Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Special Needs Alliance: What to Consider When Creating a Special Needs Trust

Thinking It Through

What to Consider When Creating a Special Needs Trust

By Katherine N. Barr
Many parents put off the process of setting up a special needs trust (SNT) for a child with disabilities. They worry about complexity and cost and that they’ll be faced with difficult decisions. They may finally be prompted to call an attorney by attending a workshop or because they’ve heard of someone who lost government benefits through mishandling of their finances. There’s no doubt that there are important choices to be made when framing an SNT. But an experienced special needs attorney can ease the process, laying out families’ options, based upon their particular circumstances.
Since the SNT’s provisions should be consistent with the child’s life care plan, I begin by asking about the individual’s interests, abilities and challenges. How do the parents envision their loved one’s life unfolding in terms of career, living arrangements and lifestyle? After that I move on to the rest of the family, learning if there are other children or multiple marriages to be considered.
After explaining which government benefits may be available to the child, I learn what assets the parents have to work with–often a mortgaged home, employer-provided group life insurance and a retirement account. I often suggest that they obtain life insurance coverage that’s not employer-dependent.
Parents must decide what portion of their estate to bequeath to a family member with disabilities, and I point out that a financial planner or online calculator can help them estimate what their child’s long-term financial needs will be. Any assets intended for a child with special needs should be channeled into the SNT in order to maintain eligibility for means-tested government programs such as SSI and Medicaid.
The next decision is whether to create the SNT within a will (testamentary) or as a separate document (inter vivos). The latter is advisable if parents wish to begin funding the trust during their lifetimes or if other individuals are likely to make gifts or bequests to the child.
Naming the right trustee(s) to manage the SNT is critical, and I advise parents to first focus on the near-term, choosing someone who could assume that role immediately, if necessary. The ideal trustee is conscientious, has financial acumen and an understanding of government benefits, and is willing to consult a special needs attorney regularly to ensure proper administration of the trust. This is a huge responsibility, and it may be advisable to have a professional trustee available as backup.
Parents should then write a companion document, a “letter of intent,” to guide the trustee and others who will figure prominently in the child’s future. No one knows a child better than Mom and Dad, and the letter of intent should include information that will help others to make decisions of which the parents would approve. For instance, is a service dog important to the child’s well-being? Should vacations be planned? Music lessons? I provide a sample letter to help families get started. Once it’s complete, they should be sure to tell the child’s support network that it exists.
Finally, it’s important to design flexibility into the SNT so that, if necessary, trustees can be replaced and the document can be amended as government regulations or personal circumstances change.
Almost invariably, parents experience a sense of relief once the SNT has been completed. “I feel so much better—that wasn’t so bad,” they’ll say. “Why was I dreading this? You made it easy.”

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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Neurobiology of ADHD and Related Disorders Webinar

The Neurobiology of ADHD and Related Disorders

The Neurobiology of ADHD and Related Disorders
Tuesday, April 30, 2013- Tuesday, April 30, 2013
12:00 pm EDT - 1:00 pm EDT

Location: Webinar

This webinar is Part II of The Amazing Brain Webinar Series: Select Topics in Neuroscience and Child Development for the Clinician. It is being jointly sponsored with the Yale School of Medicine, Section of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics. For more information about the webinar series, click here.
CME/CEUs will be availabe. Click here to learn more.

Speaker: Amy F.T. Arnsten, MD

AFT Arnsten Photo
Read bio here.
Session Description: 
This session will describe the prefrontal cortex's role in attention, behavior and emotion and how abnormal development in this area of the brain contributes to ADHD, ODD and bipolar disorder. Dr. Arnsten will also underscore the role of stress in causing prefrontal cortical dysfunction and emerging treatments.
Goals and Objectives: 
1) The role of the prefrontal cortex in the top-down regulation of attention, behavior and emotion.
2) How abnormal development and dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex contributes to childhood disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder and bipolar disorder.
3) How prefrontal cortical circuits are modulated by the arousal systems, and how stress exposure or lead poisoning can cause prefrontal cortical dysfunction that mimics ADHD.
4) New data on how medications used to treat ADHD can strengthen prefrontal cortical regulation through catecholamine actions on prefrontal network connections.
Click here to register
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Friday, April 26, 2013

Free Webinar - How Senior Friendly is Your Website?

