Advocacy Tips for Parents

When a child has a disability, parents often learn that getting their child’s needs met requires persistence, organization, and advocacy. Advocacy is an action. A person is an advocate when they organize the work and press onward until a goal is achieved. Laws that protect the rights of students with disabilities also protect parents as Read More

Adolescent Health Care Act Provides Options for Families Seeking Mental Health and Substance Use Help for Young People Resistant to Treatment

A Brief Overview The Adolescent Behavioral Health Care Access Act, passed into law by the Washington Legislature in 2019, gives parents and providers more leverage in treating a young person who will not or cannot independently seek medical help for a behavioral health condition. The Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) hosts website links with information about Read More

Supported Decision Making is an Option for Adults with Disabilities

A Brief Overview Full Article When a young person turns 18, most decisions are now up to them. In Washington State, age 18 is the “age of majority,” which means a person 18 or older has the right to make their own decisions about education, work, money matters, voting and more. Note: In Washington the Read More

Families Who Receive In-Home Care Services: Take Note of 2022 Changes

A Brief Overview Everyone who gets state-funded in-home care in Washington is affected by a new employment structure for Individual Providers (IPs). The Consumer Direct Care Network of Washington (CDWA) is the new Consumer Directed Employer (CDE) for all individual providers of state purchased in-home care. The CDWA website offers support in multiple ways by Read More

Bullying at School: Resources and the Rights of Students with Special Needs

A Brief Overview Full Article Students with disabilities who are bullied at school have legal protections, and schools have added responsibilities to ensure their safety and well-being. When acts of bullying involve discrimination based on disability, race, sex, or religion, federal agencies classify those acts as harassment. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Read More

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Information and Resources for Families

A Brief Overview A short YouTube video by Osmosis.org provides an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A medical diagnosis of autism is not required for school-based evaluations or interventions. Read on for more information. Families concerned about a child’s development can call the state’s Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588. This toll-free number offers help in English, Read More

Students: Get Ready to Participate in Your IEP Meeting with a Handout for the Team

Students of all abilities have the right to a solid education to get ready for adult life. Students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) have a right to participate in IEP meetings to make sure the program is a good set-up for higher education, vocational training, work—whatever comes next after graduation. Schools are required to invite Read More

I want the kind with the people and the pictures

By John O’Brien After a Difficult Start… Institutionalized from age three to twenty-three in a place where “they treated us like animals”– Mike has composed a good life, taking many valued roles: husband, father, worker, home owner, friend, organizer, advocate, mentor, teacher, neighbor.[1] Anticipating the changes that come with aging, Mike requested funding for a person-centered Read More

A Mother Shares her Personal Journey of Welcoming a Baby with Down Syndrome

By Elizabeth Paschich The news that my son had Down syndrome came at a bad time.  I was pregnant with our 6th child, and my husband and I were not on the same page about my pregnancy. Age 37, I qualified for extensive genetic testing that could identify the gender of my child at 11 Read More

Stay Cool when Summer Heats Up

Summertime brings special challenges for families whose children have special needs. Some medical conditions and medications make individuals particularly susceptible to the heat. Be sure to check with your doctor about which medications might increase heat sensitivity. Keep in mind that extreme heat combined with humidity can make a person even more vulnerable. It’s harder Read More

Things I Wish I Knew on Folic Acid

As a mom of a child with Spina Bifida there are a lot of things I wish I knew.  Like I wish I knew I was going to have such a sweet little GoGo (that’s the name for her wheelchair) user before I bought a house with 15 stairs straight up.  I wish I knew that it was Read More

What Will Happen When We’re Gone? Planning for the Future for Your Child with Disabilities

Decide What You Want Thinking about what will happen to your child once you die, or are too ill to care for him or her, can be scary and raise your anxiety level. One technique is to think about what you don’t want for your child – for example, “I don’t want my son to Read More

My Child, the Athlete: Coaching a Child with Hidden Disabilities

Over 30 million youth between the ages of 5-18 participate in youth sports every year. Some of the most common hidden disabilities are Specific Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Athletes with these disabilities can experience similar difficulties in understanding and developing a specific skill such as understanding Read More