Special Needs Expos http://www.specialneedsexpos.com Connecting The Special Needs Community Fri, 11 Aug 2017 16:27:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Supporting Your Child’s Learning Style http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/supporting-your-childs-learning-style/ Fri, 05 Aug 2016 18:12:23 +0000 http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/?p=15628 Continue reading]]> Supporting Your Child’s Learning Style

A Guest Post By Beth Ann Balalaos, LICM4All Coordinator
Long Island Children’s Museum

Each and every child has a learning style that suits them best. Whether your child benefits from learning visually, logically, physically, or verbally, there are different ways you can help your child learn in the most positive way possible.

Your Child In School

Ask your child’s teachers about how your child learns best. If your child is not yet in school, you can research Howard Gardner’s Multiple-Intelligences. According to Howard Gardner, there are 7 types of intelligences that identify the way a child typically learns best.

Different Ways of Learning at Children’s Museums and Venues

Once you and your child have worked together to identify his or her unique learning style, it is important to locate resources that can further strengthen and nurture it. Children’s museums, institutions and venues typically have calendars with a number of different workshops and programs that tap into different learning styles. It is always helpful to track these programs to involve children in interactive, interesting activities that strengthen their abilities.

Tactile Programs

Many children’s venues offer tactile programs.  For example, the Long Island Children’s Museum (LICM) offers Messy Afternoons. These are perfect for those who require some repetitive stimulation, those who learn through physical touch, who enjoy science, and who just love to get a little bit messy! During the LICM program, children play with a number of messy mash-ups and leave the mess behind, making adults enjoy the experience, too.

Learning Through Art and Music

Both creative and visual-learners love the beautiful experiences in art programs. Music, sounds and musical instruments are popular for children who learn through physical touch, or children who learn through auditory sound.

Physical and Kinesthetic Learners

If you find that your child is having a blast using blocks to build phenomenal structures, then your child might be a physical learner. Your child might also learn best by doing. Active learning opportunities include lab experiments, nature walks, and physical games.

Special Needs Children’s Programming and Accommodations

Be sure to contact children’s venues and ask about special needs or disability-friendly programming and exhibits. For example, all LICM exhibits are wheelchair-accessible. Our theater is also fully accessible and includes some sensory-friendly performances for children who have difficulty with the lights and sounds of a typical theater environment. LICM also features Friendly Hours, exclusive time for families of children with special needs to visit at a time when attendance is limited, and the lights and sounds in the museum are lowered.

Fun, Interactive Children’s Exhibits for All

To explore the various learning styles, consider bringing your child through exhibits to see what he or she naturally gravitates towards. Children’s museums are places for you and your children to interact, engage, and PLAY with everything you see. While you travel through the exhibits, ask your child open-ended questions such as, “Why do you think this is happening?” to gauge whether or not they understand what they are learning.

When in doubt, ask a staff member for help! If you know your child learns in a specific way, ask which areas concentrate on that learning-style. Most importantly, remember to have fun!

About Beth Ann Balalaos

Beth Ann Balalaos is the LICM4all Program Coordinator and oversees the Long Island Children’s Museums accessibility and inclusion initiatives for all its visitors. Beth Ann graduated from Adelphi University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and gender studies, and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education with an advanced certification in Special Education.


Basic Special Ed. Law Terms Every Parent Needs to Know http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/basic-special-ed-law-terms-every-parent-needs-to-know/ Thu, 17 Sep 2015 22:02:02 +0000 http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/?p=12685 Continue reading]]> When it comes to educating your special needs children, you have certain legal rights and
knowing basic terms is important. You’ll be impacted by two Federal laws; the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (“IDEA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The two statutes confer different rights.

The IDEA is a Federal statute protecting children from birth until high school graduation or age 21, whichever is sooner. State implementation of the IDEA is overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs The trigger is a disability that adversely impacts learning, the way a child functions in school and social/emotional development. Here are the basic terms you need to know:

1) Evaluation

Either a school or parent can ‘refer’ a child for ‘’evaluation.’ The child has the right to be
evaluated for all suspected disabilities. You, the parent, have the right to ask for ‘an
independent educational evaluation at public expense.’ After evaluation, a determination will be made whether to classify your child under the IDEA. Classified children are entitled to triennial evaluations. Even if your child has never attended public school, they are entitled to an evaluation and classification under the IDEA, if they qualify.

