Choosing Summer Camp for Kids with Disabilities

By Mary Waltari, Esq. 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 [...]


Roundup: When You Suspect a Disability/Guardianship Mediation/Nursing Home Discharges

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 of posts from member blogs and newsletters. When You Suspect Your Child May Have a Disability... It can be overwhelming to realize that your child may have a disability. Read tips [...]


Katie Beckett Waiver Brings Home Care to Kids with Serious Disabilities

By Tara Anne Pleat, Esq. In many states, the Medicaid program can generally be seen as having a strong institutional bias when it comes to coverage of long-term care, forcing many families to place loved ones in skilled care facilities or similar institutional settings, despite longstanding efforts to serve individuals with disabilities in mainstream settings. [...]


Celebrating the Holidays When a Child Has Special Needs

By Jo-Anne Herina Jeffreys, Esq. Holiday crowds, twinkling lights and unfamiliar scents can confuse and even frighten a child with disabilities. The season’s disruptions can be particularly painful for those who don’t handle change well. But with a little planning, you can contain the stress. Prepare Your Child Preparing your child in advance by revisiting [...]


Glut1 Deficiency Syndrome: A Little-Understood Disability

By Emma Hemness, CELA Before representing the Special Needs Alliance (SNA) at the Glut1 Deficiency Syndrome Foundation's annual conference in Orlando, I knew very little about the disease being discussed. Unfortunately, my lack of awareness wasn't unusual. According to the National Institutes of Health, since first identified in 1991, only a few hundred cases of [...]


Back-to-School Tips for Children with Special Needs

By Tara Anne Pleat, Esq. As a new school year approaches, nerves often take center stage for many families who have children with special needs. Parents and children alike worry about teachers, the other children, homework, lunchtime and much, much more. Get Ahead of the Curve Before classes begin make arrangements to take your child [...]


Making the Most of Summer Vacation

Who doesn't love summer vacation? But when a child has special needs, all that free time brings challenges. Youngsters who thrive on routine can find schedule changes disorienting. Some may become socially isolated without classes to attend. And, of course, if their life skills and academic work aren't being consistently reinforced, months of hard-won progress [...]


Medicare Observation Status: Denying Medicare Coverage for Skilled Nursing Home Care

There is an increasing trend to admit Medicare beneficiaries for "observation" as outpatients rather than admitting them as regular hospital patients. This practice may prevent patients from obtaining proper inpatient and post-hospital care under Medicare. Since many individuals with disabilities depend on Medicare as their primary health insurance coverage, this practice can have a serious [...]


Child Support for an Adult Child with Disabilities

The Voice is the email newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Craig C. Reaves, CELA of Reaves Law Firm, PC. in Kansas City, Missouri. Holding the CELA (Certified Elder Law Attorney) designation from the National Elder Law Foundation, he is a Past President and Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and a Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel (ACTEC). He is listed in Best Lawyers in America and has been designated as a Missouri Super Lawyer. Mr. Reaves is an adjunct professor of elder law at the law schools of the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He practices law in Kansas and Missouri with major emphasis in the areas of estate planning, elder law, special needs trusts, and planning for persons who have a disability.

Preparing Seniors for Long-Distance Travel

By Cindy Schaeffer, M.S., R.N., A.P.N., Travel Care & Logistics Inc. As a flight RN, I have assisted hundreds of seniors with air travel over the past 12 years, and I have come to recognize that many misconceptions prevail. While you can no longer "book a ticket and run," it's quite possible-with adequate planning-to arrange [...]


Through a Parent’s Lens

When a Child Has Special Needs By Mary Schmitt T. Smith, Esq. As a special needs attorney and a Mom of two adult sons with disabilities, I bring an added dimension of experiencing reality "in the trenches" to my work with clients. Yes, I know how it feels to receive a diagnosis you never anticipated [...]


Blog Roundup: Home and Community Care/Least Restrictive Environment/”Sole Benefit” SNT Distributions/Hospitals and Family Caregivers

HCBS--A Cost-Effective Method of Providing Care Home and community-based care is less expensive than nursing home care and has the potential to ease states' Medicaid burden. Read on. Does the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Work for Your Child? An inclusive environment isn't always the best educational solution for a student with special needs. Read [...]


Choosing the Right Nursing Home

By Martha C. Brown, CELA When a loved one of any age requires the round-the-clock care of a nursing home, it’s important to select one that fulfills both their medical and social needs. Each facility has its own culture, and since this will be your family member’s home, the environment should be a welcoming fit. [...]


Care Managers Can Reduce Family Pressures

By Franchelle C. Millender, CELA Working with a care manager can significantly lower family stress, providing reassurance that the right steps are being taken to ensure a loved one's quality of life. Care managers are often trained nurses, psychologists or social workers, and their familiarity with local services and supports can provide invaluable assistance to [...]


Home Care for Alzheimer’s

By Ruth Courtney, Richard A. Courtney, CELA, & Morris Klein, CELA In the U.S., 70 percent of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's are cared for at home, creating a stressful balancing act for family members. Care needs differ dramatically, shaped by the course of the loved one's disease, as Alzheimer's affects people differently. The caregiver's personal [...]


Caregiving in a Digital World

By Professor Naomi Cahn, Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School, & Rev. Amy Ziettlow, Affiliate Scholar with the Institute for American Values You've heard all of the advice about backing up your computer regularly, making sure that you have your passwords stored in a safe place, protecting yourself against digital [...]


Caregiver Burnout Hurts the Entire Family

By Heather Nadler, CELA, Tucker, GA Caregiver burnout is a destructive syndrome. Individuals become so involved with the ongoing needs of a loved one with disabilities that they neglect their own well-being. By placing unreasonable and unrelenting demands on themselves, they descend into a state of emotional and physical exhaustion. Their complete focus on the [...]


Caregiver Agreements Can Clarify Family Roles

By Leonard F. Berg, CELA Paying a relative for care of a frail parent or of an adult child or sibling with disabilities is an option that sometimes solves a variety of problems. "Caregiver agreements" can enable an individual with special needs to remain living within the community at the same time that it provides [...]