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How Do I Find a Special Needs Planning Lawyer?

This guest post is from Benjamin Rubin.

Let me begin by asking you a question. If you needed heart surgery, would you go to a general practitioner or an internist? Of course you would not entrust your heart surgery to anyone but an Blog-Special-Needs-Lawyer-Main-Landscapeexperienced heart surgeon. Likewise, when you need special needs planning, you shouldn’t be considering a general practitioner, or even a general estate planning attorney.

So, what is special needs planning?

The attorney should be experienced not only in drafting the two kinds of Special Needs Trusts, but also be experienced dealing with the Social Security Administration and the state when they review the trusts upon application for SSI and Medicaid, or upon redeterminations. The attorney should also be familiar with guardianship and the alternatives to guardianship, as well as how to navigate successfully the state’s children and adult services system for individuals with special needs including intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, mental illness, or those with significant physical disabilities. We often refer to it as the Illinois “maze” for services.

In addition, you want an attorney who will know, and advise you promptly, when new laws, rules, or procedures occur that impact your planning. You want to find an attorney or firm that can assist you, with compassion and understanding. Many special needs planning attorneys are themselves parents or siblings of individuals with special needs and “get it.”

I suggest that the first place to visit is www.specialneedsalliance.org, The Special Needs Alliance (SNA) is a national, not-for-profit, association of experienced special needs planning attorneys, a majority of whom are fellow parents or siblings. Membership is by invitation. I was honored last year to be invited as one of the youngest members to ever be invited to join the SNA and my father is honored to serve as President-Elect of that national organization. In fact, three of the four attorneys in our office are invited SNA Member Attorneys, and the fourth is an Affiliate SNA Member attorney.

Another source is www.specialneedsplanners.com. The Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP), a national group, is owned by three attorneys and is open to all attorneys, regardless of experience. My father was a charter member of that group and I remain a member of this group. There are many excellent special needs planning attorneys that are members of ASNP.

However, if you are considering an attorney who is not a member of Special Needs Alliance, I suggest you ask some questions such as:

  1. How many “third party special needs trusts” have you prepared in the past month? Six months?
  2. How many “first party special needs trusts” have you prepared in the past month? Six months?
  3. If the Social Security Administration or the State of Illinois has questions about the trust(s) you drafted, will you “handle” those questions without any additional cost/fees?
  4. How many adult guardianships have you handled and powers of attorney have you drafted for individuals with special needs in the past year?
  5. What other areas of practice does that attorney handle (check his or her web site)? That is, are they also doing business law, traffic, divorce, bankruptcy, personal injury, etc.? If they are practicing in other areas of law, then they will not be able to adequately stay current with the constant changes that take place in the area of special needs planning.

Finally, you are not just looking for someone to draft a document, but you are looking for a relationship with a firm that will be going down that road to peace of mind with you for many years.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!

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bnrbarmjrBenjamin Rubin limits his law practice, as does the firm of Rubin Law, to Special Needs Legal and Future Planning for his fellow families of individuals with special needs. Benji serves as Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Special Needs Planning Committee, is a member of both the Academy of Special Needs Planners and, by invitation, the Special Needs Alliance, the national not-for-profit association of special needs planning attorneys, is President of SIBS (Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters), the Illinois chapter of the national Sibling Leadership Network, which is an organization of adult siblings of individuals with intellectual disabilities, developmental Disabilities, mental illness, among other special needs, is a member of the Board of Directors of The Arc of Illinois, is a member of the Clearbrook Associate Board (Clearbrook is an agency serving over 7,000 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, one of whom is Benji’s brother Mitchell), is a member of the SEDOL (Special Education District of Lake County) Foundation Board of Directors, and serves on the Advisory Council of Encompass a joint venture that in partnership with Jewish Child & Family Services, Jewish United Fund, JVS Chicago, JCC Chicago, Keshet, and The Center for Enriched Living and Center for Independent Futures, seeks to provide adults with I/DD a full array of financially sustainable, community-based services and supports.Having Mitchell as a brother profoundly shaped who Benji is today, and thus the type of law he chose to practice. His personal experiences as a sibling offer a unique perspective into the responsibilities that come with caring for a sibling with special needs. Now, as an adult, those sometimes present and future responsibilities he will share with his older sister regarding his brother’s care, are a concern that he shares with all brothers and sisters of individuals with special needs.

