Visit SNA at Autism Society Convention

“Ask an Attorney” During Half-Day Workshop

Six members of the Special Needs Alliance (SNA) will play an active role at the 44th Annual Autism Society National Conference and Exposition, from July 10-13, in Pittsburgh. A half-day pre-conference workshop, beginning at 1:00 on July 10, will offer attendees ample opportunity to get advice from practitioners who tackle special needs legal issues on a daily basis. Two of the attorneys have sons with autism, and a third has a brother on the spectrum.

“Introduction to Special Needs Planning: Where do we start?” will begin with an overview of public benefits and comments concerning the Affordable Care Act and the ABLE Act, proposed legislation that seeks to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. Individual breakout sessions will tackle guardianship and its alternatives, adult services, and special needs trusts (SNTs).

“It’s important to begin developing a flexible plan for your loved one as soon as possible, because one never knows when something might happen to primary caregivers,” says Jim Caffry (VT), whose 13-year-old son, Duncan, is on the spectrum and who will be one of the workshop speakers. “When you begin, there’ll be lots of unknowns for you to fill in as the years go by. But while there’s no such thing as a perfect plan, delaying is definitely a bad plan. Attending a national conference is a great opportunity to learn what services are available throughout the country. That knowledge can be powerful as you advocate for a family member in your home state.”

A full hour will be set aside during the workshop for Q&As. “Because people with autism have such varying personal situations, we want to give attendees plenty of time to ask about their specific issues,” says Brian Rubin (IL), whose 32-year-old son, Mitch, has autism, and whose other son, Benji (IL), will also be a panelist. “We won’t just be “talking at” our audience. If they wish, they can continue the conversation by visiting us at the SNA booth in the exhibit hall.”

Other participating SNA attorneys will be Julian Gray (PA), Marielle F. Hazen (PA) and Janet Lowder (OH).