Looking at School Placements from Both Sides of the Table

BY JOANNE DESIMONE As the outreach coordinator for the Alliance of Private Special Education Schools of North Jersey, I help parents and district case managers find appropriate placement options for their students. As a special educator and parent of two children with disabilities, I use the knowledge I’ve acquired, sitting on both sides of the table. When parents call me for placement options, I especially lean on the experience I had with my younger son […]

Calling All Innovators For The “CAREGIVERS SHARK TANK”

The National Caregivers Conference is inviting innovators, inventors, researchers and thought leaders to share their new ideas, products, technology’s, or therapeutic concepts that aim to transform the health and role of family caregivers. The National Caregivers Conference is returning to New Jersey since Superstorm Sandy forced its cancellation in October 2012. This annual conference is renowned for its National level speakers, workshops and exhibitors who address both individual and national issues facing the caregiver community. […]

The Sexual Assault Epidemic No One Talks About

Heard on All Things Considered Joseph Shapiro     Editor’s note: This report includes graphic and disturbing descriptions of assault. Pauline wants to tell her story — about that night in the basement, about the boys and about the abuse she wanted to stop. But she’s nervous. “Take a deep breath,” she says out loud to herself. She takes a deep and audible breath. And then she tells the story of what happened on the […]

When siblings have intellectual and developmental disabilities

Doreen Arcus, Ph.D. She would have been 100 this year. Perhaps the most influential person with intellectual and developmental disabilities in modern America, Rosemary Kennedy changed the lives of millions. And she did it through her siblings. Born at a time when families were advised to institutionalize children with disabilities, Rosemary was instead an integral part of Kennedy family life until a prefrontal lobotomy left her incapacitated at age 23. She was particularly close to […]

Training First Responders To Respond Bettter

“The SNAP Program makes a vital contribution to the armamentarium of best practices addressing the unique needs of special populations and their ability to thrive and participate in the community. It will become a time-honored component in the first responders’ toolkit.” – Rick Rader, MD, Medical Liaison, SNAP Program BY BRUCE GARNER Even under the best of circumstances, it is challenging to be a good parent, but when your child has special needs, it gets […]

Job Coach Helps Build Pride & Professionalism

BY LARRY LANDAUER The kitchen in the café at First American Financial Corporation where Elizabeth Martinez serves as job coach for Brian Hirayama, Daniel Martinez, and Alfonso Ponce—three young men with developmental disabilities—is a showcase for true integration of people with disabilities into the work force. Alongside co-workers without disabilities, these men perform their duties with pride and professionalism, helping the First American Café serve more than 1,000 people per day. The support, encouragement and […]

How Charter Schools & Vouchers Affect Special Education

Families should carefully weigh the pros and cons of charter schools and vouchers, and speak with their Parent Training and Information Center about their state laws, regulations, and policies regarding special education and charters or vouchers, before making a decision. BY MARIA DOCHERTY AND LAUREN AGORATUS, M.A. With the increased focus in the United States on charter schools and the use of vouchers to support student  attendance at private schools, more and more parents of […]

Parents & Teachers Can Combat Bullying Together

BY KAREN KABAKI-SISTO, M.S. CCC-SLP Along with academic achievement, a goal of the educational experience is to learn how to have successful social relationships both inside and outside of the classroom that continue through adulthood. However, physically seating a student into a classroom –mainstream or self-contained –does not automatically ensure social acceptance. Problems with learning and communication can cause a child with special needs to be misunderstood, left out, teased, and/or bullied, leading to behavioral […]

New Jersey first state to enact ABLE in 2016

Trenton, NJ−Governor Chris Christie has signed ABLE legislation that will allow families the opportunity to set up tax-free 529A savings accounts for disability-related expenses. The bill received unanimous support in votes in both chambers. The legislation was sponsored by Senate President Stephen, Senator Dawn Addiego and Assemblymembers Pamela Lampitt, Louis Greenwald, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Daniel Benson and Vincent Mazzeo. The New Jersey ABLE legislation follows upon enactment by the federal government of the Stephen Beck, Jr., […]

Mainstreaming the Education of Children with Disabilities: The Teacher’s Perspective

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF DEVELOPMENTAL MEDICINE & DENTISTRY BY H. BARRY WALDMAN DDS, MPH, PHD, STEVEN P. PERLMAN DDS, MSCD, DHL (HON), AND MISHA GAREY, DDS “Inclusive education is a worldwide phenomenon widely advocated in the recent past. It is a philosophy as well as a principle and/or practice that is based on human rights and social justice. It advocates that children with special needs have to be educated along their normal peers in the regular […]