Woman Indicted For Embezzlement Scheme To Steal Money From Non-Profit For Kids With Special Needs

Police discovered that Michelle DeMauro, a 48-year old from Revere, Massachusetts, had been embezzling cash from the nonprofit where she once worked as president. She used tens of thousands of dollars of the nonprofit’s money. The worst part? The nonprofit was called the Revere League for Special Needs.

The organization is built to keep kids with special needs safe, and to increase education of those who care for them. Workers are all volunteers. No one receives monetary compensation for the work they do.

DeMauro seems intent on proclaiming her innocence. She said that it was all a misunderstanding based on: “Very bad bookkeeping. Very, very bad bookkeeping.”

Her indictment was for two counts of larceny over $1,200 and another two counts of obtaining a signature under false pretenses.

Attorney General Maura Healey said that DeMauro used at least $42,000 to pay for expenses like home improvement, electronics, and gift cards, and that at least a few of her purchases used the non-profit status to dodge taxes.

DeMauro said she thinks the whole thing is fabricated: “I don’t even know where they got $42,000. That’s a made up number.”

According to an online profile, the “Revere League for the Retarded, Inc.” was also headed by DeMauro before its non-profit tax exempt status was revoked by the IRS. Apparently the organization failed to file the correct tax forms for at least three consecutive years and is currently under investigation.

The nonprofit’s mission statement says: “Care for the mentally impaired thru travel/entertainment/social functions, etc.”

Interested in giving special needs organizations and nonprofits a better name? Here are a few that are looking for help and/or donations:

Easter Seals provides help for both children and adults who suffer from disabilities or special needs. They cater to children, senior, and vets with targeted therapy and education.

The Arc provides information and referrals to employment, residential, and recreational programs for intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, Fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, etc.

Friendship Circle International is a Jewish organization dedicated to kids who are growing up with special needs, and runs 80 locations around the globe. It utilizes teenage volunteers in an effort to cultivate peer understanding and diverse, mutually beneficial relationships between kids in different walks of life.

Goodwill Industries International helps out with financially coaching and educating anyone with special needs, young or old — even if those people have criminal backgrounds. Their mission is to cultivate understanding throughout the community.

Do Parents’ Divorce Adversely Affect Kids With Disabilities More Than Other Kids?

Divorce is a struggle for most families and it can be especially difficult for children to understand why it sometimes is the very best option for parents — and studies show that it is. Most parents who stay together simply for the sake of their kids seem to do more harm than good. But is the same true for kids who grow up with behavioral disorders or disabilities? Do divorcing parents adversely affect their kids with disabilities more than other kids?

The question has been asked in the wake of Todd and Sarah Palin’s likely upcoming divorce, and experts are calling out those who would spread certain myths.

A young divorce attorney named Miranda gives parents a bit of advice: “There’s no statistically relevant empirical data proving that a child with autism cannot have two happily married parents. The idea that parents with a child on the spectrum cannot stay married is simply untrue.” 

She continues, “Parents who are suffering difficulties with their kids or in their marriage should take the same steps as anyone else — it might be time for counseling. Separation or divorce is always a last resort for parents who want to do best by their children; sadly, sometimes divorce is the only thing that makes sense, and it’s important to acknowledge that reality too.” 

That said, the rumor that children with disabilities are more likely to have unhappy or divorced parents is rooted in a concept known as “ableism” which simply posits that fewer disabilities and more conformity mean a better life for everyone. Experts are quick to point out that such a narrow-minded set of beliefs can cause otherwise good parents to become unhappy or divorce out of a sort of self-fulfilled prophecy.

Divorce in some cases is worse for disabled kids than those who live without disability. 

According to the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH), “divorce rates were not elevated, on average, in families with a child with developmental disabilities. However, in small families, there was a significantly higher risk of divorce relative to a normative comparison group.”

But part of the reason is because parents struggle to understand the basic needs of their kids. Understanding and meeting those needs is crucial to a healthy transition. Maintaining a strong bond between a child and both the child’s parents is equally important, and both homes must be safe, stable places for the child to visit if custody is shared.

In addition, it’s important for parents to keep asking questions. The child’s wishes are important to creating the stable environment necessary.

15 Early Warning Signs Your Child Might Be On The Autism Spectrum

The number of children who grow up with autism is increasing, and it’s important to know when your child might be at risk so you can effectively combat the developmental disorder as quickly as possible. Most early warning signs become apparent before your child hits the age of two, so it’s never too early to start watching! Here are the earliest warning signs you might notice if your child is on the autism spectrum!

