What Hope Looks Like

by Maria Spencer In my daughter Olivia’s sixteen years, I have seen many hope-filled days. I have seen her improve in areas at school that we never dreamed of, have seen her run track and always, always defy the odds that were given to her as a baby. But in the past several months, I have seen her do something that is beyond my wildest dreams or imaginations. Just when I think she has reached a […]

ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts Can Be a Winning Combination

This article was written by The Special Needs Alliance (SNA). The Special Needs Alliance is a national organization comprised of attorneys committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Learn more about the SNA: www.specialneedsalliance.org.  ABLE accounts and special needs trusts (SNTs) are both financial tools for managing funds without affecting an individual’s eligibility for such means-tested programs as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). But that’s pretty much […]

ABLE Accounts 2019: Top Questions

What are the ABLE savings limits for 2019? ABLE accounts are protected savings opportunities for people who have a significant disability with an onset prior to age 26. For 2019, friends and family can contribute up to $15,000 directly into an ABLE account. ABLE account owners who work, and do not have an employer- sponsored retirement account, may save up to $12,140 in additional savings from their earnings. Can I save income within ABLE to […]

Becoming A Family Advisor: Are you a parent that wants to advocate for change?

As a parent you have much to offer, teach, and share. You bring unique experiences, perspectives, and expertise. Everyone benefits when families and providers work together to improve healthcare, education, and community life for children with special health and/or developmental needs. We hope to give you general information and guidance on what’s involved in becoming an effective family advisor, no matter what setting you choose. A family advisor is a parent or other family member who […]

11 Things to Know about Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in childhood, and children with CP and their families need support. Learn more about CP and what signs to look for in young children. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is the most common motor disability of childhood. About 1 in 323 children has been identified with CP according to estimates […]

Overview of Professionals in the School-Age Special Education System

Throughout your child’s academic career, he or she will come into contact with dozens of different professionals who are there for support. The list below provides an overview of some of these individuals and a description of the role they may have. Be aware that your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) will control who works directly with your child and what they do. Regular Education Teachers Depending on your child’s educational placement, your child may […]

Inclusion vs. Self-Contained Education for Children with ASD Diagnoses

The idea is not new. Including children with special needs in classrooms to learn alongside typical learners promotes the sense of a welcoming environment for all, where differences are valued and learning opportunities are accessible to all, in every classroom. Depending on where you live, the concept may be referred to as “mainstreaming,” “integration,” as well as “inclusion.” Long before the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), children with disabilities did not attend public school. […]

Westfield gym for kids with special needs gets new owners

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WTHR) — A gym for children with special needs is celebrating a new chapter after nearly closing. Carter’s Play Place in Westfield now has new owners. It opened nearly three years ago as an inclusive gym designed especially for kids with special needs. Indianapolis-based LEL Home Services has now purchased the operation. “This opportunity for Carter’s Play Place is a little different than the services we typically provide, so we’re very excited to […]

Placement Options for Preschool Students Receiving Special Education Services

There are a number of placement options to consider for your preschool child. The Individualized Educational Program (IEP) team – which includes you, the parent – will decide which placement or placements are appropriate. The placement decided upon by the IEP team will be paid for by the school district in which you live as part of your child’s Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). When considering an educational placement, the IEP team must decide […]

ABLE Act Update

NDSC continues to be active in the effort to implement and expand the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014, which enables people with Down syndrome and other disabilities to open tax-exempt accounts to save for their future without jeopardizing their much-needed public benefits. To date, there are forty-two ABLE programs around the country (41 states plus the District of Columbia). Many of these programs are open to qualified individuals nationwide and offer […]