Parent Sessions San Diego 2013

Session 1 – Welcome & Legal Overview

Lynne Arnold, MATimothy Adams, Esq.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is federal law that creates civil rights and substantive protections to children with disabilities. The Lanterman Act mandates services to the developmentally disabled in California. SB 946 mandates insurance coverage of behavioral health treatments for autism spectrum disorders. Many other services mandated by state and federal laws, such as In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) are important resources for families affected by autism. This session will create a context of understanding the overlapping and complicated legal framework for accessing the child’s entitlements to services and placement in the public school system and the community at large.

Session 2 – Preparing for Advocacy

Lynne Arnold, MA

Although parents know far more about their child’s challenges and abilities, they often feel at a disadvantage at school district (IEP) meetings or with the regional center (IFSP or IPP). How can they begin to leverage that knowledge into effective advocacy? The first step is understanding the critical fundamentals of documentation, concentrating on specifics, deconstructiong challenges, realizing the roles of professionals involved with their child and simply becoming an organized advocate with a focused mission.

Session 3 – Long-term Planning & Anticipating Important Time Frames

Summer Stech, Esq.

How can parents plan for their child’s educational needs from preschool through transition in high school? Where are the critical time frames that can often determine a child’s success in the least restrictive environment? This session will guide parents through long-term planning throughout the educational process from preschool to high school.

Session 4 – Assessments: Understanding the Legalities

Timothy Adams, Esq.Lynne Arnold, MA

Before a child is assessed, parents should understand the purpose of the assessment. Is it for educational placement, regional center services or insurance coverage? It’s important for parents to understand how varying legal contexts should guide the assessment process and selecting the appropriate assessor, as well as the overall assessment strategy.

Session 5 – Assessments: The Neuropsychological Perspective

Mitchel Perlman, PhD

When it comes to assessments, one size does not fit all. Dr. Perlman will review the differences between the assessments that qualify for Special Education, for Regional Center, for State Assistance (e.g., SSI), and for Insurance Reimbursement. The most salient issues for each assessment type will be highlighted, as well as the most common misinterpretations that result in ill-fated recommendations (e.g., the wrong processes being targeted for intervention, the wrong placement being offered, a denial of services). Particular attention will be given to how you can prepare for those assessments and to what you can provide the examiner, so that the odds may be increased of your obtaining services or reimbursement.

Session 6 – Family Law (Lunch Option)

Kim Mack Rosenberg, Esq.

Divorce is never easy for a family, but it can be especially complicated when it involves a special needs child. Beyond custody, the parents should consider who will be the educational and medical rights holder as well as issues involving vaccinations, psychiatry/medications, psychological services, biomedical and dietary interventions, therapies (speech, occupational, behavioral, etc.) as well as how to create long-term custodial stability for child across settings. All of these topics plus more will be covered.

Session 7 – IEP Strategy

Timothy Adams, Esq.Lynne Arnold, MA
The first step to effectively controlling the IEP process is determining the appropriate strategy to gain leverage with the school district. The IEP process will be broken down into components to teach parents how to evaluate the best course of action in each situation. We will discuss how parents can more effectively respond to district objections to parental and independent expert recommendations. Techniques for forcing district personnel to fully explain their positions and district “policies” will be explored. Parents will learn how to apply these concepts to their child’s individual needs and their district.

Session 8a – Birth to 12 years: Choosing Your Battles: When and How to Access Services from the Regional Center and other State Programs

Cara Lucier, Esq.

There is a maze of publicly funded services available for people with disabilities, including Regional Center services, IHSS, Medi-Cal, SSI, CCS, and more. This session will provide an overview, or  “map” of publicly funded services available to infants, toddlers, and children with special needs. Attendees will also learn when and how they can access these services, and how to prioritize their energy in accessing needed services in the way that most benefits their child at every life stage.

Session 8b – 13 years and Beyond: Maximizing Independent Living

Wendy Dumlao, Esq.

Focusing on ages 13 years and older, this session focuses on publicly funded services available for their child transitioning out of special education. Attendees should attend this session, if their child is receiving or they would like them to receive Regional Center services. A quick overview of each publicly funded program will be discussed and the differences between the programs. The focus of this session will be on strategies to access Regional Center services and other publicly funded services like, IHSS, SSI and Medi-Cal to maximize their adult child’s ability to live in the community. Although the focus is on transition to living in the community, the session will also include how to access these services if their child would like to continue to live in the family home.

Session 9 – Navigating the Maze of Health Insurance for Autism-related Interventions

Karen Fessel, Dr. PH

This session will guide you through the insurance maze, breaking down the process involved in obtaining medically necessary autism related interventions through insurance. Topics for discussion include how to get single case agreements with choice providers at in-network rates, what documents you’ll need to submit, common codes to use, writing appeals and requests for independent medical review, the CA autism mandate, getting co-pays covered, and strategies for getting self-insured plans to adopt autism benefits. Changes on the horizon, including how Covered California and the Affordable Care Act will impact families with autism, will also be discussed.

Session 10 – Questions & Answers

All Faculty

What does all of this information mean to advocating for your individual child? Parents are encouraged to submit their questions to integrate the lessons learned with a new plan of action.