An Open Letter to My Fellow Families of Children and Adults with Special Needs

This guest post is from Benjamin Rubin.

While all parents need to make legal and financial plans for the future, parents of children with special needs must plan for a much longer time period and must take into consideration many moreblog-special-needs-letter-main-portrait details, laws and government regulations. My brother, Mitch, now 35, has Autism, and resides in a Clearbrook Group Home or CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement).

My father, my law partner and founder of Rubin Law, has always talked about what he calls the “parent’s prayer” and I want to begin by quoting this prayer:

“We all wish, no pray, that our child with special needs will have a long, happy and enjoyable life, BUT we wish, we pray that we live at least one day longer than our child does, and that we will not have to place the “obligation” or “responsibility” upon others. We hope, we pray, that we will always “be there” for our child. However, as difficult as it is to think about our dying before our child with special needs, we must! We have that obligation to our child with special needs, to our other children, to our chosen guardians, and to ourselves.”

As a sibling, and president of the Illinois Chapter of the national Sibling Leadership Network, I share a common sense of future responsibility with my fellow siblings and while we may not talk about it, it is in the back of all of our minds. We ask ourselves, what will happen when my parents aren’t here anymore? Who will care for my sibling? The importance of our parents planning for our brother or sister with special needs is even more essential to us and our future reality than to our parents.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!

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bnrbarmjrBenjamin Rubin limits his law practice, as does the firm of Rubin Law, to Special Needs Legal and Future Planning for his fellow families of individuals with special needs. Benji serves as Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Special Needs Planning Committee, is a member of both the Academy of Special Needs Planners and, by invitation, the Special Needs Alliance, the national not-for-profit association of special needs planning attorneys, is President of SIBS (Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters), the Illinois chapter of the national Sibling Leadership Network, which is an organization of adult siblings of individuals with intellectual disabilities, developmental Disabilities, mental illness, among other special needs, is a member of the Board of Directors of The Arc of Illinois, is a member of the Clearbrook Associate Board (Clearbrook is an agency serving over 7,000 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, one of whom is Benji’s brother Mitchell), is a member of the SEDOL (Special Education District of Lake County) Foundation Board of Directors, and serves on the Advisory Council of Encompass a joint venture that in partnership with Jewish Child & Family Services, Jewish United Fund, JVS Chicago, JCC Chicago, Keshet, and The Center for Enriched Living and Center for Independent Futures, seeks to provide adults with I/DD a full array of financially sustainable, community-based services and supports.

Having Mitchell as a brother profoundly shaped who Benji is today, and thus the type of law he chose to practice. His personal experiences as a sibling offer a unique perspective into the responsibilities that come with caring for a sibling with special needs. Now, as an adult, those sometimes present and future responsibilities he will share with his older sister regarding his brother’s care, are a concern that he shares with all brothers and sisters of individuals with special needs.

Who Will Take Care of our Special Needs Children When We’re Gone? Who Will Provide for Them Financially?

This guest post is from Howard N. Suss, MBA.

These are questions my wife, Zahava, and I talk about. Our son Shimmy is a spunky, lively, 15-year-old young man with both Down Syndrome and Autism. Shimmy is usually the life of the partyblog-financial-main-landscape and can make everyone in a room laugh, but also exhibits extreme behavioral issues (Thank you North Shore Pediatric Therapy, for helping us improve in that area).

