Benefits: Federal and State

    The Program launched a website redesign to create a more user-friendly and enjoyable web experience, supporting its mission to increase citizen access to benefit information while reducing the expense and difficulty of interacting with the government. Developed in direct response to citizen feedback, the refreshed look and enhanced layout help users more easily find information about benefits for which they may be eligible. Since its launch in 2002, has been a technological innovator across the e-gov landscape, implementing initiatives to continuously improve the user experience and increase awareness of the site as a valuable service to citizens and government alike. is a cross-governmental collaboration of 16 federal agencies, with the U.S. Department of Labor serving as the managing partner.
    Click this link to go to the site.

    Community Supports

      New Website to serve as ABLE Account Clearninghouse

      "As states prepare to offer accounts that will allow people with disabilities to save without losing government benefits, a new website is launching to help families navigate the offering. The site from the ABLE National Resource Center is designed to be a one-stop shop for families as well as financial professionals and program administrators, organizers say, with information about laws, regulations and product offerings in each state."
      Click this link to read the article.
      Click this link to go to the site.

      Simple idea led to Autism Center

      Bennett J. Loudon, Democrat and Chronicle, staff writer reports that "Two years ago, Jen Hackett and her professional colleagues simply wanted to give a few families of children with autism an opportunity to take a vacation, something that’s nearly impossible with a child who depends on a consistent schedule and feels uncomfortable in new environments. “Kids with autism like to have a lot of routine, and sometimes when their routine is different for them, it’s really hard to handle,” said Hackett, a special-education teacher in the Webster Central School District. But helping just five families enjoy a getaway in the Adirondack Mountains in 2013, at what they named Camp Puzzle Peace, grew to 10 families in 2014, and is expected to double again next summer.."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

      Social Security Disability Income

      The Federal government has a number of program available to help individuals with disabilities. Two of these provide direct money to the individual of their family. This money can be spent to provide additional supports the family needs or merely to help pay the rent or buy clothing.
      The Social Security Administration (SSA) controls two separate disability programs Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
      SSDI is an adult disability program in which basic eligibility is at least partially based on employment history.
      SSI, on the other hand, is based on financial need and is available to disabled individuals of all ages. If you are the parent or guardian of a special needs child, you will need to apply for benefits through the SSI program.
      Click this link to read more about this topic.
      Click this link to learn more about the financial requirements to qualify for SSI benefits.


      Compeer helps youth and adults overcome the devastating effects of mental illness, such as loneliness, low self-esteem and isolation, through the healing power of friendship. Compeer offers programs providing supportive friendships to people with mental health or emotional challenges. Compeer programs, serve as a complement to therapy, include one-to-one mentoring relationships, skill-building and interim telephone support. Compeer is recognized as a best-practices model by the American Psychological Association.

    Educational Resources

      Education Place

      The Education Place is run by Houghton Mifflin. The website offers a range of materials and activities that teach spelling and social studies facts among others.
      Click this link to go to the page

      Enchanted Learning

      This is rich resource for parents and elementary classroom teachers.  The web page includes printable books, worksheets, handouts, reference material on a number of topics, including math, foreign language, and science.  A favorite is the monthly calendar.
      Click this link to go to the page.

      How Stuff Works

      Ever wanted to know why earthquakes happen? How CD burners work? What the sun is made of? These questions, and many others related to computers/electronics, automobiles, science, entertainment, and people, are all answered at this award-winning website. Simply type a query into the search window or peruse the topics by category. Extras include free newsletters, surveys, and printable versions of all answers.
      Click this link to go to the page

