When you think of autism, you may think of a life-long impairment that affects nearly every aspect of a child’s life and development. While this devastating disorder certainly comes with its challenges, decades of research have led to amazing treatment that continues to improve the lives of these children. The Kansas City Autism Training Center provides a wide variety of services and training for children with autism and their families. These special needs families can benefit greatly from the center’s resources.
Kansas City Area Families benefit from state-of-the-art services
The Kansas City Autism Training Center (or KcATC) is known for promoting applied behavioral analytic techniques, which are not yet available to most children with autism, and provides those techniques to children and their families in the community.
KcATC Direct Autism Services
KcATC Direct Autism Services provides 20-35 hour treatment plans for children ages 2 ½ to 12 who have been diagnosed with autism. Interventions which employ applied behavior analysis can be designed and individualized for each child. The goal is to help children succeed socially in a less restrictive environment. These improvements benefit the child and the family. Parent training is also provided in order to ensure that the skills children learn onsite follow them home where they can continue to practice and learn.
KcATC provides Astra Day School
The Kansas City Autism Training Center also operates a day school program, the Astra Day School, which provides “a solid, scientific culture of trained learning specialists and a core belief that every child has the right to learn to their greatest potential.” Astra’s methods are based on behavioral science and principles of reinforcement and motivation. All programming is assent-based, which means children are never coerced into participation. The teachers remain alert to the different levels of participation of each child, resulting in high-interest lessons.
Planning for special needs children
Advances in medicine and behavioral science have resulted in much better care for special needs children. One major benefit is that children with special needs are now living longer than in the past. The concern, though, becomes whether parents are prepared for the long-term expense of caring for special needs children. Planning for special needs children is something that should be done as early as possible.
Why do I need a special needs plan?
Caring for a child with special needs can be quite a challenge. You must consider medical, personal and financial needs. If your child receives assistance from need-based government programs, such as Medicaid and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), then it is also necessary to protect their eligibility for those benefits. Special needs planning is intended to do just that.
Understanding the role of government benefits
Children with special needs are typically entitled to certain government benefits, including Supplement Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. These programs are both “needs-based” which mean the child must qualify financially in order to be eligible and receive these benefits. Understanding how public assistance programs like these work is an important part of special needs planning. Your special needs plan should do two things: address the preservation of your child’s eligibility for government benefits and provide a smooth transition between you and your successor caregiver, so that government benefits are not jeopardized in any way.
Will government benefits be sufficient?
In some situations, the benefits your child receives will not be sufficient to cover all of the expenses associated with your child’s care. For that reason, you should consider more than government benefits as a source of income and support. One option is to take out a life insurance policy for the purpose of providing additional resources for your child’s care.
Consider establishing a Special Needs Trust
A Special Needs Trust will typically be the most important component of your special needs plan. The purpose of this particular type of trust is to provide the necessary resources for your special needs child without jeopardizing that child’s eligibility for needs-based benefits.
Two types of Special Needs Trusts
There are basically two types of special needs trusts you should consider including in your special needs plan: general support and supplemental care. A General Support Special Needs Trusts usually serves as the primary source of benefits for your child. On the other hand, a Supplemental Care Special Needs Trust, which is the most common type, is meant to be a secondary source of benefits, used only after government benefits are exhausted.
If you have questions regarding special needs, or any other estate planning matters, contact Gaughan & Connealy for a consultation either online or by calling us at (816) 974-3030. Join us for a free workshop!