Legal advisory Services

Soulful Steps offer legal advisory services to the parents of Special Needs/ Special Needs individuals on their rights for education, livelihood, properties and other legal protections.

When it comes to identifying vulnerable populations in our community, some of the more overlooked groups are the disabled/ people with special needs. The laws laid down for disabled/ individuals with special needs are often poorly understood and most people are unaware of the same. This is unfortunate, because these people make up a good part of our population, and most likely someone you are close to could fall into one of these categories.

The disabled among us also need legal protections. Unfortunately, the legal concerns of this population group are often left unheard. The disabled/ special needs population have specific rights that are protected by law. From the right to education to the right to be protected from fraud and abuse, these are clearly outlined in the law. Unfortunately those rights often aren't met in day-to-day life as they should be. Also, these population have additional legal concerns they must address, such as who will make financial or healthcare decisions on the behalf of someone who cannot do so independently.

Whether your closed ones are amongst these population's group, or you are a caretaker who is caring for a disabled, it's critical to understand these legal concerns and the laws are put in place to protect you. This guide is designed to provide information about what legal concerns disabled individuals might face, and how to address them appropriately if these rights are violated.

Legal Considerations and Resources for those with Developmental Disabilities/ special needs:

If you are in the role of caring for someone with developmental delays or cognitive disabilities, or if you have one of these diagnoses yourself, finding legal help is not always easy. Before you can seek legal services, you must first understand some of the concerns facing people in these demographics. Families affected by developmental disabilities need to be prepared for problems like:

  • Profiling and Discrimination - Everyone, from educators and employers to law enforcement, can be guilty of this problem. It's common for individuals with autism, for instance, to be incarcerated for resisting arrest because their special needs are not recognized at the time of the arrest. The autistic behaviors are viewed as resisting arrest, when better acceptance of the person's disability would put the behavior in a different light.
  • Bullying - Children and adults, especially those who are higher functioning but still struggling with delays and disabilities, may be bullied by their peers or any teacher/ staffs in school or in similar places. Sometimes an attorney/ advocate needs to get involved to put a stop to the bullying.
  • Employer Discrimination. While sometimes difficult to prove, employer discrimination against those with cognitive disabilities does exist. Often these applicants will be overlooked when a job opening is advertised, even though minimal accommodations would allow them to be productive employees.
  • Improper Education - Disabled children are given the right to get education that's as equal as possible to that of their peers, but sometimes schools aren't complying with this. Parents may have to get an attorney/ advocate on board to help insist on the proper education for their special needs children.
  • Getting Proper Services. Finally, disabled individuals and parents of disabled children sometimes struggle to get the services they need that are provided through the government, such as speech or occupational therapy.
  • Getting Disability Benefits. Disability benefits can help those with developmental disabilities have the income they need to pay for daily living needs, as well as insurance, but sometimes proving developmental or cognitive disabilities and qualifying for these programs is difficult.
  • Getting Guardianship. As an individual with developmental disabilities nears adulthood, it may be necessary for parents, siblings, or other loved ones to petition the courts for guardianship status, particularly if the disability makes it impossible for the individual to live independently.

No Matter the Disability, Understand Your Rights!

No matter the type of disability, including age-related disabilities, it's critical to understand your legal rights. Unfortunately, disabled individuals are often the victims of discrimination and fraud. Whether you are an indicial with a disability or are caring for disabled loved one, know where you can turn for legal services, so you can take every precaution to protect your rights and the rights of those you love.

Soulful Steps is here to guide you with legal advisory services.