"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Monday, September 26, 2011

Where Will You Go ... What Will You Discover?

Wow ... I was updating the "Places To Be" section in the sidebar and was amazed pleasantly surprised at how much is happening in the next little while.  So much so, in fact, that I thought it might just be best to give it a little more visibility and post about it right here.

You might think this month is pretty well shot but don't be fooled, there's still four activities left for this last week of September. 

Besides the regularly occurring Social Night for Persons with Disabilities every Tuesday @ 4:00 and the Mental Health for All Coffee House running Saturday afternoons from 1:00 - 4:00 from now until December 3rd (both in Halifax), Ken Pope, LLB, TEP, Henson Trust Specialist is offering a live videoconference/webcast on Disabilities and Estate Planning this Wednesday, Sept. 28th from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm.

Topics to be discussed include ODSP eligibility and benefits, exempt asset arrangements, using and back filing the disability and caregiver tax credits, Registered Disability Savings Plans, legal guardianship and Powers of Attorney, Wills and Henson Trust arrangements, funding trusts with life insurance, RRSP rollovers to adult children with disabilities, Lifetime Benefits Trusts to receive RRSPs for children as parallel trusts, and planned giving, bequests, charitable remainder gifts and minimization of income tax on death from RRSPs.

Also on Wednesday (and yes, you can do both because this just happens to be in the evening), Nova Scotia Community College Disability Services is offering an Information Session for parents, teachers, guidance counsellors and students. The point of the session is to answer questions about the transition from high school to college for learners with disabilities including those who are on an Individualized Program Plans. Issues that will be explored include how to help someone with a disability apply to college, whether having an IPP makes a difference when it comes to applying to community college, what can be done now to get ready for college in the Fall, what resources are available at NSSC that students might find helpful and what funding is available for students with disabilities in post secondary education. And, of course, often the most pressing question for parents; "I know how to support my child in school - what's going to change now s/he is going to college?".

And that's just for September.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Success

About our little adventure in trying to get out youngest daughter into Landmark East ... I have only one word to say.

Success.

Okay, maybe nine words ... Thank you Lord.  And Thank you Dept of Education.

And, trust me, the latter are not words you would ever often hear me say.

Now, next up ...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Did You Know?

Sorry I am a bit late getting this out (public school having started two days ago) but I do have a wee bit of an excuse - having just spent the last week or so trying to get Tuition Support funding to get my youngest daughter into Landmark East, I'm a little on the fried side.

Wish me luck, please ... although the school has agreed to take her and she started on Wednesday with the rest of them,we still don't know if the funding will work out!

But on to what I am here to talk about ... in the process of trying to crack the doors of a private school for learning disabilities, I happened to learn a couple of things I thought some of you might find interesting.

So here goes ....
  • Unlike the former system of a student having to be on an IPP before they could access tuition support funding, the program now calls for them to be on an IPP, to have been on an IPP or to be "working towards an IPP"; and
  • For a parent considering appealing an IPP, the regulations use to provide that only "outcomes" or "placement" could be appealed. BUT NOW IT'S POSSIBLE FOR A PARENT TO APPEAL THE FACT THAT A CHILD DOES NOT HAVE AN IPP ... in other words, that the school refuses to put the child on an IPP. [For those wondering, this is based on a change to s. 53(3) of the Ministerial Regulations made under the Education Act]
Two rather big developments I would say. 

With regard to the first, remember that it doesn't have to be an academic IPP. It could just as easily be a social IPP that the student is "working towards".

And with regard to the latter, I have spoken with many parents over the years whose children were refused IPPs and who were effectively left with no recourse other than the possibility of a costly law suit. Not so any more.

As a final thought, if one were inclined to put these changes together- if a parent was anxious to access one of the private schools for a student without an IPP, there are now two possible routes around that obstacle - convene a meeting of your child's program planning team and see if they are willing to work towards an IPP (social or academic) for the child or, if the school is uncooperative in that regard, appeal the school's refusal to provide an IPP. 

I'm not suggesing for one minute that going through that latter appeal process would be either an easy or fun experience (it generally being recoginzed that you are almost guaranteed to lose any such appeal at the school board level) but it does potentially open a door that, up until now, didn't even exist.

And that has to be a good thing, right?