How Senior Friendly is Your Website?


Accessible Technology Coalition

Thursday, May 9, 2013

10:30 AM Pacific, 1:30 PM Eastern

The percentage of older people using the Internet continues to rise. As does the number of younger people who rely on the Internet for information and resources as they provide support to an older family member or friend.
Learn what it means to deliver web content and navigation choices that are specifically geared for older web visitors and their families and caregivers.
Speaker: Stephanie Dailey, Senior Public Affairs Specialist, Office of Communications, and Public Liaison, National Institute on Aging, developer of NIHSeniorHealth.gov

Click here to register

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Free Upcoming Webinars

Webinars available from the Accessible Technology Coalition

Accessible Technology Coalition

Upcoming Trainings:

Great YouTube Video Clips on AAC ( Augmentative and Alternative Communication)

When: Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM Pacific, 1:00 PM Eastern
Description: There are hundreds of YouTube clips on using the iPad and other AAC devices. Here’s the very best clips that you can use in your work, or to inspire your own postings.

AAC Developing Participation: Part 1: Getting Started

When: Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Time: 10 am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern
AbleNet University presents the first of a 5 part series on AAC.

Using Free Apps on the Computer & iPad for Celebrating/Sharing Student Writing

When: Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Time: 12 PM Pacific, 3 PM Eastern
AbleNet University presents Deanna Wagner, MS/CCC-SLP

One Lesson - All Learners, Differentiating with Technology

When: April 25th, 2013
Time: 1pm Pacific, 4 pm Eastern
Description: How can technology be used to meet the varying needs of all learners? As a preview of their Leveraging Technology to Differentiate Instruction: Creating Rich Curricula for ALL Students summer workshop, EdTechTeacher's Beth Holland and guest instructor, Tracy Sockalosky, will present example lessons that demonstrate how technology can be used to simultaneously remediate, differentiate, and enrich to meet students' learning needs.

Community College Accommodation and Technology Services

When: Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Time: 3:30 PM Pacific, 6:30 PM Eastern
Brought to you by the AT Network of California.

Accommodations for Executive Functioning

When: Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Time: 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern
Description: AT can help with mental processes of managing time, making plans, multi-tasking, organizing, strategizing, and paying attention to and remembering details. Webinar from JAN.

Assistive Technology (AT) Latest and Greatest

When: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Time: 10:30 AM Pacific, 1:30 PM Eastern
Trends in Assistive Technology - The Latest from 2013 ATIA and CSUN Conference

Self-employment as an Individualized Process for Individuals with Disabilities

When: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Time: 11 AM Pacific, 2 PM Eastern
JAN webinar on self-employment: "more than one way to the top of the mountain."

To learn more about ATC, please click on the above title.
To learn more about individual webinars, please click on their titles.
To access the CDR Library catalog, please click on this link.

Transportation Options and Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities Webinar

Autism NOW Webinar: Transportation Options and Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities

Transportation Options and Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities

Time: Tuesday, April 30, 2013, from 2:00 to 3:30 PM EST
Speakers: Amy Goodman, Autism NOW, Krystian Boreyko, Easter Seals
Krystian Boreyko of Easter Seals Project ACTION joins Co-Director Amy Goodman for this webinar to discuss the various transportation options that are available to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities! Presenters will discuss regulations that protect the rights of people with disabilities including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Air Carrier Access Act; accommodations that are offered to individuals who use public transportation, aircrafts and other modes of transportation; issues regarding touch and personal space; the process of obtaining a driver’s license and more!
To learn more, please click on the above title.
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Youth Leadership Forum Application Due May 9th!!!

Youth Leadership Forum application deadline is May 9th!