About two years ago, our family (my wife and 6 kids) attended a special needs family retreat and my older kids had an “ah ha” moment when they attended a siblings presentation (this is a presentation that was given by a social worker, who herself has a 30-year-old brother with Down Syndrome). This presenter opened their eyes to the probable eventuality that one day THEY were going to have to take care of Shimmy. That wasn’t something a 20-year-old was expecting to hear.

My kids, generally, are very good with Shimmy and they work really well with him as far as providing for his needs and well being, as well as his safety. Long term, I’m not really concerned about that. What I am concerned about, and what I have been counseling clients about for over 20 years, is the financial burden that I don’t want placed on the kids when they have to step in, one day.

I have been practicing long term financial and estate planning, in general, and special needs planning in particular, for over 20 years. My company, The Suss Financial Group, is located in Skokie, Il. and we have an attorney in the office (I am not an attorney, we often work together).

My client’s number one objective is to structure a plan to provide long term income for their special needs “child” without jeopardizing government benefits, such as SSI. We work on setting aside money, on a consistent basis so that there is money for the future. This is a must for everyone, but especially for families in our situation. Things can change, but as it appears now, our Shimmy will probably not be able to earn a living and that’s why planning is so important.

There isn’t one financial solution for every family. I would recommend that you sit down with both a special needs planning attorney and a financial planner to discuss your specifics, but here are some ideas that work for clients who have family members with special needs:

  • Systematic savings for the individual with special needs either in the bank or brokerage account
  • Stocks, bonds or mutual funds
  • Private investments
  • Life insurance

Usually life insurance is the way to go, because you can provide a large sum for not a lot of money. The thought is, that the real need for funds results when mom and/or dad pass away and in most cases that’s not until much later in life. We will discuss this in more detail in a future blog.

Please remember that you really don’t want to title any assets in your kid’s name as it will affect his/her government benefits.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!

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Howard N. Suss is a Registered Representative of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). OSJ: 2550 Compass Road Suite H, Glenview, IL 60026. 847-564-0123 Securities products offered through PAS, member FINRA, SPIC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. The Suss Financial Group is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. 2016-28772 Exp. 9/16

howard-sussHoward N. Suss, MBD, has been practicing long term financial and estate planning , in general, and special needs planning in particular, for over 20 years. His company, The Suss Financial Group, is located in Skokie, Il. Howard resides in Chicago with his wife Zahava and 6 kids (one married and 2 in college) as well as 3 younger kids at home, including Shimmy, who has both Down Syndrome and Autism.

 

Howard can be reached at:

The Suss Financial Group
8170 McCormick Blvd., Suite 102
Skokie, IL. 60076
(847) 674 9470 ext. 1, office
(847) 674 9473 fax
www.sussfinancial.com

Tips for Babysitting a Child with Special Needs

You agreed to babysit a child with special needs……now what? Babysitting any child that you are unfamiliar with can be a challenge initially, but going into the situation prepared and knowing what to expect will make the experience a positive one for everyone involved.

Prior to babysitting a child with special needs:Tips for babysitting a child with special needs.

Do your homework: Learn as much as you can about the child and her disability. If she has a diagnosis that you are unfamiliar with, find as much information as you can.

Meet the child: If possible, meet the child prior to the babysitting day. Observe how the parents interact with her, and what she enjoys doing.  This is also a good opportunity for her to get familiar with you.

ASK QUESTIONS! You need to go into the situation feeling comfortable and prepared.

Some basic questions you should ask parent include before babysitting a child with special needs:

  • How does your child communicate?
  • Does your child have any medical needs?
  • Are there any safety concerns?
  • Does your child have any dietary restrictions or allergies?
  • Are there any behavioral issues? If so, how should they be addressed?
  • Does your child have any physical limitations?
  • Does your child take any medication? If so, have the parents demonstrate the proper way to administer the medication.
  • What is reinforcing to your child? What are some favorite toys and activities?

