The resources presented on this page are intended to inform you about available programs and services for your special needs child or adult. Please note that inclusion on this page is not an endorsement of any of these programs or groups by Special Needs Legal Advocacy, but is offered only for informational purposes. Neither Special Needs Legal Advocacy nor its parent company Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. are responsible for the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of any of the information, products, or services these resources provide.
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IDEA is a federal act, revised in 2004, that defines the requirements public school districts must follow for providing a free and appropriate education for children with educational disabilites. If your child falls into the autism spectrum, is deaf or hearing impaired, emotionally disabled, has diminished intellectual capacity, has a speech or language impairment, is blind or has a severe visual deficit, or has suffered from a traumatic brain injury then your school district is obligated to identify your child's disability and provide the necessary educational support and accommodations for your child to succeed.
The above link takes you to the U. S. Department of Education site that describes what IDEA has to offer your child and offers information on how to make IDEA work for your child.
Section 504 specifically prohibits public schools from discriminating against students that have disabilities, including those that may fall outside the scope of IDEA, and guarantees a free and appropriate public education. This Section defines a disability as "a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities."
The above link takes you to the Florida Department of Education article on Section 504, which contains many questions and answers regarding the plan, the role of teachers and parents, and due process procedures available to parents.
The ABLE Act of 2014 became available to individuals with disabilities in early 2015. It allows such individuals to open special savings accounts for disability-related expenses while still maintaining their eligibility for Social Security and other government benefits programs. There are strict rules for who may apply and the limits to the use of the account. It is not for everybody, and not every state has yet put the appropriate legislation in place to allow for it.
The above link will take you to a December 2014 article in "The Disability Scoop" on the topic.
The above link brings you to a program offered by the South Carolina Lieutenant Governor's Office on Aging. "Access" is strictly an informational site providing resources for older adults, individuals with disabilities, and families and caregivers.
The above link brings you to a program offered by the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs that provides information and access links to services specifically for persons with autism or who have family members with autism.
The above link brings you to the only community-based South Carolina state-wide organization serving children and adults with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), offering assistance, education, information and referrals to local advocates.
The above link brings you to the University of South Florida's site for a program they administer for the West Coast of Florida, providing educational services and other resources to families with children (and adults) already diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). For a complete list of other CARD regional sites, go to www.Florida-CARD.org.
The above link brings you to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network which is a "nonprofit organization run by and for Autistic people. ASAN was created to serve as a national grassroots disability rights organization for the Autistic community, and does so by advocating for systems change and ensuring that the voices of Autistic people are heard in policy debates and the halls of power while working to educate communities and improve public perceptions of autism." (quote taken from their site)
The above link brings you to the largest national grass-roots organization serving children and adults (and their families) affected by mental illness. NAMI educates, advocates and provides a life-line of support when needed. Both South Carolina and Florida have many NAMI organizations.
Call Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A., for help with your family's estate-planning and special needs!