Applications for the 2013 Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) can be downloaded here

YLF is a leadership development program for high school students with disabilities between the ages of 17 and 21 who want to increase their leadership skills while making new friends and trying new experiences. It features team-building activities, group discussions, guest speakers, and most of all, fun! YLF will be held at Newberry College July 16 through 18

Don’t delay! The deadline for completed applications is May 9, 2013.
There is no cost other than transportation to and from Newberry College. Approximately 30 delegates will be selected. For more information, click the above title.

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Abundant Life Equipment Lending Library Events!

Yard Sale!
to support Abundant Life Equipment Loan Library
Saturday, April 20th
7 am - 11:30 am
At Lake Carolina's Green across from 212 Eascott Place, Columbia SC 29229
P: (803) 720-5240

Bike Race!
in Lake Carolina at Village Green
Saturday, April 27th 
10:00 am
212 Eascott Place, Columbia, SC 29229
Ages: 3yr 13yr ($10 per child)
1 mile bike loop for all kids with all abilities 
Hot Dogs
Bring your bikes!
Bring your helmets!
Prizes for all
Fun for all

Proceeds for Abundant Life Equipment Lending Library
Kids helping raise money for wheelchairs, walkers, standers and more!
Contact RSVP/Details
P: (803) 720-5240

To learn more, please click on the above title.
To access the CDR Library catalog, please click on this link.

Center for Developmental Services: Little Heroes Night

Coming up at Fluor Field on Saturday, April 27, 2013 is a day dedicated to honoring kids who are soaring to their full potential. The Center for Developmental Services event will begin in the afternoon with a Mauldin Miracle League game, where its players will buddy up with the Greenville Drive players.
Activities will be available for attendees around the stadium grounds. A ballpark picnic and Field Street Experience will provide dinner and activities, beginning at 4:30 PM.
Tickets are available through the Greenville Drive box office for $15. Price includes access to the afternoon activities, food at the picnic, and the ticket for the evening Drive game versus the Delmarva Shorebirds at 7 PM.
Greenville, S.C. (April 19, 2013): Tickets are now available for the Little Heroes Night at The Drive on Saturday, April 27. Little Heroes Night will highlight some of the community’s resources serving children with special needs.
Little Heroes Night, presented by Northwestern Mutual, is a Drive double-header. The afternoon begins with Drive team members playing side-by-side with members of the Mauldin Miracle League, a youth league for special needs children.
The Mauldin Miracle League game will be followed by a picnic and the Drive’s game against the Delmarva Shorebirds. During the picnic, inflatable bounce houses and face painting will be available for kids.
Tickets for Little Heroes Night are available for $15 from the Drive’s box office (864) 240-2528 (tickets@greenvilledrive.com). All proceeds from Little Heroes Night benefit the Center for Developmental Services (CDS), the largest multi-disciplinary treatment facility in the Upstate for children with disabilities and developmental delays.
About CDS
CDS links children with disabilities and developmental delays and their families with multi-disciplinary services for developmental evaluation, treatment, education, and support through a partnership of nonprofit and governmental agencies. The partnership is comprised of BabyNet; Family Connection of SC; the Preschool Special Education Program of Greenville County Schools; KidVentures of the Greenville County Disabilities and Special Needs Board; Clarity, and three programs of the Greenville Health System Children’s Hospital: Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Kidnetics, and The Wonder Center. CDS and its partners serve over 6,500 children and their families each year in one facility located on property donated by the First Presbyterian Church at 29 North Academy Street in Greenville. For more information about CDS or its partners, visit www.cdservices.org or contact Joy Blue, Director of Donor & Community Relations.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Protection and Advocacy Inc. Celebrating Abilites

Gala Information


  • For Ticket Information, please contact P&A at 803-782-0639 or 866-275-7273 orinfo@pandasc.org
  • RSVP by April 19th


  • Friday, April 26, 6:00–9:00pm; Nelson Mullins, The Meridian Building, 1320 Main St, Columbia
  • Music by Jim LeBlanc
  • Photographer John Herrel Photography
  • Catering by Anna Cline Catering
  • Wine & Beer selections by Total Wine
  • Bartending by Liquid Assets
  • Celebrating Abilities will feature a live and silent auction – "like" P&A on Facebook to stay up-to-date with featured auction items including a vacation rental at Pawleys Island, a Charleston Weekend Getaway, a Soda City Market Basket, Family Weekend Getaway to Columbia, Dom Perignon 1996, and many other fabulous items!

