Employment First In New Jersey – What’s It Mean and How Can It Help You?

Employment First - New Jersey Gets to Work

First Employment – Disability Second

Employment First - New JerseyIn April of 2012, Governor Chris Christie declared New Jersey an Employment First state. With this simple declaration, New Jersey became a part of a national movement that is “centered on the premise that all citizens, including individuals with significant disabilities, are capable of full participation in integrated employment and community life.” (Via Departement of Labor) This urges local publicly-financed systems to adjust their programs and policies to promote integrated, competitive employment opportunities for people with disabilities and special needs.

Phew. That was a lot of three-syllable-words.

In plain-speak though, what does it all mean? It means

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A Big Win for Students With Disabilities at the Supreme Court!

Supreme Court Building IEP

Our latest blog topic comes to us from Hinkle, Fingles, Prior, & Fischer, a Jersey-based law firm that represents people with disabilities and their families in the tri-state area. They detailed a landmark decision handed down by the Supreme Court that affects how Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) are deemed “appropriate.”

As IEP’s begin to be set, we want to make sure you stay up-to-date on all the important issues so you’re able to effectively advocate for your loved ones.

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How Much Do You Really Know Developmental Disability?

Developmental disability

A Time to Learn

DD awareness monthIn honor of Developmental Disability Awareness Month, we will be exploring what exactly “developmental disability” is. How is it defined? What challenges does it pose? And why do we have the term in the first place? This is the first part of our ongoing series of blog posts that will be diving a bit deeper on individual types and classifications of disabilities. We hope these posts will serve

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Benefits of a Guardianship

Guardianship and family

In this post, Easterseals New Jersey has invited Margaret Spaziani, Esq. to speak about the benefits of becoming the guardian of an adult child with a disability. Ms. Spaziani is an attorney with the firm Giordano, Halleran, & Ciesla and an expert in these complicated legal matters. Guardianship can provide many protections

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Choosing a Support Coordination Agency – What You Need to Know

Support Coordination Agencies? Which one?
by Erin Jerome

Support Coordination: Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Last year, we talked about how to find the best support coordinator in New Jersey.  In order to find these coordinators, however, you will have to first approach a support coordination agency. When receiving

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Quick Tips for Accessible Higher Education

Fingers Typing

Apply Yourself!

By Elise Giacobbe

The college application process is stressful, frustrating and time-consuming for everyone. When you need to dig deeper into your research aside from major, location and the price of higher education, that is when things can get challenging. Research for families of people with disabilities and special needs doubles, if not triples. When selecting a school, you must carefully consider

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How to Make New Jersey Beaches Accessible

Beach Wheelchair

Sand, Sun, and Saltwater Taffy

Ned Stark Meme: Summer is ComingFrom North to South, most New Jerseyans agree that the place to be this summer is the Jersey shore. For some, it can even be a second home.  There isn’t a weekend that you won’t see them enjoying the Atlantic or strolling the boardwalk with family and friends. The question we ask ourselves here at Easterseals New Jersey, however, is how accessible is the beach?

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Guide to Understanding an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

1In New Jersey, as well as other states across the country, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a written document that outlines a child’s (with a special need or disability) education, ages 3-21.  The plan is tailored specifically to the individual student, so they receive maximum educational benefit.  The key word is individual.  A program that is appropriate for one student, may not be right for another.

For a child with a disability, the IEP is the cornerstone for their education.  It identifies the services that a child needs so that he/she can grow and learn during the school year in a manner that recognizes their disability and challenges.  An IEP is also a legal document that outlines three key topics:

  • The child’s special education plan that includes their goals for the school year
  • Services needed to help the child reach those goals
  • A strategy to evaluate the student’s success and progress

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Tips on Finding the Best Support Coordinator in New Jersey

What Is A Support Coordinator?support coordinator

For those of you that do not know, a Support Coordinator is someone with expertise in assisting individuals with special needs and their families in their planning process and with coordination of services.  Focusing on an individual’s needs, hopes, and dreams, Support Coordinators use their expertise to guide them in the development of their support plan, used to coordinate and monitor appropriate services and supports for the individual.

A few specific ways Support Coordinators provide assistance according to the New Jersey Department of Human Services include:

  • Assisting individuals and their families in the person-centered planning process
  • Working with individuals, their families, and mentors to identify outcomes and utilize their budgets to achieve those outcomes
  • Assisting in identifying services and supports that will achieve the individual’s stated outcomes and can be accessed from a provider who is appropriately qualified by the Divison of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) to provide those services
  • Becoming and remaining familiar with all applicable service

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Employment Tips For Individuals With Special Needs and Disabilities

IMG_1344Whether you are an individual living with a disability or special need, or if you are a parent/caregiver of a special needs child, you have probably thought about what opportunities are available for young adults with disabilities after high school.  Many individuals, parents, and caregivers may not know what is next when it comes to planning for adulthood, however, one option, is to develop skills that can be used in the community that can be applied to a job.

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