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 | No 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 | 2 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 | 5 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 | 1 Comment »

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 »

SNA Members at The Arc Convention

Members of the Special Needs Alliance played an active role at The Arc’s recent convention in San Diego. Mary E. O’Byrne, SNA board member, shared the podium with Robin Shaffert, The Arc’s Senior Executive Officer, Individual and Family Support, during a popular session on ABLE accounts and special needs trusts (SNTs). Mary, along with SNA […]

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Posted: November 28th, 2017 | No Comments »

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 […]

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Posted: October 31st, 2017 | No Comments »

Special Ed Needs Flexibility

By Krista S. Peyton, Esq., Guest Blogger Families find it difficult to navigate the special ed system. In my experience, there’s a tendency for school districts to push a one-size-fits-all model, with parents expected to accept what’s on offer. My son, Maxwell, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, and through grade nine, […]

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Posted: September 19th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

In Case You Missed This: Adopting A Child With Special Needs

In case you missed this: Adopting a Child with Special Needs By Mary L. Waltari, Esq. There’s a growing need by children with disabilities for permanent, loving homes.If you think you’re ready to adopt a child with special needs, it’s important to the child, yourself and your family to research the financial, educational, medical and legal […]

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Posted: September 4th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

Buying A Vehicle With Funds From A Pooled Special Needs Trust

By Joanne Marcus, MSW, Executive Director, Commonwealth Community Trust Buying a vehicle is a big financial decision involving research and patience.   For individuals receiving Medicaid and SSI (Supplemental Security Income), the rules allow for ownership of one vehicle without jeopardizing benefit eligibility.  When an individual has adequate funds in a pooled special needs trust (PSNT), […]

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Posted: July 6th, 2017 | 2 Comments »