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Mind, Body & Soul

by Allyson Budassi

…A special advertising section from the pages of Suburban Family Magazine…

South Jersey programs offer great opportunities for children dealing with special needs of all types, as well as the families that care for them.

Children with special needs face many unique challenges of their own, but families as a whole deal with emotional and financial stress when caring for their loved one’s emotional, physical, medical and mental necessities.

The South Jersey area has many programs that offer the help families are searching for, from financial assistance and health care resources to special education programs, and even legal professionals who will advocate for those who need it most. These organizations and individuals take pride in knowing they are helping families live better lives—and so children with special needs can go back to just being children.

Unique Learning
Obtaining a quality, well-rounded education is vital for all, but for a child with special needs, it is especially important.

The Y.A.L.E. School in Cherry Hill is dedicated to providing special needs students an educational environment with an optimistic and understanding feel. “Optimism springs from students who know their strengths and have multiple opportunities to share and develop them,” says Peggy Chapman, the school’s program coordinator.

The Y.A.L.E. School works to prepare those with special needs, ages 3 through 21, for the transition into college and the workforce. With help from the Y.A.L.E. School, special needs children are set on a path toward independence, through a well-planned and comprehensive program that includes lessons in real-world environments as well as in classrooms at any of their nine locations in the region.

“Working with special needs children is more of a calling than a career,” Chapman says. “In this field, we can see our special place in a child’s life minute by minute.” After school, children can have a unique experience to develop sensory and motor skills, thanks to Labrador Hill Farm in Waterford, a center for natural horsemanship and a vendor to the Camden County Partnership for Children.

On the scenic South Jersey farm, special needs children will find loving and experienced teachers who can guide them through private or group lessons, developing social skills, large motor and speech skills, while enjoying interaction with horses, donkeys, ponies and mules.

Financial Services
For assistance with paying the ever-looming bills associated with medical care, the Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund Commission, a nonprofit organization, can assist families struggling with medical finances.

“It’s been heartwarming that we can give people this kind of help,” says Executive

Director Claudia Marchese. The commission provides funds for children under the age of 21, and families with or without health insurance may apply, depending on the needs of their children.

Expenses must exceed 10 percent of the family’s income in order to be eligible. The organization offers funds for a wide range of conditions and disorders, such as cancer, eating disorders and complications from premature births. They also offer funds for home and vehicle modifications so clients can improve their quality of life and mobility.

“There are a lot more applications because people are out of work and they don’t have insurance,” says Marchese. “People shouldn’t have to make health choices by their finances.”

It is a program designed to be a safety net for families who need the extra resources. There are many families that have healthy incomes, but still need the financial assistance due to their children’s needs.

The law offices of Carolyn V. Chang Attorney at Law, based in Mount Holly, take on family law cases that advocate for families, especially those with special needs.

Under the umbrella of family law matters, attorney Carolyn Chang is able to handle issues related to family settlements, juvenile law, domestic violence, paternity and child support, adoptions, and dealings with the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), but also issues of guardianship and legal matters affecting those with special needs.

Home Care
Certain conditions call for additional care in the familiar setting of your own home. Bayada Home Health Care is an at-home health care service that provides families with professionals, such as nurses, RN’s, and certified home health care aides to help in necessary medical situations. According to Debra Monaghan, division of client services manager, this type of service is beneficial to families with special needs because it provides “one-on-one health care.”

“It’s great to see our patients progress and grow. It touches every one of us,” says Monaghan. “Children do have a lot of abilities to do a lot of good things with help from health care professionals.”

Bayada will service families for as long as they require; there are cases where families request a nurse to watch over someone who has special needs while the family is away for a week, or families may need long-term health care services. Whatever the case, Bayada welcomes anyone who needs the extra help in living a long, comfortable life.

“Nursing is a matter of the heart,” says Monaghan. “You need to be compassionate and it has to be done with love.”

Services are available for anyone from pediatrics to geriatrics, and vary depending on the care the patient needs. Whether families need live-in care or occasional services, Bayada will accommodate their clients.

Examination to­­ Diagnosis
Advocare Pediatric & Adult Medicine, which has offices in Marlton and Sicklerville, provides a convenient way for families to get medical care for their children—crucial for those with special needs—including same-day appointments when patients are sick, and a new on-site allergy department that allows in-office testing.

“We see a lot of kids with both allergies and asthma, so having the testing done right here makes sense,” says Dr. Jay Mirmanesh. “Children can also have their immunotherapy treatments done right here.”

For future understanding into a child’s individual issues and challenges, The Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health (CNNH) helps families understand illness and disorders by providing neurological testing and examinations to pinpoint the problem. Their goal is to work with families so each child can function as best as they can in everyday life.

“We are your one-stop shop for coordinated care for families,” says Pnina Mintz, executive vice president at CNNH.

CNNH handles many neurological disorders such as autism, ADHD, sleep disorders and developmental disorders. Pediatricians and family doctors are known to refer families to CNNH in order to run the proper tests and families will reach out on their own as well when they need the additional research done.

“We are a resource for the family and child study team to help the child succeed,” says Mintz. “There are psychiatrists, pediatricians and several specialists out there, but no one can give them the entire picture of what’s going on with the child and how to make them better.”

Families who are looking for resources don’t need to look far. Help for all types of lifestyles is just around the corner, so your children can get back to just being children, and parents can stop worrying.

Special Needs Resources

Advocare Pediatric & Adult Medicine
12000 Lincoln Drive W., Suite 311?Marlton
(856) 985-8100
800 Liberty Place
(856) 728-7900

Armstrong Pediatric Dental
Dr. Susan Armstrong
9 E. Main St.
(856) 235-0415

Carolyn V. Chang Law Office
133 High St.
Mount Holly
(609) 261-4224

Catastrophic Illness for Children Relief Fund
28 W. State St., 7th Floor
1 (800) 335-3863

Washington Township Dental Associates
Dr. Annie Creato
474 Hurffville-Cross Keys Road
Atrium One, Suite A
(856) 582-1000

Durand Academy and Community Services
111 Gaither Drive, Suite 101
Mount Laurel
(856) 235-3540

Huntington Learning Center
1990 Marlton Pike E.
Cherry Hill
(856) 795-1933
860 Route 168, Lakeside Plaza,
Suite 102
(856) 227-2001

Katz JCC
1301 Springdale Road
Cherry Hill
(856) 424-4444

Becker Meisel LLC
Richard C. Klein, Esq.
Special Needs Attorney
Woodland Falls Corporate Center
220 Lake Drive E., Suite 102
Cherry Hill
(856) 779-8700

Jubilation Creations, Inc.
Jubili Beads & Yarns, Inc.
Dr. Judy Weinstein, MD
713 Haddon Ave.

Labrador Hill Farm LLC
Natural Horsemanship for the Special Needs Community
Sarah Rabinowitz
1665 Conrad Ave.
(856) 768-9980

Partners In Learning
Kathleen Mccabe-Odri
Cherrywood Academy and Private Preschool
8 Cherrywood Drive
Gloucester Township
(856) 881-0400

Pediatric Wellness Network
Dianne Lazer
1919 Greentree Road, Suite C
Cherry Hill
(856) 751-1937

Sussan & Greenwald Law
Staci Greenwald, Esq.
1249 S. River Road, Suite 104
(609) 409-3500

Y.A.L.E. School
2127 Church Road
Cherry Hill
(856) 482-5252

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 4 (June, 2012).
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