      The Khan Academy

      The Khan Academy provides over 1000 instructional Youtube video's on a variety of topics. The video's are straightforward and informative. The do not replace a classroom teacher, but are helpful for children working on homework of parents trying to figure out what their child's homework is about. Topics include Calculus | Precalculus | Trigonometry | Algebra | Finance | Pre-algebra | Arithmetic | Geometry | Physics | SAT Preparation | Probability | Linear Algebra | Differential Equations | Credit Crisis | Banking and Money | Paulson Bailout | California Standards Test: Algebra II | California Standards Test: Algebra I | California Standards Test: Geometry | Venture Capital and Capital Markets | Statistics | Geithner Plan | Current Economics | Brain Teasers | Valuation and Investing | Chemistry | Biology | CAHSEE Example Problems.
      Click this link to go to the page

      Video Jug

      Videojub provides 1000's of how to videos on a number of topics. I have not watched all of the videos and have the sense that some of these would not be appropriate for many of my patients. However some of the videos, for example on reading body language, or how to know if a man, and how to know if a women is flirting with you can be very helpful for a number of my patients with autism and related disorders that cause social issues. There are also videos on a number ofother topics from cooking to solving algebraic equations.

    English Language Arts

      The Writer's Almanc

      The Writer's Almanac by Garrison Keillor and Public Radio.  This is broadcast by many Public Radio Stations. It is also available through a daily podcast that you can subscribe to through Itunes.  Everyday Mr. Keillor relates some piece of literary history and reads a selection of poetry.
      Click this link to go to the Writer's Almanac

    Family Activities


      Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment. I recommend geocaching as a fun activity to get kids and the family outside and exploring the environment. Local people post the caches and often include information on the area or the site, including historical information. Kids enjoy hunting and swapping for trade items. Other than the need for a GPS unit the activity is free. There is even a downloadable application for the IPhone.
      Information can be found at Click this link to go to

    Financial Literacy

      Money as you grow

      Money as you grow is a helpful website with links and resources for each stage of a child's development to help them how to be finanically literate.
      Click this link to go to the webpage.

    Flash Cards

      Flash Card Exchange

      The Flash Card Exchange is an online resource of pre made flash cards that can be used online or with the purchase of the BIPOD APP available on an IPod or IPhone.  Mac users can also make their own flash cards and use these. The ready made nature of some of these Flash Cards can save a student a lot of time. The Flash Card Exchange has flash cards that go along with the first 20 lessons from Coffee Break Spanish.
      Click this link to go to Flash Card Exchange

    Foreign Language Learning

      Coffee Break Spanish and French

      Coffee Break Spanish and Coffee Break French are two podcasts available for subscription through Itunes.  Both are hosted by Radio Lingua Network. The podcasts are short 10 - 15 minutes and introduce language in a very slow and comfortable manner. The podcasts are free but each also has a premium version that provides even more assistance.
      Click this link to go to Coffee Break Spanish
      Click this link to go to Coffee Break French 

      Free Translation

      Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Perfect for language studies, this handy website automatically converts text from one language into another, such as English to Simplified Chinese or French to English. You can type and paste up to 10,000 characters (about 1,800 words) into the search window and then select the desired language. Or cut and paste a web URL to convert the entire site.
      Click this link to go to Free Translation


      Many children struggle with handwriting. When this problem is severe enough, they often work with an Occupational Therapist. For some children the problem, however, is that they have not learned how to actually hold a pencil correctly. Often this is because when they were first learning to write they did not have the motor coordination to hold the pencil in a tripod pencil grasp.  They often now have the motor skills to do this, but have a bad pencil grip habit.  In these cases, I recommend a specific pencil grip that has a child hold the pen/pencil in a tripod grasp. 

      Stretro Pencil Grips

      This is the Stretro grip.  It is available locally at some our local Teacher stores.  It is also available on the internet.

    Home Modifications

    Homework Helper

      New York Public Library Homework Help Website

      The New York Public Library has a very helpful homework help website. The site allows students from anywhere (not just NYC) to get help from librarians. This is similar to the Dial A Teacher services provided by the RCSD. One difference, however, is that they have an interactive white board feature, where a student can type a question or use a mouse or a stylus to draw her math problem on the screen, or she can import a document, such as a scanned page of homework to the whiteboard. The teacher sees the problem on their whiteboard and provides feedback to the student. To use the whiteboard program the student must provide some basic background information.
      Click on this link to go the homework help website.