It might be autism…

  1. If your child seems unusually sensitive to certain sounds, images, textures, or other sensory activities.
  2. If your child speaks with an unusual voice or tone.
  3. If your child cannot play with toys as you might expect.
  4. If your child cannot let go of objects.
  5. If your child makes awkward or unusual hand gestures.
  6. If your child does not react to stimuli in the same way that other children might. This might include ignoring the sound of your voice when you try to be soothing.
  7. If your child seems less enthusiastic than other children of the same age.
  8. If your child does not make eye contact with you.
  9. If your child does not smile when you do.
  10. If your child does not point at objects. It is normal for children to become curious about their surrounding environment.
  11. If your child does not start to respond to certain sound stimuli, such as his or her name.
  12. If your child does not like physical affection.
  13. If your child has yet to speak his or her first word by age two.
  14. If your child seems to have fewer facial expressions than other children.
  15. If you cannot gain your child’s attention or direct it.

By age two, your child should become more interactive with both the environment and its people. If trouble arises in communication or repeated behaviors which seem unusual, it might be time to have a specialist try to diagnose your child. If your child is already older and seems unable to fit in at school or with peers in other social situations, then there might be a problem.

It’s important to know that autism presents differently and symptoms are often dependent on the individual. Some kids who grow up with autism will learn to interact normally by the time they reach adulthood, while others will not. This is why it’s extremely important to talk to an estate planning attorney about special needs planning.  This way you can ensure that your special needs child will have the financial security they need when you are no longer around to take care of them.

What Are The Biggest Obstacles For Children With Special Needs?

There are a number of challenges associated with children who are on the spectrum or struggle with other special needs of a wide variety, but sometimes the biggest is external. Children with behavioral disorders require rigid structure in order to grow and learn to fit into society as a whole. When the environments–people included–are more likely to shift and change around these children than any others, the difficulties can become exacerbated.

Special education as a profession suffers from a high attrition rate. It’s not hard to understand why. In addition to the difficult nature of the job, teachers in general aren’t paid enough to make the headache worth the time and effort they put in each and every day. Parents don’t have a choice, but teachers do. That’s why they burn out so much faster. Around half of special education teachers will quit within five years. A quarter of the initial group will start looking for other career options after ten years.

Those rates are unacceptable, especially when it means change for the children.

There are things we can do to help the situation. Stress management is key. Teachers can prepare to interact with children who have special needs, but also they must prepare to take some alone time when a particularly challenging day presents itself. It’s not easy to have your own capabilities questioned every single day, and it reduces self-esteem. Teachers are human beings who could benefit from therapy just as much as anyone else. They must learn to eat and exercise properly, and find hobbies that extend past sedentary activities like the television.

Many of these children require more one-on-one time, and it can be hard to provide when other children act out or try to grab attention. The children should be routinely interviewed in order to document progress–or even after new issues that arrive from changing environments, if that’s the case. Teachers should strive to increase parental involvement both in and out of the classroom. It’s necessary to maintain a relationship with child and parent to achieve a measure of success.

This profession is not for the faint of heart or the unhealthy. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else.

How To Explain Disabilities To Children

With more and more inclusion in the classroom, children with disabilities such as Autism and Down Syndrome will be in the same classroom setting as those who do not have any form of disability. And while it’s important to ensure that your child gets everything that they need from government services, therapies, IEPs, teachers, etc, it’s important to consider what the other children in the classroom need. Not all of them are going to understand what makes your child different. They just know that they are different.

Ava L. Siegler, Ph.D. wrote in Child Magazine that when explaining disabilities to a child it’s important to be compassionate (that it’s hard to have a disability), communicative (explain as much as you can within reason), comprehensive (that’s it’s not the child’s fault they are disabled) and competent (just because they have a disability doesn’t mean they can’t do things).

Here are some other things to keep in mind when bringing out disability awareness with your children.

Kids with special needs are different but that’s OK! – Kids with down syndrome might have almond shaped eyes.

Kids with special needs are also the same as other kids! – All kids have eyes.

Kids with special needs or disabilities are not necessarily sick. – A disability is not something you can catch.

Kids with special needs shouldn’t be compared to normal kids – A better word to use would be typically rather than normally.

If your special needs child is eager to share with their classmates about their disability there are tons of fabulous resources online. Hopefully one of the side benefits from inclusion in the classroom will be to help spread disability awareness.



What Is Dyslexia? A Basic Overview

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding the medical malpractice disease known as dyslexia. And for something that is so common in modern society, the misconceptions are rather surprising. In this article, you’ll quickly learn what dyslexia really is, along with some other interesting things you might not know about this diagnosis. So, what is dyslexia?

Dyslexia Defined

Even though we regard our reading abilities as a given if you take the time to learn the alphabet, 20% of the population don’t have this natural ability. And it’s not because they have a lower IQ or any other type of diminished capacity. Instead, their brains just find it more difficult to arrange letters and sounds.