 Tips for babysitting a child with special needs:

  • If the parents follow a certain routine with the child, stick to that routine as much as possible.
  • Think of a variety of activities that you can do with her during your time with her to avoid boredom. If you are having trouble thinking of activities, ask the parents for ideas.
  • For transitions such as going from a preferred activity to a non-preferred activity, use pre-transitional warnings (ex: you have 2 minutes left before it is time to clean up).
  • Keep your language simple, and give clear and concise directions.
  • Remain calm during challenging times. If she is getting upset or having a tantrum, and she see’s you becoming upset as well, her behavior is likely to escalate.
  • Have reasonable expectations. You don’t want to let children get away with not following through with demands, however, take into consideration any limitations she may have before placing the demand.
  • Follow the child’s lead. If she is having fun spinning in circle, spin in circles with her and then make a game out of it. If she prefers sitting quietly alone, do not push her to interact with you.
  • Most importantly, have fun!

For other tips on getting started with babysitting, click here to review our previous blog: A Beginning Babysitter’s Guide – Getting Started.

With 6 locations in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines, North Shore Pediatric Therapy (NSPT) is the only concierge health and wellness center for children and young adults, that combines the power of multiple disciplines, first class service, and inspiring results, that has become the company’s hallmark. Deemed a Thought Leader in pediatric therapy, NSPT brings Peace of Mind to thousands of children and their families with its invigorating blend of positive environment, heroic staff, and blossoming kids.  NSPT provides the ultimate discovery that challenges can be overcome, and happiness restored.  Our team is comprised of Neuropsychology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Social Work, Nutrition, and Academic Specialists.  Visit us at www.nspt4kids.com.

Plan Ahead this Easter and Passover For Your Special Needs Child

Easter and Passover are special times during the year in which friends and families get together for a form of celebration. For many easter and passover families, these are happy times in which the event is eagerly anticipated; however, for families with children who have special needs, this can serve as a time of increased stress and potentially fear. These parents often worry about how their children will behave and react to these situations.

Below are some helpful tips that parents may utilize to make the special occasion as stress-free as possible:

  • Let the host know in advance what to expect and what behaviors the child may display. If the host has children, provide information in a kid-friendly manner so that they will be prepared.
  • Prepare your child by creating a social story or script in which the day’s events are planned and sorted out. Utilize visual schedules to help reinforce the child about what the day will look like.
  • Pick battles. Many children with sensory needs will refuse to wear a suit or dress. Plan ahead basics, such as clothing.
  • Set a time limit to the visit. If you know your child is unable to handle social situations or environments in which there is a high amount of action for more than an hour, plan on leaving within an hour of arriving. If you, as a parent, want to stay longer, anticipate this and have a babysitter or caregiver prepared to pick up the child.

Family get-togethers and religious celebrations do not necessarily need to be a fearful or anxiety-provoking event. Remember, you know your child best. If you believe that the situation may be problematic, it most likely will. Anticipate this and create strategies to ensure success for more enjoyable events

Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

6 Ways to Support your Child through a Dining-Out Experience

I worked in the restaurant industry for many years as a hostess as well as a waitress. I recently observed a family out at dinner on a Saturday night. After seeing some of the behaviors of their son and hearing some feedback from their waiter, it became obvious to me that this family had a child with special needs.  Shortly after ordering food, the family had to request that their food be boxed up to take home instead of eating at the restaurant. I found this to be very unfortunate, as there were many actions the restaurant could have taken to accommodate this family’s needs.

Mother and daughter restaurant

Eating out at a restaurant is like participating in a dance. Everyone needs to know the right steps to make the dance smooth and make sure no one’s toes are stepped on. What diners don’t understand is that they are very much a part of this dance. Typically, waiters are able to read their tables and determine their needs. As a server, I am able to determine the timing and tempo desired by diners and make sure their food is delivered appropriately. Knowing what accommodations you can ask for is important.

The following tips will better prepare you to make the requests you need. A restaurant staff should be able to accommodate these needs no matter what time of day:

Know the menu

Before going out to a restaurant, look at possible food items you would like to order. You do not need to pre-order your food as cravings change when you get to the restaurant, but becoming familiar with the available foods will help make an order quicker. This can also assist in talking to your children about the restaurant. They could choose what they want to eat and become excited about going! It will also make an unfamiliar environment feel more familiar.

