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Government officials remind schools and vocational rehabilitation centers of their duty to help students with disabilities transition into adulthood. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic are still setting in for some families who have teenage children with disabilities. While the transition from childhood to adulthood can be difficult for many youths, those living with a disability face an additional challenge. Families must be well-informed about a child’s abilities and needs, …

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Home Schooling Your Child: Your Rights and Obligations

By Marion Walsh, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP Every parent in New York State has the right to home school their child and, given the myriad uncertainties presented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, districts are formally offering this opportunity to parents of registered students as an alternative to remote or hybrid instruction. The prospect of shielding their children from the ongoing changes expected from districts as the pandemic response continues …

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By Marion M. Walsh, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP The transition to college and young adulthood, while exciting, can be difficult for parents. Parents must not overlook obtaining advance consent from their children so they can have access to important health and educational information—or risk begin left out in an emergency. This is even more important in times of COVID-19. Once a person turns 18, the law presumes that they have …

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By Marion M. Walsh, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP The COVID-19 pandemic has made education more challenging than ever. Schools are re-opening this year in either a hybrid or remote learning plan. In this pandemic, with all the rules on socially distancing and COVID-19 protocols, all involved face unprecedented uncertainty and stress. Yet the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on students with learning or emotional disabilities. Remote or hybrid instruction …

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Studies show that approximately 90 percent of a child’s brain development occurs before the age of five. For children with learning disabilities or other special needs, these early years are crucial. Early intervention, sometimes even before a child has a diagnosis, can be extremely effective. As one special education expert explained, “If you miss that critical window of opportunity, when delays or issues can be addressed, then it becomes more …

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The 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

By Marion M. Walsh, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP This week marks 30 years since the passage of the ADA. The ADA means much more than building ramps and construction compliance.  The law protects the rights not only of those who are born with a disability, but of those who develop a disability, whether a mental illness or chronic illness– any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life …

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By Amy E. Halpert, Esq. and Marion Walsh, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP Guidance, plans and recommendations for reopening schools in the fall seems to change daily and every decision is fraught with pitfalls. As of today’s date, formal guidance from the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) for fall reopening is due out this week. NYSED  provided a Framework of Guidance to Reopen Schools on Monday, July 13th. NYSED …

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OPWDD Rallies

By Sandi Rosenbaum, Special Education Advocate, Littman Krooks LLP Will everyone be free on Independence Day? As COVID-19 cases have dropped and New York has opened up, region by region, people with developmental disabilities have been left out. The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has not updated its March 24 guidance suspending all home visits and community outings for residents of certified group homes. Residential …

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Announcing A Plain-Language Resource on Police Violence

By Sandi Rosenbaum, Littman Krooks LLP People with disabilities, particularly mental or developmental disabilities, are often injured and sometimes killed in the course of their interactions with police.  A number of police forces, particularly in Westchester County, have begun to train new recruits in awareness of these disabilities; that the presentation of individuals with these conditions, who rarely pose any threat, differs from those who threaten public safety, and how; …

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By Marion M. Walsh, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP Finally, after months of parental advocacy, Governor Cuomo, on Friday, June 5, 2020, signed a new Executive Order, No. 202.37.  The Order states that school districts may provide required in-person special education services during the summer term. It is essential to act now to advocate for your child.  The Executive Order leaves open more questions than answers, as the directive states that …

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