And just like nature wants it, these individuals are typically known for their quick reasoning abilities and extreme creativity. In other words, what they struggle with in terms of reading, they excel in other areas.

So, dyslexia means a person finds it challenging to read and understand the material. It does NOT make a person any less capable.

Is There A Cure For Dyslexia?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for dyslexia. Instead, treatment can be used to decrease the effects and help people with this learning disability to gain the same opportunities as everyone else. Of course, it takes patience, motivation, and dedication, but every success in life consists of this combination.

What Is It Like Overcoming Dyslexia?

A common question people ask is whether a dyslexic person can learn to read? The answer is yes, but it will never happen on automatic pilot, in a manner of speaking. Whereas individuals without dyslexia can make reading an element of fun and even comfort (doing it without thinking about it), a dyslexic person will always have to put effort into it.

Can Pre-School Kids Show Any Symptoms?

Yes, there are signs you can look for, like slightly delayed speech. It is also difficult for them to recognize words that rhyme. Ultimately, there is a screening process you can follow, but this is better discussed with a professional.

Are There Notable People Who Have Dyslexia?

Leonardo da Vinci was dyslexic, and Sir Richard Branson (the billionaire Virgin brand business owner) is also said to be dyslexic. In fact, there are many famous and respected people who have or had a learning disability.

And this ultimately proves that living with dyslexia doesn’t have to limit you as to what you can achieve. If anything, it should inspire you to reach for the biggest stars.

Famous People With Disabilities Are All Around Us

A lot of people who grow up and live with disabilities do so with the belief that they’re completely alone with their burden, and that kind of solitude can stunt one’s growth in unacceptable ways. The thing is, there have been famous people throughout history who have already proven that people with disabilities are most definitely not alone, and that they have what it takes to impact the world for the better. These are just a few of those people.

These days, most people know someone who has autism spectrum disorder. Sometimes, we might not even realize it. It can be mild, or it can greatly impact someone’s life. It can also take on many different forms, and doesn’t discriminate between those with high or low intelligence. Experts believe that Albert Einstein likely had some form of autism. Mozart, Matt Savage, and Tony DeBlois are just a few others who fall on the spectrum.

Mild cerebral palsy might leave a person with this disorder on crutches but able to do everything else, or it could significantly impact the daily routine in more meaningful ways. In either case, many famous personalities were subject to this movement disorder. In recent years, young actor RJ Mitte made waves playing “Walter White JR.”, on the AMC smash hit Breaking Bad. Not everyone realized that RJ actually does have a mild form of cerebral palsy, but he’s proof that everyone can accomplish what they put their mind to if they want it badly enough.

Epilepsy is a somewhat common neurological disorder which leads to seizures, and is most often treated and controlled rather than cured. Famous figures who had epilepsy were Vincent van Gogh, the great artist, scientist Isaac Newton, and Napoleon Bonaparte, the French conqueror.

Tourettes can present in odd ways, most notable of which is the cliche cursing vocal tic. But that doesn’t really characterize the neurological disorder, which results in more than one physical tic and at least one vocal tic. No one knows exactly what causes the disorder, but current scientific knowledge supposes that it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Dan Ackroyd, a popular actor, hasn’t experienced symptoms of Tourette’s and Asperger’s syndrome since he was about fourteen years old. Even so, it’s probably a surprise to no one that someone with such a strong personality experienced either disorder.

No matter who you are or what you choose to do in life, the people who came before us can serve as inspiration now and in the future. They show us that anything is possible with hard work and legal practice software, even for those of us who suffer from disabilities that we might otherwise think impossible to rise up from.  

What Are Assistive Devices And Who Are They For?

Those who are deaf or hard of hearing, or those who have a speech or language disorder sometimes require assistive devices (sometimes called assistive technologies) in order to help them communicate in certain situations. Sometimes the fault doesn’t lie in the person with the supposed “disorder” so much as in the people whom they need to communicate with. A deaf person can often communicate just fine using sign language, for example, but people who can hear don’t often take the time to learn how to communicate back. Sadly, the burden falls on the minority, and so the assistive devices are for their benefit as much as everyone else’s. Other devices are more necessary–like alarms or flashing lights to alert someone of danger.

There are many different kinds of technologies available depending on the needs of the person using them.

Assistive listening devices (or ALDs) are for the hard of hearing, and they help drown out background noises while amplifying more prominent sounds like voices or the sound of a horn blasting. They can be coupled with other type of hearing aids to further benefit the user’s hearing.

Alerting devices are used to complement bells or alarms. Instead of the sound of a doorbell, a deaf person might utilize a device that connects to the doorbell but issues a blinking light in place of the bell.

An augmentative and alternative communication device (or AAC) is used by those who have speech or communication disorders. As technology advances, so too do they. For example, the most basic AAC devices are picture boards, while the more advanced computer programs can create sound out of text or the same in reverse.

