A GPS for Families of People with Special Needs – Part I

PART ONE BY LAUREN AGORATUS INTRODUCTION I wrote this manual to help other families of individuals with special needs and the professionals who work with them. My daughter now has five life-threatening conditions, and autism just to keep things interesting. We have been through everything from early intervention to currently going through transition to adult care. I hope this helps you on your journey. EARLY & CONTINUOUS SCREENING Families may be concerned that their child […]

Eight Evaluation Essentials for Parents in Special Education

BY JUDITH CANTY GRAVES AND CARSON GRAVES Evaluations are a major part of the special education experience. The purpose of evaluations, aside from determining eligibility for special education, is to inform parents, teachers, and other specialists how a student’s disabilities may be affecting his or her ability to learn and interact socially with peers. This information is important in providing a road map for the student’s special education Team to develop an effective Individualized Education […]

Lessons from Cecil: The Pride We Share

Physicians and dentists who treat our patients understand the draw. They share a high level of dedication and devotion and know the need for adequate preparation. I love old movies. Among my fondest memories was going to the movies with my father. In reality it was more like he took me to the movies, made sure I had a good seat and popcorn and then he slipped out to go to work. It was Saturday […]

ABLE Accounts Are Coming! Is It Really What You’ve Been Waiting For?

Many individuals and families who live with special needs are eagerly anticipating the availability of ABLE accounts. What is an ABLE account? Is it something you’ll want? Or need? Are you even eligible to have one? “It’s been a long wait,” says Chris Collier1, CLU, ChSNC, who is a Special Care Planner and has earned the Chartered Special Needs Consultant designation.2 He’s with the Innova Financial Group3 in Cincinnati, Ohio, a general agency of Massachusetts […]

Will Your Life and the Life of Your Child with a Disability Be Better After Your Divorce?

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF DEVELOPMENTAL MEDICINE & DENTISTRY BY H. BARRY WALDMAN DDS, MPH, PHD, STEVEN P. PERLMAN DDS, MSCD, DHL (HON), AND MISHA GAREY, DDS “When it comes to family arrangements, the United States has a North-South divide. Children growing up across much of the northern part of the country are much more likely to grow up with two parents than children across the South.” 1 TWO PARENT FAMILIES There is a kind of “two-parent […]

Grants Awarded to Nine States to Improve Services for Children with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded $9.2 million in grants to nine states to improve services for children with disabilities. The states receiving grants are Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada and Tennessee. The State Personnel Development Grants Program provides funds to help states improve their systems for personnel preparation and professional development in early intervention, special education and transition services for children and youth with disabilities. Visit Grants Awarded to Nine […]


Convaid Products, Inc., a Torrance-based manufacturer of custommade, compact lightweight adaptive-assisted wheelchairs recently announced that its Trekker has received its CE Certification, qualifying it as having met the requirements mandated by the European Union (EU) for products officially imported into the EU nations. CE is the acronym for the French “Conformite Europeenne”, a set of rules governing import into the EU to protect member nations from products that might endanger safety, pose a pollution hazard […]

Striking A Chord: Music’s Impact On Cognitive Delays & Physical Disabilities

BOOK EXCERPT BY SHARLENE HABERMEYER, MA “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh As a young child, Anthony suffered with severe language, social, and emotional issues. Socialization was a particular challenging issue. It was difficult for him to socialize with his peers, to work independently at school, and he was argumentative with his teachers. But music changed all that. Today, Anthony attends […]

The Olmstead Decision Has Been Misinterpreted

BY JILL BARKER, DAVID HART AND TAMIE HOPP The Olmstead decision, which interprets the Americans with Disabilities Act, is so clear that persistent misinterpretation by federal agencies can only be described as purposeful. INTRODUCTION The 25th Anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 2015 offers an opportunity to set the record straight about what the landmark Supreme Court decision, Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999)1, actually says about the ADA’s […]


Whatz-It Color Scale Indicator is a low tech indicator which supports people with autism and other communication difficulties in scaled decision making situations. Its graduated color scale (green to red) allows a selection of intensity rather than identifying an exact number or abstract facial expression. Whatz-it was designed to address problems with communicating difficult concepts, such as pain, when the user is in a potentially stressful situation. When using a simple device like the Whatz-it, […]