To learn more, please click on the above title.
To access the CDR Library catalog, please click on this link.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Young Adults With Autism Can Thrive In High-Tech Jobs

Young Adults With Autism Can Thrive In High-Tech Jobs

The job hunt is complicated enough for most high school and college graduates — and even tougher for the growing number of young people on the autism spectrum. Despite the obstacles that people with autism face trying to find work, there's a natural landing place: the tech industry.

Amelia Schabel graduated from high school five years ago. She had good grades and enrolled in community college. But it was too stressful. After less than a month she was back at home, doing nothing.

"I did go to a community college for a semester, but that definitely was not for me," she says.

Schabel has Asperger's syndrome, a disorder on the "high functioning" end of the autism spectrum.

According to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 88 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder. For people like Schabel, attending college and interacting socially can be tough.

"I can look someone in the eye and talk to them," she says, "but if someone treats me in a way I don't think I deserve to be treated, I'm not going to react well. I may lash out, I may not speak to them, I may just glare."

Although symptoms and their severity vary widely, the majority of young adults with autism spectrum disorder won't make it to college and won't get a job after they graduate. This year alone, 50,000 adolescents with autism will turn 18.

A Tech Mecca For Young Adults With Autism

Gary Moore wants to make the transition into the workforce easier for young adults on the autism spectrum. Moore, along with his partner Dan Selic, founded the nonPareil Institute in Plano, Texas. It's a combination training program and software company for young adults on the autism spectrum.

Schabel, now 23, is one of more than 100 students at nonPareil, training in everything from software programing and digital design to 3-D modeling. She's studying visual art and working on a children's book. Two-dozen young adults with autism work as employees there.

Moore's son, Andrew, is a junior in high school and on the autism spectrum. Moore says he used to stay up at night worrying about what would happen to Andrew after graduation.

"Although [Andrew] can't tie his shoes or buckle his belt to do a lot of things independently, he can do technology," Moore says. "He's a digital native."

For people like Andrew Moore and Amelia Schabel, high-tech jobs can be a perfect fit. Dr. Patricia Evans, a neurologist at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, says people on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum often have an amazing ability to hyper-focus on a task.

"They may really flourish at engineering-type tasks or computer design, where their interaction with people is somewhat limited," Evans says.

White-Collar Careers

One Fortune 500 company that has begun hiring people with intellectual disabilities in North Texas is Alliance Data. Jim Pierce, vice president of Corporate Administration, says "this is an untapped labor market." He has hired a dozen people with intellectual disabilities.

"We've got this one guy, for example; his productivity is three times as productive as the person doing his job who did not have cognitive disabilities before him. And his error rate is 2 percent. He is 98 percent accurate. He's a phenomenal worker," Pierce says.

Pierce thinks it won't be long before more companies realize they're missing out on a hiring opportunity. In the meantime, nonPareil is trying to keep up with growing demand for training and jobs in Texas. It's looking to build more campuses in Fort Worth, and eventually in Silicon Valley, Calif.

To hear the rest of the story, please click on the above title.
To access the CDR Library catalog, please click on this link.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Summer Camp List for Kids with Special Needs

Summer Camp List for Kids with Special Needs

The SC Assistive Technology Program has a list of summer camps for kids with special needs and it has been updated.  Click the above title to find more details!

To learn more, please click on the above title.
To access the CDR Library catalog, please click on this link.

Doggone Days of Summer Camp

Doggone Days of Summer Camp

Ever wonder how PAALS teaches dogs to turn on lights for people who use wheelchairs? Learn the basics of service dog training, how to help people in the community, and work side by side with other youth and youth with disabilities, all while pairing up to train a service dog candidate.
Ages 11-14 (ages 11-19 youth with disabilities).

Early Bird Registration $225 – April 2, 2013 through May 15, 2013.