Request a quiet table

Request a table in a quiet area that has some space for movement. Try to avoid tables in the middle of dining areas or ones that are far from the exit or bathroom.

Call ahead and ask about existing reservations

Parties of 15 or more tend to be very loud and take up a lot of the dining space. Avoid going to restaurants during the time of the party. Once my restaurant had a reservation for 70 people! It took up the entire dining space. Also, the time it takes for the kitchen to prepare the food was extended for other diners in the restaurant at that time.  From the time the waiters placed the food order, it took the kitchen one full hour to make it!

Order everything all at once

Order your drinks and food all at the same time. Waiters control the pace of your meal and how soon your food arrives.  Let your waiter know what your dining experience looks like.  Do you want your food all at once?  Do you want your child’s food first?  If you need your meal fast, just inform them and they can make it happen. Restaurants are able to deliver food within 10-12 minutes of ordering, maybe sooner.

Tell your waiter about your child’s needs

Be an advocate for your child. Create a “menu” of your child’s needs before going to the restaurant. For example, you can say, “my name is _____. I like to have my food delivered quickly. When this does not happen, I can become upset. When I am upset, it may look like this­­­_______.”  By doing this, your waiter will understand your child’s needs and can work to have them met. This also helps further prepare your child for going out to eat.

Be prepared

Bring tabletop activities for your child to enjoy while waiting for the food to be delivered. Perhaps ask for a table with extra space so that there is plenty of room on the table for cups, plates, and activities.  Also, talk with your child ahead of time about the restaurant experience. Create a visual schedule to follow and label the dining expectations.  First, we sit down, then the server takes our order,  then we receive our drinks, then we color/read/watch a show for a certain amount of time ( you can ask your server how long the food will take),  then we receive our food,  and finally we eat.

Knowing what accommodations you can ask for is important.  By knowing these tips, you will be better prepared to make the requests you need to make your “dance” smooth.

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How to Teach your Child with Sensory Processing Difficulties How to Ride a Bike

Learning to ride a bike can be a scary and overwhelming adventure for both the parents and the child involved!  There are many components required for bike riding, such as motor planning, body awareness, trunk control, balance, self-confidence, following directions, safety awareness, timing, and sequencing.  However, one of the best things about bike riding is that the child is typically very motivated and excited to do it, as he sees his friends or other children in the neighborhood doing so already.

SPD Child riding a bike

Below are several strategies on how to get started:

  • Practice lots of balance activities:  balance is a huge part of bike riding; therefore, it is important to strengthen these skills by challenging your child’s ability to maintain various positions including standing on one leg, sustaining yoga poses, walking across balance beams, or kneeling on an unstable surface such as the bosu ball.
  • Incorporate a variety of activities with wheels:  while being able to ride a bike independently might be the ultimate goal, it is beneficial to incorporate other similar skill sets into your child’s play experience.  This will help you and your child to take the emphasis off of the fact that he does not know how to ride a bike and help to focus on the excitement of trying new things (e.g. scooter, skate board, tricycle, roller skates, etc.).  Similarly, your child might really excel at one of these activities, in which this activity can then be used as a confidence booster when the child has already mastered it.
  • Practice inside:  have your child practice simply balancing on the bike/sitting on the bike in a safe environment, such as inside (e.g. basement or playroom/living room if appropriate).  Place large pillows/beanbags next to the bike so the child feels secure, and if he falls, he will crash into the pillows.
  • Involve different family members/friends:  bike riding can be a very complex task; therefore, it can be extremely beneficial to involve different family members/friends to help with the process. Different people have different strategies and ways of motivating and sometimes one strategy will really hit home for your child.  Similarly, then the same parent and child won’t get so frustrated with one another.
  • Visual schedule:  help your child to make a visual schedule/calendar to illustrate when the child will start practicing and what skill he will work on each day (e.g. getting onto bike; peddling with both legs; ride to the corner etc); then the child can put an “x” or a sticker on the chart when he completes a day of practice, or practices a skill etc.  Visual schedules can be motivating for the child, and provide structure.
  • Take the pedals off:  taking the pedals off of the bike helps initially with learning the feel of the bike/balance. Take the bike to a small hill and have the child ride down without the pedals, this provides an introduction to moving and balancing on the bike without needing the coordination to pedal.

