For a few glorious weeks each year, classrooms are replaced with trips to the Shore, and your family’s summer vacation makes waiting for the school bus seem like a distant memory. Yet, while it may feel like the year has just ended, it’s never too soon to start planning for your child’s return to school in September. Here are 6 tips to help make the transition successful.

  1. Share your child’s IEP with appropriate staff members. The most important resource you and your child’s teachers share is the Individualized Education Program, or IEP. Provide a copy of the IEP to each new staff member who will come into contact with your child each day. This includes the teacher, the aide, and the school nurse.
  2. Open up a line of communication. Reviewing the IEP is important, but no one knows your child better than you do. The best thing you can do to create a successful new school year is to open up a line of communication with teachers and staff early on.
  3. Provide a comprehensive list of your child’s triggers. Over the summer, come up with a list of the twenty items you think your child’s new teachers need to know most. This might include your child’s triggers and what keeps him on track, social anxieties, and what kind of environment helps your child to do his best work.
  4. Set up an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher(s). Within the first week or two of school, make an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher – by phone or, preferably, in person. Ask to spend 15 or 20 minutes talking with your child’s teacher – or the whole team, if possible.
  5. Share your child’s stumbling blocks. While your child’s previous teachers should provide his new teachers with background information, your personal insights can jump-start the learning curve, shortening or eliminating weeks spent getting to know your child. Insights you can share in 15 minutes could take a teacher 8 to 12 weeks to learn on his or her own. For example, your child may have difficulty following multiple step directions. Letting the teacher know in September that this is a potential stumbling block can eliminate weeks of frustration for both student and teacher, and enable the teacher to meet your child’s needs more quickly and in a more positive way.
  6. Stay in touch with the teacher throughout the school year. Once September has come and gone, it is important to stay in touch with the teacher. Make sure your child is receiving the services mandated in her IEP. Understand what your child is learning every day, and try to reinforce those lessons at home. When teachers and parents are partners in education, children benefit.

If you’re still considering summer programming options for your child with special needs, here are six wonderful camps/summer schools in New Jersey that can provide activities for kids of all ages. Each inclusive program will ensure that your child has equal opportunities to be included in recreational settings so they can learn and play together.

Fusion Academy Princeton

Fusion Academy offers a summer school that won’t take away your summer fun! Middle and high school students can catch up on missed credits, retake a class, get ahead before next semester, or supplement a homeschool program with an art, music, or lab class. From algebra to yoga and everything in between, they offer over 250 courses for you to choose from, always taught one student to one teacher. They also offer rolling admissions and flexible scheduling.

Harbor Haven

Harbor Haven is a unique summer camp program which provides children with a social and educational experience that bridges the gap between school years. In a nurturing, camp-like environment, children engage in a variety of traditional summer activities combined with strong support for the academic, therapeutic, and social needs described in their IEP.

Choosing a Guardian to Name in Your Will

 

When handing your will and estate planning, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is who will take care of your children if you become incapacitated or in the event of your death.

 

“If you don't name a legal guardian in your will, the court will choose who will care for your children,” says Alex Hilsen, Esq., LL.M., head of SGW’s Estate Planning Division. “And you can’t assume that they will automatically grant custody to aunts, uncles, or grandparents.”

 

When drawing up your will, be sure that you and the other parent agree with who will be your child’s legal guardian so you can name the same person in both of your wills. “It’s a highly personal decision, so you want to make sure that you’re on the same page,” says Hilsen. You might also want to think about naming an alternate guardian if the person named isn’t able to take on the responsibility for whatever reason. “This may be a particular concern if you have a child with special needs.”

estatePlanningSM

Many of us labor a lifetime to build up our assets and fight for causes that matter to us. Few things are more fulfilling than the thought of sharing wealth and legacy with our family.

Of course, it’s impossible to plan for every eventuality, but careful planning can mitigate against the two primary risks.

 a)    Your intentions regarding your estate weren’t made clear, resulting in the potential for costly, time-consuming conflict.
 b)    Your family did not understand or share your wealth management vision, resulting in the possibility of asset dissipation.

supremeCourt

In an 8-0 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the de minimis standard as it relates to the educational benefit that students must receive under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). Instead, the Court reiterated the longstanding Rowley standard in ruling that in order for a school to “meet its substantive obligation under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, a school must offer an “individualized education program” reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.”

