‘Chloe’s Law’ educates would-be parents about Down Syndrome

Doctors warned the Kondrich family that their daughter would be different. They were right. In the past year alone, Chloe Kondrich has hung out with rock stars in Manhattan; visited with Gov. Tom Wolf; posed for photos with members of Congress; and just last week traveled to Harrisburg, by invitation, to meet with Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. One other thing, too: Chloe, who has Down syndrome, had a law named after her. […]

Prenatal Testing: Understanding What’s New And How To Get Support And Information Prenatal Testing

BY STEVEN M. EIDELMAN, STEPHANIE MEREDITH AND ROBERT A. SAUL, MD Over the past few years, new non-invasive prenatal screening tests (NIPS) for genetic conditions have been introduced and heavily marketed with the promise of being safer and more accurate — meaning that more families are learning during pregnancy that their child might have a health issue or disability. But, what’s the real impact on families? Are pregnant women getting counseling beforehand so they understand […]

How To Organize International Group Travel For Students With Disabilities

BY ERNST VANBERGEIJK, Ph.D., M.S.W  Most non-disabled adults take for granted the ability to travel overseas for business or pleasure. However, for many teens and young adults with disabilities, the ability to travel independently without their parents is a dream. At best, they may have gone on a holiday with their families. They have never traveled to a foreign country with their friends. The benefits of traveling internationally for students with disabilities are numerous. Not […]

Parents Have The Power

BOOK REVIEW This book is intended to provide parents of children with disabilities with the information they need to “make special education work.” Overall, I was very impressed with the theme and presentation. Chapter 1 was extremely helpful in describing the special education process. There is an explanation of referral, evaluation, IEP (Individualized Education Program), triennial evaluation etc. However, missing from “related services” were sensory integration and social skills, which are becoming increasingly common. There […]

Alternatives To Out-Of-Home Placement For Families

BY LAUREN AGORATUS, M.A. Families and individuals need to visualize what they want as goals to see if the program is a good “fit” and if they can picture the person in that environment. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just published “Out of Home Placements for Children and Adolescents with Disabilities.” This document provides compassionate but incomplete guidance on a difficult decision for families, and presents out-of-home placement as a last resort. Some placements […]

Going Solo

BY KIMBERLEE RUTAN MCCAFFERTY To the casual onlooker it was not a remarkable scene. A middle-aged mom trudging through the rain, huge beach bag slung precariously over her shoulder while clutching the hands of a ‘tween and a younger son, heading for the relative paradise of a movie theater overhang. If anyone had cared to look they would have viewed a grim determination in her eyes, a desire to reach her destination etched into the […]

Youth Participation In Transition Planning

BY VALERIE LEITER In 2004, Congress added new transition requirements to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), striving to improve youth outcomes after high school. These new requirements say that the Individual Education Program (IEP) must include “appropriate measurable postsecondary goals” and the “transition services… needed to assist the child in reaching those goals.” They also give students the right to participate in planning once their IEP meetings focus on transition from school. It […]