Administrative Burdens When A Family Member With Special Needs Lives With Parents Or Siblings

Administrative Burdens When A Family Member With Special Needs Lives With Parents Or Siblings

In a perfect world, we would all live interdependently in safe houses in our desired neighborhoods, feel integrated with the community, and be close to our loved ones. Achieving this ideal housing situation is difficult for anyone, but for an individual with special needs, the challenge is magnified by the complications of maintaining government benefits, finding quality support personnel, accessing transportation, and locating a community with compassionate neighbors. ...

Welcoming the ABLE Act

Welcoming the ABLE Act

Congress has done little since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to improve the lives of those with disabilities. With the one exception being the Affordable Care Act of 2010, which was not directed at the special needs community, it is difficult to find other legislation that specifically benefits this group. Now we have the 2014 Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. This article highlights what the Act is, what it isn’t, and who stands to benefit from its existence. First, it is important to acknowledge that the Act will have very little impact on an individual with special needs achieving a better life experience. The Act’s title was ...

Beware of the Language Minefield

Beware of the Language Minefield

 Language is powerful. It can be used to inspire and empower, but also to dehumanize and ostracize. In the special needs community, we face a language minefield that creates challenges for even our best-spoken advocates. We hope that this article generates discussions, reflections, and actions that contribute to an improved use of language in the special needs community. The children’s rhyme, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me,” first appeared in 1862. While the motivation for the rhyme is to encourage children not to retaliate with physical actions when they are taunted or called names, the reality is that words and phrases can do damage and their ef ...

A boy, his sister and Down syndrome

A boy, his sister and Down syndrome

Originally Featured in the Chicago Tribune Written by Randi Gillespie It had been a typical morning in our house — kids waking up way too early to raid the freezer for frozen chocolate chip waffles instead of cereal or fruit. I overhear their voices giggling and making silly jokes to one another while playing "Minecraft" on their iPads. They are adversaries one moment and each other's greatest champions the next. But all good things must come to an end, and Liam, 7, became upset with Maddy, 9. She was not following his rules and was becoming too silly for him. She persisted with her ways, ignoring his rules. She was unaware that her actions were pushing his buttons. Liam was losing hi ...

Collaboration Drives Success in School

Collaboration Drives Success in School

The school year brings with it a chance for growth, new experiences, and the comfort of routine. It is also often the time when the greatest progress is made in a child’s development. Given the unique challenges of navigating the school system for children with special needs, we wanted to share our insights on how to maximize the potential benefits available through your school district. ...

The North Shore Weekend article about Oak Wealth Advisors

The North Shore Weekend article about Oak Wealth Advisors

Financial firm focuses on future of those with special needs …Walther compares himself to a pilot for the families. "Ninety percent of flights are not on course but over 99 percent land safely", he said.  "People have retirement goals, and we can't forget about their needs.  Maybe your goal is for all your kids to go to college, or maybe it's that you want your child with special needs to have safe housing and oversight and opportunities for employment.  These are not mutually exclusive. " At her desk down the hall, director of Special Needs Planning Randi Gillespie works with Walther's clients to navigate everything except their financial needs.  She connects families with social ...

It’s not just a job, it’s_____________.

It’s not just a job, it’s_____________.

 The U.S. Navy concludes their marketing pitch above with “an adventure.” While their focus is on recruiting for military service, the message in their ad should resonate with everyone in the special needs community. Employment for those with special needs is much more than a source of economic benefit. Individuals with disabilities want the same thing as everyone else -- to live happy, fulfilling and productive lives. Meaningful work is a key factor in achieving that goal. In the 2011 United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) Case for Inclusion study, it was reported that approximately half of Americans with disabilities want to work. Jennifer Mizrahi, President of the non-profit RespectAbilty USA ...

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