      Dial a Teacher

      In Rochester, Students can call Dial A Teacher, to get help at the Arnett Library or watch Homework Helper on Channel 21.
      Click this link to go to the Dial A Teacher website

    Horseback Riding

      Therapeutic Riding Program at Heritage Christian Stables

      Horseback riding is an complementing therapy for many children with mental health problems and with developmental disabilities. Children who horseback ride gain a number of benefits from the activity. These include regular exercise, and regular exposure to fresh air (during all four seasons). Children with anxiety issues are able to experience success in a scary task, ie. riding a horse, and children with language and social skills difficulties learn how to communicate on a very basis level with a very large mammal. There are a number of horse back riding programs in the area.
      Click this link to go to the site.

    IEP Checklist


      Free Rice

      Freerich is a website initially designed for students studying for the SAT. The goal of the site is to build student's vocabulary knowledge.  This, therefore, is a great site to use at home or in the classroom with children from third or fourth grade through high school as a useful tool for building language skills. As an added bonus, as a child or student builds his/her vocabulary they are also helping to donate free rice to fight hunger around the world.
      Click this link to go to Freerice


      Psychiatric Medication Fact Sheets

      Information fact sheets on Medications, including detailed information on the usage, dosage, and the side-effects of various psychiatric medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antianxiety medications.
      Click this link to go to the Psychiatric Medications page.



      US Department of Education: Early Learning Resources

      The US Department of Education has a number of helpful links for parents or grandparents parenting a young child.
      Click this link to go to the site


      Brain: An interactive guide to the brain

      When you move the mouse over the brain model to the right, the associated part of the brain is highlighted on the brain scan to the left and the name of that part of the brain appears. Clicking on the brain section brings up multiple choice questions. These are not always helpful as they are aimed at medical students. Still a nice introduction to the brain.
      Click this link to go to the site.

      Brain: An Atlas of the Developing Brain

      Scientists released the first comprehensive 3-D atlas of gene expression in the developing human brain. The resource will help reveal the early roots of brain-based disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.
      Click this link to go to read about the project.
      Click this link to go to read the abstract of the article.

      A very helpful research on the Brain, with information on the brain, how it works, and the latest brain research.
      Click this link to go to the site.

      Science Made Simple

      Science classes—including the ubiquitous science project—aren't as easy for some to grasp as they are for others. At Science Made Simple, elementary and middle school students can get detailed answers to many science questions, read current news articles related to science, get ideas on school projects, and take advantage of unit conversion tables. Users can also find out if their school's textbooks pass the test.
      Click this link to go to the Science Made Simple.

      Story of Stuff

      This is a fascinating video, that describes the environmental, political, economic, and cultural impact of the creation of stuff.  The video is short 15-20 minutes but indepth and leads to a great discussion piece for classroom or home discussion.  Strongly recommended.
      Click this link to go to the Story of Stuff



      Project Explorer

      Project Explorer provides a virtual field trip for teachers to use and for interested parents, and students who want to learn about other parts of the world. The popular site provides engaging content, pictures, and over 160 short films about the places it covers. The site currently features field trips to England, Jordan, and South Africa. The site currently contains content for Middle School and High School students. The videos and content explore the the region's food, music, culture, history, and language. The site developers are reported to be working on adding content about Malaysia.
      Click on this link to go to Project Explorer

    Special Needs Planning

      When a child presents with severe disabilities, their family is presented with a number of legal, and financial issues. There is a patchwork of federal, state, and county programs and private programs available to these programs. Some of these programs provide financial help, and others provide direct supports and services. As a child ages, the family will face life planning issues, including questions about guardianship, and ensuring their child has the financial supports they need throughout their lives.