A hearing loop is a type of ALD that is comprised of a sound source, an amplifier, a wire that encircles a given room, and a receiver. Electromagnetic energy flows through the wire in order to enhance sound. Receivers for this type of system are often built into hearing aids, but aren’t always used.

Other ALDs involve FM radio signals to transmit similar sounds or infrared light to do the same. Personal amplifiers can also be used in place of the aforementioned if they aren’t available in a given environment.

These options represent only a very small number of the avenues available for those who need assistive technologies, and new research is conducted on a regular basis by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) in order to consistently improve existing technology while searching for new and better technology in the future.

Choosing A School For Your Disabled Kid

Knowing the benefits of the many different school systems available whenever you move from one place to another is key if you want to provide your children with the kind of advantages they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world, but what was an already difficult decision for a normal child becomes nearly impossible if your child has special needs. So what should you do if your child is disabled or needs more attention than the other children in the neighborhood? Well, luckily there are systems in place to help you out.

You can choose to enroll in an online school, but there are disadvantages to doing so, especially if your child has a behavioral disorder which precipitates a personalized, one on one approach. You can also choose to homeschool, if you know you can provide the right education to meet your child’s needs. Most parents find this a substantial challenge, and it should only be undertaken if you’re sure you aren’t doing more harm than good. Seek professional support before you try. It’s a lot more likely that you’ll need the guidance of an institution or individual professionally accustomed to your child’s needs.

Magnet schools are public schools that cater to kids who are disabled. Unlike most traditional schools, they specialize in certain areas or provide a focus in an area where your child may struggle, such as math or science. Magnet schools are prone to unfortunate long waiting lists, and if the particular magnet school you really want is located in a different school district, then transportation could become a major issue. With every pro, there’s a con.

Charter schools represent another more controversial option, and it’s up to you if you want to take the chance on this one. Although they do offer smaller classes that allow your child a more personalized experience, they are run by groups that may not get adequate funding for children with disabilities, and if the government finds that standards aren’t met, the school can be abruptly shut down. If this happens, your children will need to transition to a different school with different teachers, and that can hinder the learning process a lot more for a disabled child.

There do exist private schools that offer special services for students that have learning or attention problems as part of their disability, and these are especially good for all-around, comprehensive learning. Because all the children in these schools are in the same boat (they all have special needs) there is potentially less bullying, while the culture itself is adapted to meet all of their needs. The problem for most parents is expense, even though this probably offers the best solution to the problem of choosing a school. There are some scholarships available to help pay for the inflated expenses, however.

Ultimately, what you choose for your child depends on his or her needs and the level of support that can be provided from all sides.

Disabity Types

The dictionary’s definition of a disability is a cognitive, mental, physical, or developmental condition that will interfere, limit, or impair someone’s ability to engage or perform in certain actions or tasks. This also implies to the participation of typical daily interactions and activities. For example, someone who has a problem reading could have a dyslexia disability.

According to the Equality Act 2010 in the UK, the definition of a disability under this act is someone who has a mental or physical impairment that will produce a long-term, negative affect on their ability to perform normal daily activities. The long-term signifies something that is more than trivial or minor. For example, it could mean taking a longer time to getting dressed than it normally would.

There can be different types of disabilities, according to a consumer patent lawyer, such as a medical disability, a mental disability, or a social disability. The various types of medical disabilities include things such as diabetes, cancers, AIDS, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, and so forth. Medical disabilities can affect both motor and cognitive functions. Functional limitations and abilities will vary widely with a medical disability but they are often associated with fatigue.

Mental disabilities or disorders may occur as a result of your family history or genetic makeup. These type of disabilities can also occur because of life experiences such as a history of abuse or stress. There may also be biological factors that could cause a mental disability. For example, a mother may be exposed to a toxic chemical or virus while pregnant which could affect the child’s mental stability. Abusing the use of illegal drugs or alcohol could also be responsible for a mental disability.

Social and learning disabilities, another type of disability, are becoming more and more apparent in today’s society. These type of disabilities are rarely confined to work or school. Social and learning disabilities affect relationships with family, friends, workmates, and daily encounters with strangers. They often erode self-confidence and self-esteem so as to make dealing with any normal daily situation a challenge.

Social and learning disabilities are often misinterpreted and may be perceived as a social ineptness or immaturity. Some common social disability and learning characteristics include a need for immediate gratification, an inability to interpret social and environmental cues, a bossy or immature behavior, a low frustration tolerance, or an inability to set realistic goals and priorities.

Therefore, as you can see from the above information it is important to understand that there are a variety of disabilities. However more importantly, it is essential that we all support anyone who has a mental, social, or medical disability.