Northeast Ohio Special Needs Conference – February 7

You are invited to attend the Northeast Ohio Special Needs Conference on February 7, 2015 at Bay Presbyterian Church from 9:00am – 2:30pm. Breakout sessions will offer content for parents, teachers, volunteers, pastors, ministry leaders, and anyone who has a heart for learning more about the inclusive church and classroom. This is a free conference (including lunch), but must register. For more information and to register, please visit


  • Cultivating communities of inclusion: helping churches welcome each one
  • Including kids with emotional, behavioral and developmental challenges in your ministry
  • Helping children with hidden disabilities in the classroom setting
  • Creating community partnerships
  • Special needs and adoption
  • Behavior management playing field
  • Respite: motivations, methods & more
  • Setting up a special needs classroom for teens/adults
  • Eternal eyes and a missional heart – remembering the powerful purpose of your special journey

Special Needs Conference - Bay Presbyterian - 2-7-15

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Setting Goals for a Child with a Disability

SMART Goals Graphic aaf

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There is a common theme when parents are looking to set goals for their child. Whether they are therapy, school-based or family-centered, all goals must be “SMART” – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Oriented and Time-Bound.

UCP of Greater Cleveland’s Children’s Services Department particularly concentrates on the “Achievable” aspect of goal-setting. The case managers and therapists help families focus on what is realistic and attainable for their child. They let the families know that it is important to push their child to his or her full potential, but that they must also have reasonable expectations.

When parents first come to the facility, they meet with one of UCP of Greater Cleveland’s case managers so that they can gather the family’s priorities and the family-client driven goals. By asking questions such as “What brings you here?” and “What are you hoping to get out of this?” the case managers get a better understanding of the family’s wants and needs. Next, the child meets with a team of therapists to be evaluated. Finally, the therapists, case managers and family members identify a treatment plan that combines the family’s goals with the therapeutic goals.

A hallmark of UCP of Greater Cleveland’s Children’s Services program is the fact that our therapists are continually focused on improving functional limitations. This means that they look at how a child’s impairment is holding them back from completing a specific task, and then the therapy team works together to mesh the child’s strengths with their needs. The whole purpose of therapy is to get the child involved in their environment.

This mindset carries into the school setting as well. Our case managers help families determine how their child’s strengths fit into the foundations of the core curriculum. They also assist during the IEP process, helping the family develop IEP goals and working with the schools to best accommodate the child.

The UCP staff also set goals to assist families as they begin to educate themselves about how to care for a child with a disability. It can be a pretty intimidating, new world that they are entering, and our staff want to make it as easy as possible. Some examples of the type of assistance UCP provides are teaching the parents and child how to use equipment, activities to do together, how to work with vendors and how to navigate through doctors appointments.

In addition, the staff members want to empower the family and help them continue what is being done in therapy. The work put in at UCP of Greater Cleveland has to carry over at home if the progress is going to stick with the child. Once the child is old enough to take ownership of their health and wellness, the therapists and case managers help the child with self advocacy. This includes learning how to speak up for themselves, doing their own goal setting, attending their IEP meetings and documenting their therapy exercises.

With all goal setting, it is important to realize that a child’s goals today may not be their goals six months from now. Their needs change as they grow, as they transition into school and as they transition out of school. Goal setting is a very fluid process across the child’s lifespan, with the end result to get them as independent as possible.

For more information about UCP of Greater Cleveland’s Children’s Services Department, please call (216) 791-8362 ext. 1250 or email Or visit our website at

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National Youth Enrollment Day – January 29

United Way 2-1-1 is hosting an event on Thursday, January 29, 2015 from 10am – 2pm for National Youth Enrollment Day. The goal of this event is to help our community get information about their health insurance options, to find a doctor, to understand how the health law will affect their federal taxes and to receive free tax preparation help. Certified health insurance assisters and tax volunteers will be on hand. United Way 2-1-1 is located at the United Way of Greater Cleveland at 1331 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, OH 44115.

UW15_211 Youth Enrollment Flyer Final (2)_Page_1

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10 Questions to Ask a Lawyer before Hiring One for Your Disability Case

By Guest Blogger Samuel Packard, a San Antonio Social Security Lawyer and Partner at The Packard Law Firm

Applying for disability benefits is a complicated process, and most people are denied the first time. While hiring legal counsel is not a requirement, some people find that having a lawyer ensures they navigate the process correctly and reduces the stress caused by mountains of paperwork. In my experience, there are 10 questions you should ask a lawyer before hiring him or her for your disability case:

