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Special Needs Planning

Estate planning is important for every family for several reasons, however, it becomes critical if you have a child with a disability.
Elder Law & Estate Planning

Estate Planning for the Special Needs Family

By Amy C. O’Hara, CELA Estate planning is important for every family for several reasons, however, it becomes critical if you have a child with a disability. In creating a well thought out estate plan you can ensure your child is protected both financially and personally. Part of your plan will include designating a guardian…

Special Education Advocacy

Preparing for Back to School for Your Child with Special Needs in Challenging Times

by Marion M. Walsh, Esq. Preparing for back to school in September always brings hope and a sense of expectation for both students and parents.  For the 2022-2023 school year, this remains true.  However, it has been a difficult two years for students, who are still recovering from isolation during the pandemic, the adjustment to…

Special Education Advocacy

How to Prepare to be a Successful Advocate for Your Child in College

By Marion M. Walsh, Esq. It’s that wonderful time of year, when parents are helping their children prepare for college and sending them off.  It is also the time to adjust to a new type of parenting and advocacy.  By taking careful steps, you can ensure that you remain an effective advocate in your new capacity,…

Student in wheelchair in school hallway
Special Needs Planning

Supported Decision Making is now the Law in New York State

By Sandi Rosenbaum, Special Education / Special Needs Advocate Supported decision making is now the law in New York State.  On July 26, 2022, the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a law creating statutory authority for supported decision making (SDM) agreements.  These agreements provide for a less-restrictive alternative…

Special Education Advocacy

Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Must Address Staffing Crisis in New York

by Sandi Rosenbaum, Special Education / Special Needs Advocate New York’s Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) will release its long-overdue new Statewide Comprehensive 2023-2027 Strategic plan in November 2022, following feedback and discussion.  The draft Strategic Plan has been available since Spring 2022. A plain language version is also available.  While OPWDD’s in-person public forums have…

Elder Law & Estate Planning

Legislation Empowers Families to Support Charitable Organizations Providing Essential Services for Loved Ones

By Amy C. O’Hara, CELA The Special Needs Alliance commends the Senate Finance Committee for unanimously approving legislation that would give families greater flexibility in choosing the remainder beneficiary of trusts established for a loved one who has a disability or chronic illness. Partners Bernard A. Krooks, a past president of the Special Needs Alliance,…

Special Education Advocacy

What Services are Available through the Office of Mental Health?

By Sandi Rosenbaum and Marion Walsh, Esq. According to new CDC data (https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/p0331-youth-mental-health-covid-19.html), in 2021, more than a third (37%) of high school students reported they experienced poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 44% reported they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year. Undoubtedly, mental health needs for all increased in…

Special Education Advocacy

Students with Disabilities are Granted Extended School Year Services

By Arshi Pal, Esq. Now that summer has started, parents may have questions about the purpose of Extended School Year  (ESY) Services and whether your child is eligible.   ESY services are services and programming provided to students with disabilities during July and August for approximately six weeks. CSE Determines Eligibility for ESY Services The Committee…

Elder Law & Estate Planning

Significant Changes To The New York State Medicaid Programs

By Brian L. Miller, Esq. Recently, there have been significant changes to the New York State Medicaid programs for New Yorkers who are age 65+, blind or disabled. As discussed in our prior blogs, New York passed a law in April 2020 to implement a 30-month (two and a half year) lookback period for all…

If your child requires significant supervision and support beyond the school day, they may be eligible for services from the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).
Special Education Advocacy

New Law Extending Special Education Eligibility in New York

By Marion M. Walsh, Esq. This June, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/S7866) that allows school districts to extend the eligibility of students with disabilities to receive special education services and programming past the current age of 21 in New York.  This law essentially mirrors the law the Governor signed in 2021…