2) ‘Free Appropriate Public Education’ [FAPE] in accordance with an ‘Individualized Education Program’ [IEP].

Many of you are familiar with the IEP it’s
contents are mandated in detail by the IDEA, as well as the Federal and State regulations. It must be reviewed annually and must track progress, among many other things. IEPs are developed by ‘teams’ and parents are essential team members. It must include annual goals and periodic reporting to the parents.

3) Meaningful parent participation

Parents have the right to meaningful participation in creating their child’s individualized
education program. That means that parents have the right to visit programs offered by public school districts, to obtain information about the other students in proposed classes [not names or other identifying information, but general information, like IQ, classification, gender, whether the children have aides or are verbal]

4) FAPE in the ‘Least Restrictive Environment’ [LRE]

The IDEA requires that classified students be educated with typically functioning children to the maximum extent, so long as the placement enables a child to make progress. If appropriate, parents have the right to

5) Private school tuition reimbursement, compensatory education and attorneys fees

If it can be shown that a) the district failed to provide a FAPE b) that the private school selected by the parent is appropriate and c) the parent attended meetings, considered options offered by the public school district and objected to the program at the IEP meeting and gave written notice of their rejection of the public school program. “Equitable relief” can be requested in the form of “compensatory education” payment
for related services a parent secures outside of school to make up for services that the school failed to provide or should have provided. Plus, attorneys fees can be awarded to the “substantially prevailing party.” Expert witness fees and fees charged by other nonattorney consultants are not reimbursable.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a completely different statute. It protects people with disabilities that impact a “major life activity” are protected and learning is considered a “major life activity.” 504 prohibits discrimination against qualified people by any school, public or private, that accepts any money from the Federal government. There is something called a ‘504 plan’ and school districts can provide all sorts of supports and services under a 504 plan, however, those plans don’t require any sort of accountability. Section 504, however, offers important protections to students with disabilities when it comes to extracurricular activities and protects people who have graduated from high school or after the age of 21.

Contributed by: Bonnie Schinagle, Esq

Special Needs Expos on the Radio! http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/special-needs-expos-on-the-radio/ Sun, 15 Mar 2015 15:41:35 +0000 http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/?p=10804 ]]> Building A Healthy & Happy Lifestyle: Sports & Recreation For Children With Special Needs http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/building-a-healthy-happy-lifestyle-sports-recreation-for-children-with-special-needs/ Thu, 19 Feb 2015 02:00:54 +0000 http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/?p=5242 Continue reading]]> Building A Healthy & Happy Lifestyle: Sports & Recreation For Children With Special Needs

Studies have shown that children with special needs face the same obesity risks as other children but have a larger set of factors that affect and may limit the types of foods they eat or activities they participate in. Some of these factors include:

  1. Having a more complex relationship with food
  2. Barriers to Exercise
  3. Medications
  4. Family Stress
  5. Genetic Disorders
  6. Perceived Risk of Participating In Too “Difficult” or Too “Dangerous” Activities

These barriers are tough to break but are important to help children with special needs learn how to be active and healthy from a young. Learning good habits early on can set the children up for a healthier adult life.

In addition to eating healthy, sports and recreational activities are integral for children with special needs. Sports and recreational activities help with improvements in muscle strength, coordination, flexibility, increased endurance and motor skills. In addition, sports programs are great activities to help build self-confidence and build friendships that last a lifetime. Participating in sports allows athletes with special needs the opportunity to feel part of a team, winning, and gain personal satisfaction with their progress.

