Monday, July 15, 2013

Applying for SSI Benefits for a Child with Autism

This Featured Guest Article was written by Ram Meyyappan, from Social Security Disability Help, an organization that works to promote disability awareness and help individuals navigate the Social Security Disability application process. Please welcome her and thank her in the comment section below!   ~Lorrie

If you have a child who suffers from autism, it can take a financial toll on your family. Chances are that either you or your spouse will need to leave the workforce in order to tend to the needs of your child. The resulting lack of income can wreak havoc on your finances. Fortunately, in many cases, Social Security Disability benefits can help.

A child who is suffering from autism may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits from birth until age 18. It is important to understand, however, that SSI is a needs-based program. In order to be approved for benefits, your family will need to meet the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s financial criteria in addition to proving that your child is medically qualified for disability benefits.

Meeting the Financial Requirements of SSI Benefits

In order to meet the financial requirements for SSI benefits, your income and assets may not exceed the threshold that has been set by the SSA. As of 2013, this means your monthly income cannot exceed $710 as an individual or $1,066 as a couple. Your assets must also not exceed $2,000 as an individual or $3,000 as a couple in order to qualify for SSI.
You can learn more about SSI here:

Meeting the Medical Requirements

When filling out the disability paperwork, you will want to demonstrate that your child has problems in specific areas including self-care and severe behavioral problems as well as documentation showing his or her diagnosis of autism. You will want to address problems with your child’s adaptive behaviors, learning, mobility skills, and capacity of independent living. Written statements from your child’s treating physicians can be very beneficial to your child’s Social Security Disability claim.

How to Apply for SSI

To apply for SSI you can go into your local Social Security office or you can file online at the Social Security website ( You will want to make sure to answer all questions as thoroughly as possible. Also make sure you include medical records documenting the above-mentioned facts when submitting your claim.

What to Do in the Case of a Denial

Almost 2/3 of disability applications are initially denied. If you receive a denial letter from the SSA, you have 60 days from the date of the letter to appeal the decision. The first stage of appeals will be the Request for Reconsideration. Do not be alarmed if this request is denied. Fewer than 20 percent of these requests are actually approved by the SSA. The next stage of appeals is when you will have the best chance of winning your case. This is the disability hearing. At this stage of appeal your case is heard before an administrative law judge.

It is in your best interest to have legal representation at this hearing, since a disability attorney will know the laws that pertain to your case and how to use those laws to your benefit. There is no upfront cost to hiring a disability attorney. These attorneys are only paid if you are successfully awarded benefits.

Guest Article by:

Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help
For more information on Autism and Social Security Disability benefits, please visit:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

It Has Seemed Like It Has Taken FOREVER But, the AWESOME #Autism "Camp C.A.N.O.E" Is Almost Here!!

You are probably wondering what I am getting all excited about? Let me tell YOU! Almost two years ago, my husband and I took our two energetic boys to check out Camp DaKaNi's Open House and learn more about Camp C.A.N.O.E., the NEW Autism Camp that was scheduled to start the Summer of 2012. What makes me proud as a parent, and to be involved as a camp counselor, is that Camp C.A.N.O.E. stands for "Children with Autism Need Outdoor Experiences"! What I love is that Camp C.A.N.O.E. offers each of these children the chance to improve fine and gross motor skills, to increase their confidence, self-reliance, to help them to work with others as a team, to solve problems, to strengthen independent thinking, communication and social skills as they make friends...every parent's dream, or at least mine!!

The staff at Camp DaKaNi for Camp Fire Heart of Oklahoma have been preparing all year for the 2013 Camp C.A.N.O.E. This will be my second year to work as a camp counselor during Camp C.A.N.O.E. and along side many other awesome volunteers. We will enjoy exploring the thirty-three acres of Camp DaKaNi while learning or perfecting skills such as the zip line, archery, rock climbing, canoeing and fishing. I can't wait until Camp C.A.N.O.E. 2013!! If YOU have a child that might enjoy getting out of the house each day for a FUN-filled week, you will want to check this out for next year!

We are always looking for individuals, and companies that will allow their employees, to volunteer during Camp C.A.N.O.E. each year. If YOU are interested in volunteering, or know someone who might want to, please contact Kristin Harper either by phone (405)254-2071 or by email for more information. 

