Thursday, January 28, 2016

Special Education Resources

Winter doesn't seem to be able to make up it's mind here in CNY this year, does it?  Last week we were battling the snow and this week its rain; I guess that's the beauty of where we live.

As you know, our District held a Community Forum on Substance Abuse last week which was well received.  Going along with the theme of community resources, I thought this would be a good month to share some information and links to resources available in our area for families and students with special needs.

Resources for Students and Families
One of the best resources out there is the Resource Manual put together yearly by Exceptional Family Resources.  This manual has a wealth of information regarding a wide variety of resource information on topics such as behavior supports, counseling, recreational activities, family supports and Medicaid to name a few. 

This manual is available electronically by clicking here.  I have highlighted just a few of the topics you will find in the resource manual.

Medicaid Support
Medicaid Services  is an area that we get many questions about. Students with developmental disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or severe intellectual disabilities are often eligible. Student's that are considered Medicaid Eligible are assigned a Medicaid Service Coordinator (MSC) who helps the family determine what supports they are eligible to access and how to secure those supports.  

Some examples of these supports are respite for caregivers, nursing services for medically involved students, additional therapies at home for students with multiple needs. For more information about this process contact the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) at or our local Front Door at Central New York Developmental Disabilities Regional Office (CNYDDRO)315-793-9600.  There is more information on page 3 of the manual.

Social and Recreation Options
There are also a number of agencies and organizations that offer recreational opportunities for our special needs students. The MOST has "Sensory Days" where they keep sensory stimulation at a minimum for students who have sensory delays.  

There are activities such as horseback riding, sports designed specially for our students such as the Challenger baseball and Just for Kicks Soccer and even Friday Night Dances. These activities are all listed starting on page 36.

We know that there is a need for more support in our area in the form of counseling and other services for students with behavioral and mental health needs. This manual also has a section on counseling and mental health supports on page 17-18.  

In addition to using this reference, please feel free to contact your student's school counselor or psychologist as they also have contacts in the community they can refer you to.  

For students with significant behavior and emotional challenges at home, there is a program called ACCESS designed to support families based on a family referral. . You can view their website at or you can contact them 24 hours a day at at 315-463-1100 .

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions we can help with.