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Special Education

Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler > Special Education

World Braille Day

By Jayne M. Wesler, Esq. Why do we Celebrate World Braille Day? World Braille Day commemorates the birth of Louis Braille – on 04 January 1809 in France. In 1829 he published his "Method of Writing Words, Music, and Plain Song by Means of Dots, for Use by the Blind and Arranged by Them." But why is there a World Braille Day? What’s the big deal? Perhaps the stories of HM, Bruce Sexton, and Eric Guillory will answer those questions. In 2011, HM was an eleven-year-old fifth-grade student enrolled in a public school in New Jersey. Legally blind from birth, HM was diagnosed with albinism...

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Let’s Join Hands and Hearts to Celebrate:

December 3rd is United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities By Jayne M. Wesler, Esq December celebrates multiple happy holidays, Kwanzaa, Hannukah, and Christmas among them. It’s also the month when the world celebrates the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities during the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The United Nations first proclaimed an International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981, kicking off the celebration with the theme of “Full Participation and Equality.” The UN’s intention was to help persons with disabilities live life to the fullest by participating in the development of society, and by having...

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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...

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How Might Another Year of COVID Restrictions Impact My Child? What Can I and My School District Do to Address that Impact?

This looming topic has spurred numerous studies globally during the 2020-2021 school year. Some of the pertinent discoveries include: In the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and China, children and adolescents have presented with substantially increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. The Center for Open Science on its OSF website reported on a UK study that reviewed the factors which parents and school district must address to help maintain a positive level of mental health in the school-age population. School districts are urged to look at the evidence-based studies to help them develop Covid protocol policies on complete and partial school...

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LONG COVID: What it is, and how to help your student who has it.

by Jayne Wesler. Esq. Since February 2020, families have been struggling with the increasing complexity of their children’s education. You’ve had to upend your lives to educate them at home, and then make critical decisions about how and when to return them to the classroom. School districts across the United States and even worldwide have had to confront similar decisions from their end. As the 2021-2022 school year commences, many students still contend with the long-term effects of COVID-19, also known as “long COVID.” What is long COVID? According to the Centers for Disease Control, long COVID is also identified by several terms,...

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Is your IEP “in place” for September?

By Theresa Sullivan, B.S., A.A.S Many children with IEPs struggle when trying to adjust to the changes a new school year brings. A common complaint among parents of children with IEPs is that there is a delay on the part of the school staff to have the agreed-upon program and services actually functioning at the start of the school year. While it’s understandable for everyone involved to need a moment to adjust to new staff, new policies, and a new environment, not having the program and services operational at the start of the school year may be costing your child valuable...

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Controlling the Uncontrollable: Helping Children with Tourette Syndrome Thrive

By Theresa Sullivan, B.S, A.A.S. Tourette syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by sudden, repetitive, rapid, and unwanted movements or vocal sounds called tics. Symptoms are usually present in childhood, between the ages of 5 and 10 years, and peak during the teenage years. Tics are often aggravated by anxiety. This, and the fact that Tic Disorders are often co-existing with other conditions, may warrant special considerations in the learning environment. According to the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome (NJCTS), all students with TS need a tolerant and compassionate setting that both encourages them to work to their full potential and is...

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Hearing, Speech & Language Impairment – Getting Help for the Struggling Child

By Theresa Sullivan, B.S, A.A.S May is “Better Hearing and Speech Month,” and we at SGW know how fundamental speech and hearing functioning are to a student’s ability to learn. Public schools are required to provide a wide range of supports, services, and even equipment to students who present with a qualifying impairment. Each student is unique and, far too often, students go without the support necessary for them to progress commensurate with their potential. When a child is struggling in school, he or she must be evaluated for possible speech, language, and auditory impairments. Children may express wants and needs verbally;...

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You can make Summer Camp a part of your Child’s IEP Program

By Theresa Sullivan, B.S, A.A.S. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, many of our students have spent the last 12 months indoors, looking at computer screens and trying to cope with distance learning - and unfortunately, regressing. Now that the weather is finally starting to break, we want you to be aware that Summer 2021 may be a prime opportunity for your child to reclaim their trajectory and get back on the path to progress. When a student is at risk for regression or requires additional time to recoup skills, that child is entitled to extended school year programming (“ESY”). If extended school year services are required in order...

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Promoting Independence and Inclusion

In 1987 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March to be observed as “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.” This milestone proclamation called upon Americans to provide the “encouragement and opportunities” necessary for people with developmental disabilities to reach their full potential. Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. About one in six children in the U.S. have one or more developmental disabilities or other developmental delays. In general, the functional criteria of a developmental disability are that the person has a chronic physical and/or intellectual disability that: Manifests in the developmental years, before age...

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