      MassMutual Financial Group

      The MassMutual Financial Group has set up a Special Needs Planning Program, as part of this program they offer a series of financial planning seminars for parents of children with special needs.

      SSI - Social Security Income

      If a child has a mental or physical condition that results in "marked and severe functional limitations" for at least a year, or in other words a very severe disability that will lead to marked limitiations in major life activities, they may qualify for SSI. This would result in their receiving a monthly check from Social Security to help provide financial assistance for your family. The majority of applicants are denied. There is however an appeals process. If an individual is found eligible for SSI, they also become eligible for medicaid.
      For information on the program follow this link to a brochure from the Social Security Administration.
      For additional information please see the Eric page with a three part article on the SSI process.


      Franklin Dictionary and Spellers

      The Franklin Spellers are moderately pricesd devices that allow children to look up word definitions and spelling of words. The words can then be read back to the student to ensure that they have the correct word.
      Click this link to go to Franklin

      Spelling City

      This is a fun way to help your child study for their spelling tests or vocabulary tests. The site also contains some useful resources and materials including a list of Dolch sight words. Teachers can add word lists to the Spelling City site, where students can access them by the school’s or teacher’s name. Students can also enter their own words manually by typing them into a series of text boxes. Once a complete list has been added, there are three options to test, teach, or review the words. Spelling City also provides immediate feedback with a progress report, designed to motivate students to learn. For visual and verbal learners, there are 10 kid-friendly exercises that integrate spelling lists into games, such as crossword puzzles, word searches, and word-matching drills. In total, Spelling City has more than 42,000 words in its database.
      Spelling City

    Teaching Resources

      Watch Know: Videos for kids to learn from

      Watch Know was founded by one of the original founders of Wikipedia. The site hosts thousands of educational videos available for teachers to use in their classrooms. Videos are able to be sorted by the students age. Teachers and others are also able to submit videos to the site. For teachers or parents looking to introduce a topic or highlight a lesson having the right video to show can be very useful.
      Click this link to go to Watch Know: Videos for kids to learn from


      This site provides a range of information for teens struggling with mental health issues. The site is very teen friendly and provides information as well as stories from other teens who have struggled with the same issues, but overcome those issues.
      Click this link to go to


      Rochester Toy Library

      Toy library sees boom in business

      Justin Murphy, staff writer for the Democrat and Chronicle reports on the incredible growth of the Rochester Toy Library.
      Click this link to read the pdf of the article.

      Free Toys with your Library Card. The Lincoln Branch of the Rochester Public Library has a great hidden resource for parents and teachers of children from newborns to age 8 years. This is the Toy Resource Center Parents and Teachers with a valid Monroe County Library Card can take out toys (even some quite large toys) for three weeks. The toys must be brought back to the Toy Resource Center and not to another library.  The Toy Resource Center is a great way to try out toys you might want to purchase, or to keep a variety of toys in the house or classroom without having to spend an arm and a leg. For parents of special needs children, there are some toys targeted at that population in the collection. The Toy Resource Library is located in the back of the library.  The library itself, is of course also a nice location to visit in and of itself.  The Toy Resource Center is quite large and children can play with the toys and try them out within the resource center.  The hours are not the same as the Library, itself. The Toy Resource Center's hours are Monday and Wednesday 10 AM - 6 PM, Thursday 12 noon - 3 PM, and Saturday 11 AM - 2 PM. 


      New apartments will help people with developmental disabilities

      George Silvarole, Democrat and Chronicle staff writer reports that "The creation of a new apartment building for people living with developmental disabilities is underway in Pittsford — and it’s one that organizers hope will help those individuals learn the skills needed to live independently. Mary Walsh Boatfield, president and CEO of CP Rochester, shared her excitement about the organization’s seven onebedroom transitional apartments to a small crowd gathered in the building at 77 Pinnacle Road on Tuesday morning...The ideal candidates for the apartments are people aged 18 to 25 with developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome and other learning and physical disabilities, Walsh Boatfield said. These individuals may be living with family or in a group home, and must be interested in learning the skills necessary for living on their own."
      Click this link to read the pdf of the story.

