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Special Education

Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler > Special Education

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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Anxiety’s Spiking: Here’s How to Help Our Students

BY GUEST BLOGGER: HOWARD MARGOLIS COVID-19 has caused untold numbers of America’s students (and family members, teachers, and school support staff) to suffer mild to severe anxiety. Some will be helped by the passage of time and new coping skills. Some won’t. For those who won’t, especially those who suffer from severe anxiety, who intensely fear the future, it’s a crisis. It’s also a crisis for their families, their teachers, and America writ large. Choices: When faced with problems of this magnitude, we have choices. We can groan, pity ourselves, and fall prey to our fears. We can lament that, “The pandemic’s horrible....

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Emotional Disabilities: 504 and IDEA Eligibility Determination

By Mariann Crincoli, Esq.   Do you have a child with emotional issues who struggles or refuses to go to school, or who is unable to complete homework despite having the cognitive ability to do so? If the answer is yes, your child may have an emotional disability that may entitle her to either accommodations under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 or an Individualized Educational Plan(IEP) under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act. 504 Plans To be eligible for a 504 Plan, a person must have a physical or mental impairment (ie. anxiety, depression, etc.) that substantially impacts one or...

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Thank you, Covid19—now my child has anxiety! What’s next?

By Mariann Crincoli, Esq.   Pandemics can be stressful and COVID19 has proved no different. Fear and anxiety about the disease, feelings of isolation and loneliness, social distancing, drastic changes in lifestyle, socialization, and learning platforms can be overwhelming and can generate strong emotions, especially in children. While anxiety may not always look the same or feel the same for every child, the stress associated with anxiety during a pandemic can include: • exacerbated fears or worries about one’s own health and the health of loved ones • changes in sleeping or eating habits • less opportunity for activity and exercise • difficulty concentrating • increased negative...

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Happy Birthday, IDEA!

December 2nd is National Special Education Day, commemorating the anniversary of the nation’s first federal special education law. The Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act was signed into law on December 2, 1975. In 1990 this law was renamed The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The IDEA is a law that makes available a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation. It ensures special education and related services to those children in the least restrictive environment (LRE). At Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler, our own history is intertwined with the birth of this landmark legislation. It...

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