  1. What level of experience does this attorney have with Social Security Disability? You want to know how long the attorney has been helping people with disabilities. If he or she is Board Certified in Social Security Law, that’s a huge plus. Ask how many hearings he or she handles per month. Be careful of working with any attorney who handles more than 30 cases per month because he or she may not be able to spend the time you need on your case.
  2. Will this attorney help fill out your Social Security forms? The attorney or legal assistant should help you with this. They can’t make up the answers for you, but you should not be responsible for filling out the appeals, reports and other forms Social Security sends you. If the attorney tells you to apply on your own for benefits and call back if or when you get your denial letter, then smile and say, “OK,” but keep looking for an attorney.
  3. Will this attorney order your medical records? Having all the medical records available for the judge is crucial to your case. If you are responsible for gathering your own medical records, keep looking.
  4. Is this attorney familiar with the judges and staff at your hearing office? It helps to know the quirks and preferences of the other people who will be there for your hearing, especially the judge. There is turnover among the Social Security staff (including judges), but an attorney should be familiar with most of the people there.
  5. How does this attorney handle your questions or updates about your case? Who do you talk to? This is mainly to see if your communication style matches with the attorney. Some people like to talk over the phone, some like to email. Some want an attorney who answers his own phone, and some want an attorney who has legal assistants who help.
  6. How much does this attorney charge? What if you don’t win? Social Security regulates how attorneys get paid, and as a result, they usually charge the same: 25 percent of past due benefits. However, some attorneys require reimbursement for case expenses even if you don’t win. This might not be a deal killer, but it is something you should be aware of before signing a contract.
  7. How will this attorney help prepare you for the hearing? Will you be able to meet in person (and not just the day of the hearing)? You should be able to meet with your attorney several days before your hearing. Sometimes circumstances make it difficult to meet face-to-face, but doing your hearing preparation meeting over the phone should be your decision. And it should not be done by an assistant or paralegal.
  8. Where is this attorney located? All else being equal, you should go with a local attorney. This might be difficult if you live in a rural area, but find someone who is near your hearing office.
  9. Will this attorney prepare a written memorandum or brief for the judge to review prior to the hearing? This written statement from the attorney is very helpful. First, it shows that your attorney has spent time reviewing your case and preparing a legal theory for the judge. Second, it gives the judge a chance to consider the case prior to the hearing. Finally, it can also be a request for an On The Record (OTR) decision. OTR decisions are rare, but sometimes the judge will grant a claim without hearing testimony from any witnesses.
  10. Is this attorney familiar with your particular health problems? No attorney can know everything about every medical condition, but you should get a feel for how knowledgeable an attorney is on your conditions. If your health problems are uncommon, your attorney should be willing to get familiar with the symptoms and treatment of your particular conditions.

In the end, the most important thing your attorney can do for your case is give you peace of mind. You should look for someone who will help you with this burden. Many people are overly concerned about win percentage or the length of the process. Nobody can guarantee an outcome, and there aren’t many ways a person qualifies to have his or her case expedited.

What you should be most concerned with is finding someone you can trust. You want someone who will take care of your case so you don’t have to worry. If you don’t like the attorney, keep looking until you find someone you like.

About the Guest Blogger

Samuel Packard is a San Antonio Social Security lawyer who has handled more than a thousand disability cases. He is board certified by the National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy. Samuel and his brother, Michael, own The Packard Law Firm and continue to help people with disabilities get the disability benefits they need.

This article was shared from Disability.Blog
by Samuel Packard posted on January 21, 2015

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Registration is Open for the Race to Empower 5k and One Mile Fun Run

Race to Empower logo (no date)Register today for the 3rd Annual Race to Empower 5k and One Mile Fun Run on Sunday, May 3rd!

The race will start and end at:

UCP of Greater Cleveland
10011 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44106

  • 5k scenic course takes you along the edge of University Circle through Rockefeller Park
  • 5k Run/Walk (Chip-timed) starts at 9:00 AM
  • One-Mile Fun Run (non-timed) starts at 9:10 AM
  • Jogging strollers and wheelchairs are welcome on both courses
  • Early Packet Pick-up on Saturday, May 2nd at UCP of Greater Cleveland from 12:00-4:00 PM
  • Race Day Registration and Packet Pick-up at 7:30 AM

Registration Details

  • Registration is now open! Click here to register.
  • Pre-Registration:
    • Register by May 1, 2015 – $20
    • Online Registration closes at 9:00 AM on Friday, May 1st
    • Mail-in entries must be received by Wednesday, April 29th
  • Race Day Registration – $30 (cash/check only)
  • Kids under the age of 10 are FREE (no t-shirt)


Awards will be given to the top male and female finishers in the 5k and the top 3 male and female finishers in the following age groups:
10 & under, 11-14. 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65 & over


Click the link to find past 5k race results!

Other Details

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  • Upcoming Events

    January  2015