Workshop for parents of special needs children set for Oct. 25 in Newburgh

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:49

    Newburgh — The Greater Hudson Valley Family Health Center will host a free planning workshop for parents of children with special needs at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25, in its Health Literacy and Community Education Center. “Special needs” may refer to a child who has a mental disability, a hearing impairment (including deafness), a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment (including blindness), a serious emotional disturbance, an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, any other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities, and who needs special education and related services. The workshop, titled “What Happens If...,” will cover crucial planning issues, such as protecting the child’s benefits, special needs trust planning and funding, guardianship, letters of intent, and communication with family. The presentation will be led by William Van Evera, certified special needs planner and a parent of a child with Down syndrome. He is a longtime MassMutual professional and one of the first in the country to earn this certification. Van Evera says there are things parents can do immediately to help create a stronger plan for their child in adulthood. “Families can begin to plan for their child by starting a discussion about what they would like to see happen in their child’s future,” he said. “It is never an easy time to plan. And yet, because many families with members with special needs have unique circumstances, it is better to begin a dialogue sooner than later.” Mass Mutual joined with the American College nine years ago to create an intensive certification program to better serve those with disabilities. To date, it is the only Financial Services company that offers special needs certification to its professionals working in this field. For more information or to reserve a space, call Jesse Sarubbi at 220-3159, or email Get a dialogue going Van Evera suggests the following conversation starting questions as guidelines to help families get a dialogue going: Do you know who will care for your child with special needs when you are no longer able to? Are you certain that the planning you may have already done won't unintentionally disqualify your child with special needs from receiving government benefits? Have you determined whether or not a supplemental needs trust will be appropriate for your child with special needs, and, if yes, have you determined how it will be funded? Are you concerned that the future cost of special care for your child with special needs may negatively affect your own lifestyle during your retirement years? Do you have a written plan that specifies how your child with special needs is ultimately to be cared for?