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As the parent of a child with special needs, you are probably familiar with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, also known as IDEA, as well as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Although there is a relationship between the two statutes, they have different objectives. Section 504 is intended to eliminate barriers that exclude persons with disabilities or, in other words, to create a level playing field. This federal law is designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education.

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ADHD and Parent Advocacy

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in children. Affecting an estimated three to five percent of children worldwide, ADHD can cause symptoms that last into adulthood. Children diagnosed with the disorder have to work on controlling impulsive behaviors and managing their attention issues, while their parents must keep a careful watch on their educational experience. School performance is one of the most common ways that a child is identified as having ADHD.

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With an estimated 21 million families in the U.S. having at least one family member with a disability, your family is not alone. Also common with such families is the need for special needs planning. Have you planned for the future of your loved one with special needs? Perhaps your loved one’s needs are currently being taken care of in terms of finances, health and quality of life—but what about when you pass on? Although such topics force us to consider our own mortality, it is in the best interest of your loved one to think about things such as a letter of intent and special needs trust.

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If you are the parent of a child with special needs, you already know that a meeting is required at least once a year with school officials to discuss your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Education is one of the most important things in a child’s life, so it pays to be prepared. What specifically should parents do to prepare? -Familiarize yourself with the parents’ rights handbook that is provided …

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While it’s important for the parents of a child with special needs to provide for the child’s financial well-being in their estate plan, it’s equally important to address the issue of transitioning to life with a new caregiver. That’s the purpose of a letter of intent, which is intended to assist future caregivers by describing aspects of your child’s life that no one else may be aware of. This information …

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