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Special Needs

Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler > Special Needs

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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Don’t Drop the Ball on Establishing a Special Needs Trust

We all know how fast time goes by during the holidays – before we know it, the ball will drop on a brand new year! On the bright side, this is a great time to resolve to do the things we’ve been meaning to do but somehow never got around to. If you have a special needs child receiving government benefits and you plan to leave them money, or anyone else in your family may leave them money, it’s essential to have a Special Needs Trust in place so the money does not pass through their hands and they do...

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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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Children with Diabetes are Children with Special Needs

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and at Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler we want to focus attention on the many children and adolescents who have diabetes. As parents and caregivers know all too well, it is a serious and lifelong disease that must be managed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including the hours spent at school. Under Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is illegal for schools to discriminate against students with diabetes. In addition, the State of New Jersey has a number of laws that protect students with diabetes. One New Jersey state law...

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A Special Month for Awareness

The month of October commemorates important issues for students with special needs. Included among those issues are dyslexia and ADHD. For parents and educators alike, it is critical to highlight these topics to ensure that children receive appropriate educational programming, and that such programs are properly implemented. Both state and federal law were created to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities. Prior to the enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, there were over four million children with disabilities who were denied appropriate access to public education. Some children were denied entry into public school altogether. Others were...

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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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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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