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Blog List with Right Sidebar

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Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler > Blog List with Right Sidebar (Page 7)

Opting out of PARCC assessments: an unsettled issue

Many parents are confused as to whether they can opt-out of the upcoming PARCC assessments, and if so, how. Parents are also asking what the consequences will be for children who do opt out, or who stay home on testing days. Their confusion is completely understandable. The answers are not clear. PARCC stands for "Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers." It is a set of computer-based assessments in Language Arts and Mathematics that are aligned with the new Common Core Standards. The New Jersey State Board of Education identified PARCC as the state's testing program, beginning in...

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Use of 504 Plans and IEPs in cases of concussion

Getting a concussion can be a traumatic experience for both a child and his parents. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that most commonly results from a fall or a blow to the head. Signs of a concussion include: dizziness, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and sensitivity to light. While many concussions resolve in a number of weeks, in some cases, the effects of a concussion can last six months to a year. When concussion symptoms persist, parents may seek a 504 Plan or IEP from the child’s school to address what the child needs in order to continue to...

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Understanding the IDEIA:

Is Your Child’s Disability Adversely Affecting Educational Performance? It can be confusing for parents to understand how their child’s disability may qualify them for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA), the country’s federal special education law that ensures public schools serve the educational needs of students with disabilities. Under the IDEIA, each state must ensure that a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) is available to any child with a disability who needs special education and related services. Parents need to know that even if their child is passing his or her tests in school, and advancing...

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When (and How) to create a Special Needs Trust

A Special Needs Trust is one that is designed to supplement the government benefits that your disabled child receives. Because of this, they are sometimes referred to as Supplemental Needs Trusts. Once parents have decided to create a Supplemental Needs Trust for their son or daughter, they may wonder when to move forward. Since the trust will help serve as a source of financial support for your special-needs child as they age, the answer is simple: the sooner the better. Life can be unpredictable, and since the trust is designed to help finance necessities that aren’t covered by governmental benefits, it’s best...

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The benefits of a Supplemental Needs Trust for special needs children

As a child grows up, a parent’s biggest financial concern might be saving for college. But it might be wise to look ahead even further to help ensure your son or daughter is financially prepared for their future. Fortunately, that’s where a Supplemental Needs Trust (SNT) comes in. These special trust funds were instituted to help parents of special needs children have a secure place to save money for their child’s future, while ensuring that they remain eligible for their governmental benefits. The funds are designed to supplement your child’s future benefits - not replace them — and ultimately enable a...

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Decoding 504 plans: What they mean for you and your child

Written by Jayne M. Wesler Esq. As a parent, the last thing you want is for your child’s disability to affect his or her ability to succeed in the classroom. Along with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ensures that schools receiving or benefiting from federal funding support the educational needs of a student who may have a disability that affects one or more major life activities, including, but not limited to: learning, speaking and listening, concentration, reading and writing, personal care. A 504 plan allows educators to modify a student's academic program,...

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Using PLAAFP to help your child work toward higher achievement

Written by  Staci J. Greenwald, Esq. The “Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance,” or PLAAFP, is the first written statement in the IEP plan should document of a child's ability and current achievement at the time the IEP is written. This snapshot objectively documents the child’s present level of academic achievement, such as reading at a certain grade level, or performing certain mathematical calculations. Functional performance documents achievement that is not academic, including social skills, communication skills, and other activities of daily living. Simply stated, PLAAFP should answer the question: What can this child do or not do right now? Information and data...

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Understanding the dangers of seclusion and restraints in special education

The use of seclusion and restraint in schools for disciplinary and safety reasons is a difficult issue, especially in regards to severely disabled children. Part of the problem is that there is very little statutory or regulatory authority regarding what is permissible and what tools are available to educators in emergency situations. In fact, neither federal law nor the law of New Jersey contains guidance on this important issue. Obviously, extreme instances of seclusion or restraint are not tolerated in any school in the United States. However, there are many seemingly innocuous practices that do occur regularly in schools and can...

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What least “Restrictive Environment” means under the IDEIA?

The concept of “least restrictive environment” is a core element of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvements Act (IDEIA), and was a fairly revolutionary concept when embraced in its predecessor, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Stated simply, it is the idea that a child with a disability should receive as much of his or her education as possible in a typical classroom and should only be educated separately to the extent that his or her disabilities make it absolutely necessary. Section 612 of the Act sets forth the concept of least restrictive environment, as well as the steps states must...

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Knowing when to get your child the help he or she needs

There is a wide range of severity of different childhood disabilities. Many conditions may not be readily apparent and may take years to identify and diagnose. But that does not make those disabilities any less challenging for the children and parents who live with them every day. Furthermore, it does not diminish the benefits a child living with a disability can receive from a free and appropriate public education. Many parents are overly eager to chalk up their children’s struggles to mere discipline problems. Some even blame themselves and their parenting methods. While this may be true in certain cases, there...

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