You can follow me @MissMaryMackOKC and Camp DaKaNi @CampFireHOK for updates. I look forward to hearing from anyone that wants to give me a shout!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sharing How Cleaning and Organization Can Be Rewarding for any Family but, Especially One on the #Autism Spectrum!

My most recent article Goodbye, Procrastination... Hello, Organization in a Special Needs Home is available for viewing of the wonderful Special Happens community! This one was especially difficult for me because it hit close to home but, it is something that I am currently working on. Please take just a few minutes of your time to laugh with me about how we can occasionally find ourselves in a situation, that we need to change in order to enjoy more time with our families!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

You're Invited To The Summer Vision Screenings Hosted By The Oklahoma Vision Development Center!

I'm posting this on the homepage because I hope that it could possibly help a family in Tulsa, OK find resources like this:

Oklahoma Vision Development Center is offering FREE Developmental Vision Screenings which will test the child's acuities, eye tracking, eye teaming, visual processing skills. 

  Screenings are Scheduled for: 
June 24-27, 2013  8:30am-2:00pm
June 28, 2013 8:30-11:30am
July 22-25, 2013  8:30am-2:00pm
July 26, 2013 8:30-11:30am

                   What you need to know: 
                   You must call 918-745-9662 to schedule an appointment
                                               Children must be between 6-18 years old
                   Children must have had an eye exam in the past 12 months                                                                                  (If they haven't had one, we can schedule an eye exam for you) 
                Located at 4520 S. Harvard Ave. Ste. 100  

Please share this information with any parent of any child you think may be struggling from a vision related problem.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Role of Oxidative Stress, Gastrointestinal Disturbances and Metabolic (mitochondrial) Problems with #Autism

I would like to introduce our Featured Guest, Becky Peabody Estepp, in an effort to provide a variety of information for our readers! Becky is the Director of Communications at the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy. I hope you will give her a warm welcome and enjoy the post that she has shared with us.                                                                      Lorrie                                                                      

There's something about the 4th of July holiday that mainstream PR people love. That's when they bury science that they don't want the general public to think about too much. 

Below you will find an article from the Wall Street Journal that goes over the role of oxidative stress, gastrointestinal disturbances and metabolic (mitochondrial) problems with autism. Again, hallelujah that these conditions are being legitimately linked to autism. Lets hope this will lead to widespread treatment for kids with ASD.

But, on the other hand, I might need to go run 20 miles to use up the energy (and anger) I had when reading this. When my boys were both scoped 10 years ago we were about to get on the plane to NYC to go to Lennox Hill Hospital. At the last minute, our doctor called to tell us to not drive to the airport. Lennox Hill revoked his rights to practice there when they found out he was scoping kids with autism. It was too controversial and they wanted to stay out of the fray.

What about Dr. Wakefield who has been vilified by the medical community and traipsed around the world as a fraud? You know what his original case study was about, a novel form of GI disease in kids with autism. Isn't that in a sense what the last two articles have been about this month?

So again, we are back to the "Wag the Dog" analogy. The science is being managed and spoon fed to the public. Most people would miss this story because they are on the road with their loved ones for the biggest summer holiday. Just like in 2011, when the Stanford twins study came out that said, "Oh yeah, you know how we always said autism is genetic in almost all cases? Well, guess what? It is almost always environmental. Pass me a hot dog because it is the 4th of July. And watch some fireworks tonight."

But if the topic of this new study comes up down the road in some professional setting that kids with autism suffer with oxidative stress, GI disorders and mitochondrial dysfunction; the scientists can all say, "Oh yes, A VERY important study came out in July showing the biomarkers of these problems.....blah, blah, blah." And they can take credit for this ground-breaking science and package it exactly how they want it and deliver it to the public. Never mind that there have been several brave and amazing doctors who discovered and treated kids for these disorders for over a decade. And who were and are still trying to stop what this sentence says in the article.

"With one in three families affected by neurodevelopmental or cognitive disorders, this finding could have a far-reaching impact. As a pediatric gastroenterologist, I am encouraged to see research that seeks to unravel these co-occurring medical conditions that can seriously impact a patient's quality of life."

One in three families......just think about that. *Becky Peabody Estepp

*And there's always one word in each of these press releases that will differentiate the mainstream from us. The word in this article is "co-occurring" as in "co-occurring medical conditions."This scientist just heavily implied that the oxidative stress, the GI problems, and mito issues are just a coincidence that many individuals with autism are having, it's not the cause or has anything really to do with the cause.