At Be The Best Sport, we offer sports and recreational activities for children with special needs that focus on exposing the athletes to the world of sports and to help develop and strengthen their motor, cognitive, and social abilities. Our athletes have the opportunity to learn the basics of each sport, through a hands-on multi-sensory approach. The program helps facilitate the building of sport skills, confidence, self-esteem, and sportsmanship, while meeting the needs of each individual. Our motto is to “Have FUN, make FRIENDS and always leave with a SMILE” and is what motivates us each week to provide a great experience that our athletes will remember for a lifetime.

Our organization strives to adapt traditional athletic activities to accommodate children with various types of special needs. We have programs that offer 1-to-1 assistance for those athletes who require more attention and support to remain on task as well as programs for athletes who want to compete in a team setting and play against other athletes his/her own age in a competitive setting.

Over the years, we have seen many of our athlete’s make substantial progress in a physical aspect but also in other aspects of life. Parents regularly say that their son/daughter has an increase in appetite and improved sleeping habits as well as having more energy which will help cope with stress or anxiety that may come about.

To learn more about Be The Best Sport, or any of the programs we offer, please visit our website at: www.BeTheBestSport.org or call us at 516.453.0990

What Government Benefits Are Available for Special Needs? http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/what-government-benefits-are-available-for-special-needs/ Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:58:17 +0000 http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/?p=3765 Continue reading]]> There are various government programs to support children, young people, and adults with special needs. Qualifying for benefit programs may be complex but will greatly aid the care of your disabled child, even after you are gone.

Relevant Legislation

In addition to providing special needs programs, the Americans with Disabilities Act ensures proper treatment and equal opportunity for the disabled. If you feel like your public buildings or schools fall short of your child’s needs, contact the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to regulation, the following government agencies provide equal opportunity to those with disabilities:

  • Employment
  • Transportation
  • Telephone Relay Service
  • Education
  • Health Care
  • Labor
  • Housing
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Agriculture
  • ADA Guidelines

With the ADA, there are many civil rights and government benefits for people with special needs. Below we’ll discuss some of the more specific government programs that your child may qualify for.

How to Qualify for Government Benefits

Social Security offers two programs to those who have a disability. These include:

1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

This program supports certain special needs benefits, including medical costs. Parents’ income level determines whether or not disabled children under the age of 18 qualify for such benefits. In addition, adults disabled since childhood (or before 22 years old) also qualify for SSDI benefits.

Parental circumstances also determine if a disabled adult qualifies for this “child” benefit. To qualify, at least one of his or her parents must currently qualify for Social Security benefits or have died and worked long enough under Social Security benefits.

2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

This involves monthly payments to people with low income who are either:

  • 65 years or older
  • Blind or disabled

SSI payments vary from state to state, so contact your local Social Security office to find out specific information. For children under 18, the income, resources, and household situation are all considered during application.

To qualify for SSI payments, your child cannot work a job that earns more than $1,070 a month. Their physical and/or mental condition must also meet what’s called “marked and severe functional limitations.” Your child’s disability must also be continuous for 12 months or more or a terminal condition.

When applying, you’ll need to bring any and all health and educational records to quicken the process. After sending this information, you’ll receive feedback.

Maximizing Government Benefits

Remember that relatives who give monetary gifts or donations could prevent your child from receiving government benefits. To avoid this, invest in a special needs trust for such gifts and donations. This way, your child will still have a low enough “income” to qualify for SSI.

Register on our site for more information or to connect with our community.

Am I My Child’s Guardian? http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/am-i-my-childs-guardian/ http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/am-i-my-childs-guardian/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 22:14:29 +0000 http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/?p=3654 Continue reading]]> Parents assume that they are the legal guardians for their children, that they are responsible for their child’s welfare, can defend their child’s rights, advocate for their child and make medical decisions for their child. Parents can do all of these things until their child reaches the age of majority—18 in New York State. Every person is regarded as a legal adult upon reaching the age of 18 whether or not there is an intellectual or developmental disability. If a parent feels that his or her child cannot take responsibility for his or her personal, financial, life decisions or legal affairs, the parent or another responsible family member or person can apply to the Surrogate’s Court in the County in which the child lives in New York State to become the child’s legal guardian.