In the case, entitled Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, Endrew’s parents believed that he was not making any progress, as reflected by his “individualized education program,” which set forth essentially the same goals and objectives each year. The District offered an IEP to the parents for Endrew’s fifth grade year and it was similar to the IEPs that preceded it. The parents did not believe it was appropriate, so they unilaterally placed him in a private school and sought reimbursement from the school district. The lower courts ruled against the parents. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, relying upon the same lower standard as the court below, also ruled in favor of the District, holding that an IEP is adequate as long as it is intended to provide “merely more than de minimis” benefits.

An extended school year (ESY) refers to educational programming beyond the required 180-day school year for students with disabilities who are eligible. Although every student with a disability who has an individualized education program (IEP) must be considered for ESY, not every student is eligible for ESY. The determination, like all other programming decisions for students with disabilities, must be made annually on an individual basis by the IEP team. Parents are a valuable member of the IEP team and must be part of this decision-making process.

Several factors must be utilized by the IEP team in making a determination about whether a student is eligible for ESY. First, significant consideration should be given to the possibility that a student will regress if skills are not carried over beyond the traditional school year. In other words, if an interruption in the receipt of educational services would cause a student to regress and would require significant time to recoup, ESY is likely appropriate. Other factors that the IEP team should consider include:

MariannCrincoliAs a child approaches his or her 18th birthday, most parents feel a loss of control as he or she officially enters adulthood. Parents of children with special needs have even more reason to be concerned, because they have the heavy responsibility of determining whether or not their child is ready to graduate high school and transition to the next phase of life.

When evaluating this, it is helpful to know that there are special education laws that will assist you in making informed decisions — one that is best for your child.

Firstly, all children with disabilities in the State of New Jersey have the right to earn a high school diploma, just like their nondisabled peers. The Individuals with Disability Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) sets two paths for children to go about earning their high school diploma. High Schoolers with a disability can take the traditional route by completing the course requirements set forth by their public high school, or by completing the special education program and modified requirements contained in their IEP.

Under federal and state law, children with disabilities have the right to special education and related services through the school year in which they turn 21 or until they graduate, whichever comes first. However, if a child’s 21st birthday falls on July 1st, services will continue through the end of the following school year. This caveat may prove advantageous to a high schooler with a July 1st birthday not quite ready to graduate.

5steps

Special education is governed by federal and state law which requires public school districts to provide children with disabilities a free and appropriate public education that is individually tailored to meet a child’s unique needs and prepare her for the future as an independent member of society.

If you think your child has special education needs, here’s how you should get the process started:

schoolRefusal

School refusal, a significant, persistent refusal to attend school based in emotional distress, is more common than you think. It can be a terrible dilemma for a parent: You know your child needs to go to school, and you know she is not physically ill, but she still refuses to go and you don’t know what to do about it. She promises every night tomorrow she will go, but when school time approaches, she just can’t get out of the car, throws a tantrum or spends the day in the nurse’s office complaining she does not feel well. The school may be saying: “She’s fine; just send her in” or even threatening to call a truancy officer if you don’t. But it’s not that easy.

girlCoveringEarsDoes your child crash into walls? Does he cover his ears in a crowded amusement park or shy away from birthday parties? Does she seem insensitive to pain, or overly sensitive to sound or light?

When children have difficulty processing, or making sense of the sensory information they take in, they may have difficulty responding appropriately in a given situation or environment. When this difficulty is so severe that it impedes daily functioning, the child may be said to have a Sensory Processing Disorder (an "SPD") also known as Sensory Integration Disorder. An SPD may affect your child's ability to access his school education in numerous ways. For example, an SPD may affect your child's ability to focus, write, perform motor activities or participate in school social situations, such as lunch or recess. 

Page 1 of 5

Contact Us

Main Office
1249 South River Road
Suite 104
Cranbury, NJ 08512

Monmouth-Ocean Office
125 Half Mile Road
Suite 200
Red Bank, NJ 07701

609.409.3500 Tel
609.409.3505 Fax

Connect with us