Our very own principal was a featured contributor in Ontario ASCD's spring/summer 2016 newsletter. Read all about how Connecting Math Concepts uses instructional scaffolding and visual supports to build mathematical skills.
If you have a child with a disability, you have probably thought a lot about their financial future. Your child may need lifelong care, and eventually the time will come when you will be unable to care for them yourself. You should have an up-to-date Will when you are planning your estate and there are some options that you can consider in order to best provide for your child.
As your child becomes as adult, they are eligible to apply for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) which can provide your child with money for their basic needs, and depending on their living situation, a shelter allowance. The program can also provide health benefits and disability-related support, including drug coverage, dental coverage, and vision care. ODSP will provide your child with a monthly cheque that they can spend on their needs. Unfortunately, this program may not provide enough of a financial contribution to adequately provide for your child’s care, depending on their individual situation.
When planning your estate, you may want to leave additional monetary funds for your child’s care. However, you must carefully consider your options if your child does receive ODSP. Part of the criteria for eligibility of ODSP is that a person must have insufficient means of income and assets to support themselves. All assets are included when determining eligibility and these assets can include cash, RRSPs, trust funds, etc. A viable option for keeping your child’s ODSP intact is establishing a Henson Trust.
A trust is an arrangement whereby assets are held, or entrusted, by one party for the benefit of another. The holding party is you or someone you choose, or the trustee, while the benefitting party is your child, or the beneficiary. A Henson Trust is an Absolute Discretionary Trust whereby the trustee is given absolute discretion as to when and how the funds it contains are used. This means that the beneficiary cannot compel payments from the trustee. The Henson Trust is named for Leonard Henson, who had a daughter with a developmental disability who had support through the Family Benefits Act, the precursor to ODSP. Mr. Henson wished to provide extra monetary funds for his daughter’s care but did not want to impact her social assistance which she relied on. If he were to have left his estate to her outright, she would be disqualified from receiving her disability benefits because those funds would be considered assets. Instead, in his Will, he established an Absolute Discretionary Trust for her.
Because the trustee has total control over the trust, any funds placed in a Henson Trust are not considered property of the beneficiary. This therefore leaves all ODSP benefits intact and allows for your child to receive extra money when necessary. Please keep in mind that is it very important to set up a Henson Trust in compliance with all elements because any discrepancies could lead to ODSP benefits being temporarily stopped or revoked.
This blog should not be considered to be advice, but rather general information. Please consult with your financial or legal advisor when estate planning to determine if this is the right option for you and your family.
Zig Engelmann was a pioneer in education. He developed the Direct Instruction (DI) method, which we have used in our school and clinic since we opened more than a decade ago. We have always been equally astonished by its clever design and its efficacy. Many educators in the publicly funded school system criticize the very structure of DI programs that ensures student success. The social philosophy of the principal DI authors that underpins the methodology makes an even stronger case for widespread DI implementation.
Direct Instruction’s Sense of Responsibility to Children
From: Engelmann, S., & Carnine, D. (1991). Theory of Instruction: Principles and applications. Eugene, OR: ADI Press
If we are humanists, we begin with the obvious fact that the children we work with are perfectly capable of learning anything that we have to teach. We further recognize that we should be able to engineer the learning so that it is reinforcing – perhaps not “fun.” but challenging and engaging. We then proceed to do it – not to continue talking about it. We try to control those variables that are potentially within our control so that they facilitate learning. We design the program, train the teacher, work out a reasonable daily schedule, monitor the implementation, and leave NOTHING TO CHANCE.
We monitor and respond quickly to problems. We respond quickly and effectively because we consider the problems moral and we conceive of ourselves as providing a uniquely important function – particularly for those children who would most certainly fail without our concerted help. We function as advocates for the children, with the understanding that if we fail, the children will be seriously prompted from doing things with their lives, such as having important career options and achieving some potential values for society. We should respond to inadequate teaching as we would to problems of physical abuse. Just as our sense of humanity would not permit us to allow child abuse in the physical sense, we should not tolerate it in the cognitive setting.
We should be intolerant of academic failure because we know what can be achieved if the children are taught appropriately. We know that the intellectual crippling of the children is causes overwhelming by faulty instruction – not by faulty children.
This call for humanity can be expressed on two levels. On the level of society: Let’s stop wasting incredible human potential through unenlightened practices and theories.
On the level of children: Let’s recognize the incredible potential for being intelligent and creative possessed by even the least impressive children and, with unyielding passion, let’s pursue the goal of assuring that this potential becomes reality.