To become a guardian for a child with intellectual or developmental disabilities, New York State has established a streamlined procedure under the Surrogate Court Procedure Act—the 17A Guardianship. The parent files a petition with supporting documents with the County Surrogate’s Court. Most parents use the services of an attorney to guide them through the guardianship process, although no attorney is required. Only the County Surrogate’s Court can establish this type of guardianship–it cannot be accomplished by will or any other means. This is a special proceeding for the appointment of a guardian for a developmentally disabled person as compared to guardianship proceedings for non-developmentally disabled persons. For persons with other types of disabilities guardianship can be obtained under Part 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law.

Why should a parent seek to be named the legal guardian of his or her child? A person with intellectual or developmental disabilities may not be able to understand their rights or medical or financial advice. They may face difficulty in obtaining medical treatment and/or social services or other services that should be available to him or her. An individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities may become liable for financial obligations regardless of his or her ability or inability to understand what they are buying or the contract they are signing or pay for them. The court appointed guardian is given the legal authority to make life decisions, manage personal and financial affairs and make legal decisions for his or her charge over the age of 18.

Who should become the guardian of my child? A parent, sibling, other family member or an interested third party like a close family friend may become the guardian. This is a very personal decision to be made by the family based upon the facts and circumstances faced by the individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

What are the responsibilities of a guardian? In New York, the guardian acts very much as a parent of a child under the age of 18. The guardian ensures that the rights, interests and desires of the person with developmental disabilities are met and protected. The guardian also advocates for his or her charge. It is important to note, however, that the guardian assumes no personal financial liability by virtue of being an individual’s guardian.

When should I become my child’s guardian? At some point before the child turns 18, a guardian should be appointed so that there is no period of time where the child is left unprotected. There is no minimum or maximum age for a petition for guardianship to be filed with the County Surrogate’s Court.

By Saundra M. Gumerove, Esq., an attorney in Jericho, New York

http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/am-i-my-childs-guardian/feed/ 1
Special Needs Resources Come To Your Town http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/special-needs-resources-come-to-your-town/ http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/special-needs-resources-come-to-your-town/#comments Sat, 01 Nov 2014 20:44:49 +0000 http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/?p=3479 Continue reading]]> As one of the founders of Special Needs Expos, Inc. I figured I would write our first blog post.  I’m often asked, how did this whole idea come to fruition?  I am financial planner by trade (President and CEO of Wexford Financial Strategies) and one of only a few hundred Chartered Special Needs Consultants in the country.  One of my specialties is working on helping families plan for the future who have children or loved ones with special needs.

I was witnessing a common theme amongst my clients who didn’t know where to turn for resources for their loved ones.  As an advocate for the family and an avid networker, I found myself making recommendations to other trusted resources I collaborate with.  I knew this was not enough and something had to be created on a much larger scale.

Jamie Young, my other partner and my Aunt, knew this was a passion of mine and our family and found a free directory of special needs resources (Special Needs 4 Special Kids) in the local library.  She gave it to me, and I took it upon myself to call the publisher, Heather Angstreich who is the third partner in Special Needs Expos.

The three of us got together and decided we needed to bring something BIG to the special needs community and this is how we started.  All three of us are immediately affected by a loved one who has special needs and value the importance of valuable resources, information and education.

The goal of our first expo was to have thirty exhibitors (providers) and one hundred attendees.  We exceeded this goal by bringing the Long Island special needs community 137 exhibitors with about 3000 in attendance.  We saw the success and the need and that year we produced another show in New York City and now in our second year of business just produced a show in Teaneck, New Jersey and next week in Tarrytown, New York.

Together, we are hoping to produce expos nationwide, where we can provide the ever-growing special needs community with what they deserve.  We are always open to suggestions, ideas and comments and hope we can continue to change people’s lives.

We invite you to join our website as a free member to take advantage of our forums, provider directory and our buddy area where you can make new friends.  Please don’t keep us a secret……

http://www.specialneedsexpos.com/special-needs-resources-come-to-your-town/feed/ 2