      A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities

      From the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in January 2017, this 62 page transition guide describes requirements for transition planning under both IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act, and includes chapters on options after leaving high school and supporting student-made decisions.
      Click this link to read the report.

      An Overview of IDEA Transition Requirements

      A nice overview of federal requirements IEP requirements for transition from school to adulthood.
      Click this link to read the post.

      WXXI Connection: Employment For People With Disabilities

      WXXI Connections host Evan Dawson interviews a number of participants and staff associated with Project Search. This program is located at the Strong Memorial Hospital.
      Click this link to go to the webpage and listen to the interview.
      To learn more about Project Search

      Disability Connection: 10 Ways to Make a Smooth Transition to Adulthood

      10 steps to take in making a smooth transition from highschool to adult life. This Disability connection newsletter is full of helpful links.
      Click this link to read more.

      Federal Government says transition services are in need of improvement

      As students with disabilities transition out of high school, a new government report finds the path to independence is overly complicated. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, kids with disabilities are eligible for a broad range of services through their local school district. However, once these students complete high school, they must apply and be deemed eligible for services administered by upwards of four federal agencies in order to continue receiving government assistance.
      Click this link to read more.
      Click this link to read a summary of the General Accounting Office report.
      Click this link to download and read a pdf file of the GAO report.
      Click this link to listen a podcast of the report.

      Job Training Resource for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

      JobTIPS is a free, Web-based program that helps youth with ASD or other disabilities develop and maintain skills needed for successful employment. The site offers resources for educators, job coaches, clinicians and transition coordinators who support individuals with ASD as they transition out of high school and into vocational education or other post-secondary activities.
      Click this link to read the about the program and listen to an audio file on the program.
      Click this link to go to the JobTips website.
      Listen to an interview with JobTIPS Content Director, Louise Buchholz.

      Autism Speaks Launches Transition Tool Kit

      Autism Speaks released a new tool kit for parents and professionals working with families with children with Autism ages 13 to 22. The Took Kit is designed to make the transition to adulthood easier. The goal of the tool kit is to give families of children with autism an overview of the options and resources available to them when it comes to housing, employment and other issues.
      To read the press release on the Autism Speaks website click this link.
      To download the tool kit, click this link.
      To download the Tool Kit from DEMARLE INC's website click this link.

      Outcomes of Transition

      New report on transition. This report provides a comparison of the post-high school experiences (employment, household circumstances, criminal justice system involvement, etc.) of youth with disabilities who had been out of high school up to 4 years in 1990 and in 2005, It examines how differences between the two time periods varied across disability categories and demographic groups and, when data are available, how these differences compared with those of youth in the general population.
      Click on this link to download the PDF of the report.

      Health Resource Center

      This guide provide a straight forward and informative overview of the transition process, applicable federal laws, a what to look for/ask about guide to college tours, and a wealth of other information about the transition process for students with disabilities moving to a college setting.
      Click this link to go to the site


      Teaching Elementary School Students to be Effective Writers

      The What Works Clearinghouse has come out with a new guide on how to teach Elementary School student to be effective writers. This practice guide provides four recommendations for improving elementary students’ writing. Each recommendation includes implementation steps and solutions for common roadblocks. The recommendations also summarize and rate supporting evidence. This guide is geared toward teachers, literacy coaches, and other educators who want to improve the writing of their elementary students.
      To read more at the What Works Clearninghouse click this link.
      To read the pdf file of the report click this link.

Additional Resources

Frequently Used Disability Related Acronyms

Click this link to open a pdf file to view the acronyms

© Copyright, all rights reserved Daniel J. DeMarle, Ph.D. 2014