Learning a novel activity can be intimidating for a child, as it is a totally new experience and requires a significant amount of following directions and motor planning.  Similarly, teaching  novel activities can be nerve wracking for the parents, especially if it is a skill they have not taught before, like bike riding.  As parents, it is important to keep in mind that every child learns differently and requires different levels of support when learning a new skill.  Make sure to constantly praise your child during this challenging activity, even if it seems like the tiniest accomplishment (e.g. buckling bike helmet independently; putting kickstand down independently).  As always, feel free to talk with an occupational therapist or physical therapist if you need more individualized strategies or have other gross motor concerns for your child.

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Inclusion: How to Make it Work

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion has been a common school term for decades.  It is a philosophy and strategy in which students with special needs spend most or all of their time with non-disabled peers, rather than being educated in separate classrooms or schools.

When students are part of a full inclusion program, they receive additional academic assistance or instruction in the general education classroom, whenever possible. Happy child in school More commonly, though, schools provide education to the students in a variety of degrees from separated classrooms to mainstreaming (general education classes for less than half the day and usually for less academically rigorous classes such as PE, art, music, story time, etc), to inclusion, and determine the setting that would most likely help the students achieve their individualized educational goals.  Specialized services such as speech, OT, PT, and social work are provided outside the regular classroom, but can also be inclusive and have peers from the regular education classroom participate with them, when appropriate.

When I worked as a school social worker, I often created “friendship groups” where I would have three or four peers from the classroom join the child with special needs each week.  The regular education students would rotate from a list of all classmates whose parents gave consent.  Kids would beg to participate in these groups which often helped the regular education peers as much as the “targeted” student.  It was a positive experience for all because a trained professional facilitated the group as they navigated social skills, assertiveness training, and conflict resolution with small group instruction, role play, games, social stories, etc.  The peers from the regular education classroom had a fun time with their peer whom they thought could not keep up with them on the playground during recess and would often subsequently ask the child to join them.  I often recommend this type of group for children who have difficulty integrating with their peers.

Is Inclusion Right for Your Child?

Before deciding whether inclusion is right for your child, remember that schools are legislated to provide the least restrictive environment (LRE) for the child that will meet the child’s needs and Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  The child’s plan should indeed be individualized and always have the child’s best interest in mind.  A child with severe behavioral problems or severe sensory processing deficits may negatively impact the classroom setting within the regular education classroom and be disruptive, which would negatively impact the learning environment as well as friendships.  A child who is delayed in learning academic skills or who has behavioral or emotional struggles may need individualized instruction or small group instruction in order to make appropriate gains.  Placing that child strictly in a regular education classroom may create added anxiety for the child and may increase negative behaviors because of heightened stimulation in the larger regular education setting.  A child with these struggles may initially benefit from integrating with same-age peers in classes such as physical education, art, music, library, or computers with an aide present to help the child.

Best Practice for Inclusion Success

To obtain the optimal success rates of including the child within the regular education classroom, the school setting should provide:

  • tailored individualized education programs (IEPs)
  • adequate support and services for the student
  • diversity training and professional development for all educators working with the child
  • weekly planning times for all teachers on the child’s team to collaborate and create the optimal learning environment for the child and regular education peers
  • smaller class sizes, depending on the student’s special needs
  • training in cooperative learning, peer mentoring, and curriculum adaptation to address the child’s needs
  • funding to develop appropriate programs to continue to meet these needs
  • most importantly, ongoing communication with the child’s support team (educators, specialists, parents, and administrative officers) will provide the most appropriate programming to meet the child’s individualized academic, social, and behavioral needs.