A deposit of $150 is required to hold a space. Early bird must be paid in full by May 15, 2013, to take advantage of discount.
The two camp sessions are June 17-21, 2013 and June 24-28, 2013. A third week will be added (July 8 – 12) if the first two weeks fill up.
The location for camp this year is
Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary
225 N. Brickyard Rd
Columbia, SC 29223

Please click HERE for Camp Registration Application.

Please click HERE for more information about CAMP.

Please click HERE for a CAMP FAQ.

To learn more, please click on the above title.
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stride for Autism

Saturday, May 4th is the date for the annual Strides for Autism walk in the Midlands.  This is a major fundraising event for the S.C. Autism Society.  

Laura Kane of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine has created a team:
Our family has created a team called “The Pickled Peppers” and we plan to participate in the walk.  What’s the deal with the odd name?  Well, we sometimes call Peter “Peter Piper” from the nursery rhyme that goes: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”

Here is a link to the team information in case you’d like to join our team for the walk or donate to the cause:

To learn more, please click on the above title.
To learn more about Laura, please click here.
To access the CDR Library catalog, please click on this link.

Assistive Technology Reuse within VR Programs - Webinar Tuesday, April 30. 2013

Pass It On Center

Your Secret Weapon for Work: Reuse
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
2:00pm to 3:30pm (EST)

Joy Kniskern, Pass It On Center

Barclay Shepard, Virginia Assistive Technology System

Tough economic times can be beneficial times for assistive technology reuse. Technology is abandoned for many reasons. The webinar will provide an overview of current understanding of technology abandonment and why reuse for vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs and employment settings benefits everyone. Join us to learn more about a recent survey of vocational rehabilitation programs and current practices concerning VR practices, needs, and gaps in AT reutilization. We will also share best practice steps to implement AT reutilization within VR programs. Considering hypothetical costs of associated with reuse, we will also showcase the business case for AT reuse within VR programs. Don't miss this exciting session that will help identify steps employers can take in making sure that assistive technology that is no longer needed does not end up in warehouses or landfills and in the hands of those interested in working.

Instructions on How to Access this Webinar

Click this link to join the meeting: http://atia.adobeconnect.com/piocwork043013/
To sign on, choose the option "Guest" and add your name and organization. Please use the URL above as it is unique to this PIOC webinar.
Never attended an Adobe Connect webinar before?
Test your connection
Get a quick overview

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Study Finds Age-Related Differences in Autism

Study finds age-related differences in autism

A professor’s meta-analysis found that neural markers of autism change with age

Contributing Writer
Autism disorders affect children’s brains differently than they do in adults’ brains, according to new research led by Daniel Dickstein, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry last month, is the first large-scale data analysis concerning age-related changes in brain activity that are associated with autism, he said.
For his research, Dickstein analyzed data from previous studies through a meta-analysis, which he described as “a statistically sound way to pool large sets of data.” This technique allowed Dickstein and his team to compare functional brain images of 535 children with and without autism to a similar set of images  of 604 adult brains.
“This type of meta-analysis allows us to specify criteria for comparison,” said Matthew Pescosolido GS, a neuroscience graduate student who worked on the study.
The study found that the neural differences associated with autism may change as individuals age. The data showed that areas of high brain activity in children diagnosed with autism are different from the areas of high activity in adults diagnosed with the disorder.
“When people think about autism, they think about kids — but these kids become adults,” Dickstein said.
A better understanding of autism could lead to more effective treatments for both children and adults by targeting specific areas of the brain, Pescosolido said.
In the past, Dickstein’s research has mainly focused on bipolar disorder, ADHD and anxiety disorders, but he has always been interested in studying autism, he said.
After working at the National Institute of Mental Health, Dickstein returned to Brown, where he started the Pediatric Mood, Imaging and Neurodevelopment Program — Pedi-MIND — at Bradley Hospital in 2007.
“Dr. Dickstein is at the absolute forefront of conducting neuroimaging of children with psychiatric disorders,” Pescosolido said.
Dickstein, who is a trained pediatrician and child psychiatrist, said he hopes Pedi-MIND can help lead the way in identifying biological and behavioral markers of psychiatric illnesses in children to improve diagnoses and treatment of these conditions.
To learn more, please click on the above title.
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