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Special Needs

Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler > Special Needs

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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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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Epilepsy and the Classroom

As a parent, you know that for a child with epilepsy, a seizure disorder can seriously impact their success in the classroom. November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, and the attorneys at Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler want you to know that federal law, as well as many state laws, grants children with epilepsy the right to receive certain supplemental services and, if necessary, special education. These federal laws are known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). A child with epilepsy or another disability who does not qualify for...

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Practice, Predictability, and Patience.

HELPING KIDS WITH SENSORY ISSUES ADJUST TO MASK-WEARING Most people have adjusted to wearing a mask during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the strange and new feeling of a mask against the face can be difficult for children with sensory processing differences. Parents, here are some suggestions for making the transition to mask-wearing easier on your child – and you! 1. The Mask. • If you already know the things your child can’t stand, like seams, tags, or synthetic fabrics that may feel scratchy, choose masks that don’t have these irritants. • Get masks that are properly sized for your child’s age and face, with adjustable...

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It’s Back to School – One Way or Another

Whether or not we feel ready, the start of another school year is here. The big difference this year, of course, is the COVID-19 virus. Some school districts will open on a modified basis, but many families are continuing only virtual learning from home. Whatever this school year holds for you and your special needs child, the attorneys at Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler want to share some tips to help with the adjustment to this new school model. Staci J. Greenwald, Esq. Being proactive can help avoid problems once the school year starts. Reach out to your child’s teacher in advance and...

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Returning to the Classroom under COVID: A Planning Checklist

When children walk into their classrooms this fall, many things will look different. Since familiarity helps children feel secure, the changes necessary to safeguard everyone from COVID-19 may upset or confuse your child, at least at first. To help parents prepare children for new school procedures, the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC), offers some ideas: Talk with your child: Describe how the school will look different (e.g., desks far apart from each other, teachers maintaining physical distance, the possibility of staying in the classroom for lunch). Ask about how the school is going and about interactions with classmates and teachers. Find out...

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