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Seeing Things from the Other Side – Giving Thanks for a Passionate Perspective

By Mariann Crincoli, Esq.

Having sat on Boards of Education in the past, I am thankful for the turnaround in perspective that my 6 years as an attorney at Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler have given me. I’m thankful for the opportunity to advocate on behalf of parents of a special needs child when school boards are not fulfilling their legal obligation to provide a free and appropriate educational experience. Helping children and their families in this way quickly became a sustaining passion for me, and I never looked back. This passion has not changed. I count myself fortunate to be in a career that allows me to apply my education and experience, as well as my mind and heart, to helping families secure the protections and educational opportunities that the legal system provides.

As we go through the difficulties from COVID, I’ve become even more aware in particular of the plight of children who suffer from emotional disabilities. Sometimes emotional disabilities can be difficult to see, especially in the school setting. These kids will often suffer in silence and will lack motivation and purpose, feel isolated, engage in self-harming and other maladaptive behaviors. Emotional disabilities can be even more challenging than learning disabilities because they can’t be quantified or easily remediated. Emotional disabilities, like learning disabilities, can impact a child’s ability to learn and may or may not result in academic decline. Fortunately, there is a special education classification category for kids with emotional disabilities called “emotional regulation impairment.” There are also educational supports and services, including special schools, which can address a child’s emotional deficits within an educational setting. I and my fellow attorneys are thankful that this classification exists, so that distressed children can be identified and educationally supported.

Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler works with many families whose children suffer from emotional disabilities. We educate them, advocate for them and obtain classification and appropriate programming. We ensure that our clients’ rights are protected. Our work is personally rewarding especially when our clients tell us that we have positively impacted the lives of their children. #givingthanks!