and as chair of The Missouri Bar Elder Law Committee. She is the principal attorney in the Zerrer Elder Law Office, LLC, in Springfield.

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Remembering Harriet McBryde Johnson

You are reading The Voice, the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. Rather than our usual newsletter format (including tips, answers to reader's questions and explanations for special needs practitioners and families), this issue is a short memorial from the President of the Alliance to recognize the passing of a singular individual who advocated for all persons with disabilities. In fact, as President Andrew H. Hook, CELA notes, her advocacy transcended barriers originating from "disability" labels.


International Attention Focused on Disabilities

You are reading The Voice, a newsletter published by The Special Needs Alliance. Our purpose is to provide information--and answers--about special needs planning for family members and professionals. We hope this newsletter helps you. We would love to hear your questions, suggestions and comments; please feel free to e-mail us. We also encourage you to forward our newsletter to others who might benefit from the information here, or who might have similar questions.