To help your child with social skills, you will LOVE this blog about ipad and iphone apps for teaching social skills 

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Keeping Your Child With Special Needs Safe

How do I keep my child safe?
Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night screaming after a nightmare that my child wandered off and I never found him again.  Children with special needs have an even higher chance of wandering off. What do I do to keep him in my sight?
This week, we all read about Kahil Gray, the missing boy from Chicago with autism.  Kahil was found 3 days later, 26 miles from his home.  Kahil has autism and only speaks a few words.  Support for Autism symbolHis parents were lucky that someone spotted him days after he went missing.   What can be done to prevent losing our kids?

How to prevent your child from wandering off:

GPS tracking technology is often associated with fun gadgets and navigation for vehicles, but there are many potential security applications for this type of technology as well. Product and software developers have created a handful of tools to harness the power of GPS tracking for better safety and security, allowing parents to keep track of their children. http://securitynews.hubpages.com/hub/Safety-for-Wandering-Seniors-with-GPS-Tracking

Here are some additional tips to keep the kids from wandering:

  1. Use a tracking/watch device that you can purchase.
  2. Download an app for your child’s iPhone so you can track the phone.
  3. Have the child memorize a plan if he is lost; keep a piece of paper with that plan and have the child practice handing it to people to help him.  He should have several copies of it with him at all times.
  4. Keep medical bracelets on kids that tend to wander.
  5. Alert police even before the child is lost so that they will keep an eye out for your child; many cities now keep a database on special needs children should they go missing.

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What To Expect When You Are Expecting… Special Needs

With the new movie “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” coming out based on the pregnancy bible, it is important for expectant mother’s and father’s to also familiarize themselves with the possibility that they may have a child with a special need.  Of course, the last thing we want to think about when we are What To Expect When You're Expectingpregnant is a special needs child. However, a pregnant couple can just keep in mind what to look for or ask when they are expecting:

5 Steps to take when you are expecting a baby:

  1. If the ultrasound is anything but normal, or if they see anything that raises concern, find out what can be done immediately upon birth.  You may also want to set up meetings with a therapy clinic to talk with experts and specialists.
  2. Read up on parenting, behavior management, and normal child development so that you know what to look for when the infant arrives. You do have a pediatrician, but you are the expert on your own child and even pediatricians will depend on you, the parent for providing any concern or red flags. The American Pediatric Association is a great resource as is the state association, such as the Illinois Pediatric Association.
  3. Tell your best friends and your family to let you know if they ever think something is off or up with your baby once it comes. Ask them beforehand, you may be too emotional afterwards.
  4. Eat well, exercise per doctors orders, keep yourself happy and calm, and avoid alcohol and non-advised medicine, see your OBGYN for regular pre-natal visits and stay out of trouble!
  5. If you are an expectant mom, expecting an adoptive baby, use expert websites such as the Children’s Research Triangle  in Chicago, or Northwestern Family Institute, to know what to be looking for in your child. You may not have been there for the first months and need to be a super-detective when it comes to you child.  Read the blogs here, to learn everything you can about child development!

While you need to enjoy your pregnancy, reality and knowledge is always a good thing to have just in case.  No parent is ever fully prepared for a special needs child.  However, have any knowledge prior to a diagnosis, will only help you make the right decisions for your child and family.

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Events

Special Need Financial Planning Workshop

Give yourself financial peace of mind.

Register for a workshop that’ll teach you how to navigate financial planning for your child.

This course will cover:

*Making financial and legal decisions for your child with special needs.
*Finding a special needs planning lawyer.
*Accessing financial tools to better maximize benefits for your family.

 

Presented by Benjamin Rubin from Rubin Law and by Howard Suss from The Suss Financial Group.

Fill out the form below to sign up!

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