We are looking forward to our new Chat-n-Chew series which you will note has many new and informative topics this year.  We will start on September 7th at 11:30 AM with Social Capital, a talk by Julia Barol who has spoken at many local conferences on this topic.  Social Capital is a way to help your child form relationships in the community that can assist with finding jobs and having local supports other than family.  Please join us for this exciting talk, all are welcome!

These free sessions, kicking off on September 7 are open to everyone!

We have some great new topics! Take a look and sign up to join us.  We’ll have snacks, feel free to bring your lunch.

Social Capital
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
11:30am – 1:00pm

Ever wondered how your child or young adult can connect with more people in the community?  Social capital is an important part of everyone’s life and we help our children and adults succeed when they have personal connections with those who can support them as they move towards independence.  Julia Barol has presented this topic at many conferences and it is a must-attend for those who wish to find out how to increase these all important connections.

Presented by: Julia Barol

ABLE, Achieving a Better Life Experience
Wednesday, September 17, 2016
11:30am – 1:00pm

ABLE, Achieving a Better Life Experience.  What is it?  A 529 savings program specifically designed for individuals with disabilities. ABLE allows participants to plan for a financially secure future, save and have assets to pay for disability related expenses without jeopardizing government benefits, and receive tax advantages.  Learn about the ABLE Act and how it can help people with disabilities save money tax-free. Also, understand the difference between an ABLE account and a Trust.

Presented by: Steven Potts, Attorney with the Law Firm of Herr, Potts and Potts

Mental Health
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
11:30am – 1:00pm

A mental health diagnosis can be scary and confusing.  Come learn how to navigate the mental health systems in Chester County. This workshop will introduce you to the mental health system and explain the different types of supports available. The discussion will include the various levels of mental health supports and provide many helpful materials.

Presented by: Jamie Messersmith, Teresa Jennings and Lori Thompson,  Community Care Behavioral Health and Candy Craig, Chester County Department of MH/IDD

Disability and Employment
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
11:30am – 1:00pm

Will your child your with a disability be looking for employment?  Come learn what employers are looking for and how to prepare for entering the workforce.

Presented by: Shane Kennedy, Arc of Chester County

Puberty and How It Affects Behaviors
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
11:30am – 1:00pm

Adolescence for  children with special needs can be complicated and confusing for children and parents.  As a family member or caregiver addressing the subject of puberty can be daunting. This session will provide information and resources to help ease the transition from child to adult.

Presented by: Bobby Eppleman, Arc of Chester County

Work Incentive Counseling: Dispelling Myths and Making Sense of the Impact of Work on Social Security Benefits
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
11:30am – 1:00pm

Do you or someone you care for receive Social Security benefits based on disability? Is your goal to work and become better off financially? Are you concerned about how your benefits will be impacted by work? If so, attend the Work Incentive Counseling presentation at the Arc of Chester County. A Community Work Incentive Coordinator (CWIC) will discuss the differences between SSI and SSDI, and how income will impact a person’s benefits, as well as the “work incentives” offered by the Social Security Administration to assist individuals with going to work.

Presented by: Michele Boardman, MA,CWIC, Community Work Incentive Coordinator, AHEDD

Introduction to Transition Planning
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
11:30am – 1:00pm

Transition for adolescent children with special needs can be a difficult process for parents. Transition is outcome based and is long-range in nature. It assists in creating a bridge between the security of school and the risks and opportunities of employment and adult life. In this overview we will learn  how to access the services and systems your child will need as they move into adulthood and how important it is to start preparing early to ensure success.

Presented by: Joyceann Hustead, Special Education Advocate, Arc of Chester County

How to Manage a Waiver
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
11:30am – 1:00pm

You’ve learned about the different types of waivers and hope to get one for your child.  Then what happens?  Come learn about the waiver process and what your options are to manage it.

Presented by: Julie Moyer, Chester County Dept. of Mental Health/Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Special Education Litigation: The Process and Legal Updates
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
11:30am – 1:00pm

This presentation will outline and discuss the procedures governing both administrative due process proceedings (how they are initiated, pre-hearing procedures, and the conduct of hearings), and subsequent federal court review of administrative due process decisions. The presentation will discuss recent significant federal court decisions. The presentation will discuss recent significant federal court decisions regarding special education.

Presented by: Michael E. Gehring, Esquire, Associate with McAndrews Law Offices, P.C.

How Do I Get An Autism Waiver?
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
11:30am – 1:00pm

The Autism Services, Education, Resources & Training Collaborative (ASERT) is a statewide initiative funded by the Bureau of Autism Services (BAS), PA Dept. of Human Services. A representative from ASERT will provide information on their work and how they support BAS. She will outline how BAS supports individuals through its programs: the Adult Autism Waiver (AAW), and the Adult Community Autism Program (ACAP). She will also explain how the Interest Lists for these programs work.

Kaitlin Koffer-Miller from ASERT/The Bureau of Autism Services

Understanding the IEP Process

The Arc of Chester County is repeating our three-part parent workshop series that will help ensure children’s needs are identified and that they get the services and support they need to succeed in school. Dr. Lisa Faranda, Board Certified Educaiton Advocate at StillPoint Advocacy will explain the three steps, how to work with the school district and what to do when you disagree.

All sessions will take place at The Phoenixville Community Health Foundation located at 821 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA 19460 and take place from 9:30 AM until 12:30 PM.

Part 1: Finding Out What My Child Needs – November 2, 2016

This session will address the evaluation process, the forms (PTE, questionnaires) you will need to fill out, and what you need to know about how to fill them out. We’ll discuss the letters you will likely need to write and how to compose them; the questions you might want to ask; and how to read and use the Evaluation Report (ER) or Revaluation Report (RR) to best support your child.

Part 2: Developing the IEP – November 4, 2016

This session will address the elements of an IEP; how to be a fully participating member of the IEP team; how to contribute to each element; how to understand baselines; how to write a Parental Letter of Concern so that your voice is heard; and how to respond to a NOREP.

Part 3: Implementing the IEP – November 9, 2016

This session will address how to monitor how well the IEP is being implemented; how to monitor progress as a parent; how to handle issues that may arise; how to and why you would review your child’s school record (FERPA); and guidelines for working with the school district on your child’s behalf.

How to Get Mental Health & Behavioral Services in Chester County

Do you have or know a child who has behavioral or mental health concerns?

A mental health diagnosis can be scary and confusing.  Come learn how to navigate the mental health systems in Chester County. The Arc of Chester County will be providing two parent workshops and networking opportunities.  These trainings are FREE. Come learn about mental health services and supports in Chester County, and network with other parents!

Topic: How to Get Mental Health Services in Chester County

This workshop will be offered twice:

Tuesday, Nov 15, 2016 from 11:30am – 1:00pm

London Grove Township
372 Rose Hill Road
Suite 100
West Grove, PA 19390

Presented by Candy Craig, Deputy Administrator for Mental Health, Chester County Department of MH.

Wednesday, Nov 16, 2016 from 11:30am – 1:00 pm

Oxford Library
48 S. 2nd Street
Oxford, PA 19363

Presented by MaryBeth Hyatt, Supervisor Mental Health, Chester County Department of MH.