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The Special Ed Advocate
     February 5, 2007      ISSN: 1538-3202    Issue 377
Subscribers: 45,584

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At Wrightslaw, our mission is to help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to navigate the constantly changing world of special education and the rights of children with special educational needs.

In This Issue:

1. 2006 Tax Benefits for Parents of Children with Disabilities
2. Planning for the Future
3. How to Get Your Financial & Educational Records in Order
4. Coming Up! Wrightslaw Programs in DE, CA, NC, ME, IL
5. Subscription and Contact Info

Do you know others who want to learn how to advocate for a child with a disability? Please forward this issue or the subscription page so they can learn about special education law and advocacy too. Newsletter Archives (1998-2006).

1. 2006 Tax Benefits for Parents of Children with Disabilities by Michael O'Connor, Esq.

According to parent attorney Mike O'Connor, "It’s likely that 15-30 percent of families with a disabled child have one or more unclaimed tax benefits."

If you have a child with a disability - a severe learning disability (SLD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), AD/HD, or other physical, mental or emotional impairment - you may qualify for valuable tax benefits.

Did you know that "tuition costs for a special school that has a program designed to educate children with disabilities and amounts paid for a child’s tutoring by a teacher specially trained and qualified to deal with severe disabilities may be deducted"?

Did you know that "Special instruction or training or therapy, such as sign language instruction, speech therapy, and remedial reading instruction" may be deductible? Did you know that related books and materials can qualify for the medical expense deduction"?

Did you know that "Parents who attend conferences to obtain medical information concerning treatment for and care of their child may deduct some of the costs of attending a medical conference relating to a dependent’s chronic health condition"?

In 2006 Tax Benefits for Parents of Children with Disabilities, Mike O'Connor provides a summary of the most significant federal income tax benefits. He advises you to print out this guide and provide your tax adviser with a copy. We agree with his excellent advice!

Download your copy of 2006 Tax Benefits for Parents of Children with Disabilities by Michael O'Connor, Esq.

Articles on dozens of special education law and advocacy topics.

2. Planning for the Future

"My child has severe disabilities and neurobehavioral problems. I am worried about his future when we are no longer able to care for him. What can I do now to plan for the future?"

We receive many questions about future planning for children with disabilities. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, you need to educate yourself about all available options.

It's never too early to start planning for your child's future. You need to learn about living arrangements, wills, trusts, guardianship and estate planning. You may need to learn about Medicaid, Medicare and social security benefits.

In Special Needs: Planning for the Future, you'll dozens of free resources and publications to help with special needs future planning. Here is a small sample of resources you'll find on the Future Planning page:

When Disability Aid Can't Provide for Toys & Haircuts, Special Needs Trust Can Help - Benefits issued by the government cannot always provide for the basic necessities of life, and parents won't always be present to care for their kids. This was the scenario for the Cotiauxes, who have an 18-year old son with mental retardation.

Special Needs for School-Age Children: Planning Ahead When Your Child Has a Disability
- The information in this article will help you think about your child's future, and prepare to consult with experts who can help you plan for the future. You will learn how to let future caregivers know important information about your child.

Choosing the Ideal Trustee of Your Child’s Special Needs Trust - According to Stephen Dale, "...after watching hundreds of Special Needs Trusts under administration, I have come to the conclusion that the selection of a trustee is the greatest factor in whether a Special Needs Trust succeeds or fails."

A Family Handbook on Future Planning - This handbook will help families develop future plans for their children with cognitive, intellectual or developmental disabilities that include protections after parents die or can no longer provide care or support.

When you visit Special Needs: Planning for the Future, you'll find articles, books and videos, and free resources and publications that will help in your special needs future planning journey.

It's never too early to start planning for your child's future!

3. How to Get Your Financial & Educational Records in Order

"Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves."- Dale Carnegie

What do filing income taxes, future planning, and effectively advocating for your child have in common?
All three jobs require you to keep good records.

In Organzing Your Child's File: Do It Right! we teach you a simple method to organize your child's file. After you use our parent-friendly system to organize the information about your child, you will have a clear understanding of your child's disability and educational needs. More articles about The Parent as Expert.

If orderly financial record-keeping sounds daunting, the article, Get Your Financial House in Order in ADDitude magazine describes a simple way to deal with your financial files.

4. Coming Soon! Wrightslaw Programs in DE, CA, NC, ME, and IL

5. Subscription & Contact Info

The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. The Special Ed Advocate is published weekly (usually on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, with occasional breaks). Subscribers also receive "alerts" about events and special offers on Wrightslaw publications and products.

To subscribe, please go to

To unsubscribe, please go to Scroll down the list and click the link to "Wrightslaw" at the end of the page, then click "Join or Leave Wrightslaw." This will take you to the page where you can change your subscription options. Click "Leave Wrightslaw."

Please forward this issue of The Special Ed Advocate to others who share your interest in special education law and advocacy. If you were forwarded a copy of The Special Ed Advocate and want to subscribe, you can sign up through our website.

Read back issues of the Special Ed Advocate at the Archives.

Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043


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