Welcome Visitors and Friends

The Special Needs Advocacy Group was created by and for caregivers of children with special needs in the School District of Cheltenham Township. We are committed to providing advocacy, support, and education to create a school community in which all children are equally engaged, respected, and academically challenged.

2014 update on special education initiative implementation – Come hear from our administrators

The Special Needs Advocacy Group (SNAG) invites families to join us at the Administration Building, 2000 Ashbourne Rd, Elkins Park, Room 202, on Thursday, October 16th at 7pm to hear from Superintendant Dr. Natalie Thomas and Director of Special Education Beth Cavalier and offer your questions and comments about what is happening and what is planned for 2014-2015 in the area of special education.  Please RSVP to Cheltenhamsnag@aol.com.


This notice is to inform families of children with special needs about Medical Assistance, a program in Pennsylvania that covers children’s medical needs, and also to find families who mistakenly believe that their children no longer qualify for Medical Assistance.  It has come to our attention that the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) sent many families a letter in 2012 indicating that new policies would require families to pay for Medical Assistance.  Some of these families did not sign up for Medical Assistance the following year.  It is vital that we communicate the following facts about Medical Assistance:

  • Many families with children with special needs meet eligibility requirements for Medical Assistance regardless of family income. Children can receive all medically necessary services free of charge.  Eligible diagnoses include autism, ADHD, Tourette’s syndrome, etc.  Even families who have primary insurance can use Medical Assistance as the secondary insurer.  Covered medical services include diagnostic assessments, prescription medications, psychiatric and psychological services, applied behavioral analysis, rehabilitative care, speech, occupational and physical therapy, radiology, lab work, etc.  Expenses DO NOT have to relate to the diagnosis used to meet eligibility requirements. To find out about the program and whether your child is eligible, go to https://www.compass.state.pa.us/compass.web/CMHOM.aspx
  • In 2012, the DPW sent a letter claiming that families with Medical Assistance would have to start paying copays for medical services, in many cases equal to or greater than the benefits those families received.  As a result, some families did not sign up for Medical Assistance during the next yearly enrollment period.  In reality, families with children who meet the definition of disability are still entitled to Medical Assistance, free of charge and without copays.

If you or someone you know did not sign up for Medical Assistance or discontinued their previous coverage based on the 2012 DPW letter, there might be help available.  Please contact Marc Davies at Marc@yourchildsrights.com for information.

  •  Additional information for families with children with autism:  The Autism Insurance Act of 2008 requires private insurers in Pennsylvania to pay for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders for individuals under 21 years of age.  Required services include: diagnostic assessments of autism spectrum disorders, prescription medications, psychiatrist services, psychological services, applied behavioral analysis, rehabilitative care and speech, and occupational and physical therapy. The coverage is capped at $36,000 per individual per year. For children enrolled in Medical Assistance, the program will cover the costs that that exceed the limit. The cap will be adjusted annually based on the rate of inflation.

Navigating Intellectual Disability Services in Montgomery County

Are you interested in learning how to navigate the Intellectual Disability Services in Montgomery County?

The Office of Developmental Disabilities will be on campus, Thursday, May 8th in the Joe Rodgers Library at Cheltenham High School from 6:00- 7:30pm.

They will be there to provide you with information and answer questions regarding intake, eligibility, supports coordination and services. Refreshments will be provided.

To confirm your attendance, contact Gus Ekhardt, Coordinator of Transition Services by phone at 215.517.3709 or email at gekhardt@cheltenham.org no later than May 5th.

IEP Clinic
March 29, 2014 10:00am – 2:00pm
Sponsored by PEAC,  The Special Needs Advocacy Group (SNAG) of Cheltenham Township, & Penn State
Penn State – Abington Campus, Athletic Building 1638 Clovery Lane, Jenkintown, PA 19046

This event is absolutely free and open to families from all districts!
Work one-on-one with experts on your child’s IEP. Register soon as spaces fill quickly!


Continuing the Special Needs Conversation…

Please join the leaders of the School District of Cheltenham Township (SDCT) and the Special Needs Advocacy Group (SNAG) for the second in an ongoing series of meetings regarding students with special needs in Cheltenham schools.

Purpose:      To share the data collected during our first Special Needs Meeting in November—including key issues identified by community members—and to continue this critical conversation.

Who:        All interested members of the SDCT Community are invited, including SDCT students and alumni; parents/guardians of SDCT students (with or without special needs); school administrators, faculty and staff; district administrators; school board members; and Cheltenham residents.

When:         Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Taco dinner and childcare provided at no costRSVP REQUIRED. Please RSVP to cheltenhamsnag@aol.com or David Flaks (215-635-1897), by Friday, March 7th. Bring a dessert to share (optional).

Where:       Administration Building, 2000 Ashbourne Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027.

Format:     Roundtable discussions facilitated by SNAG and SDCT members on key topics identified during the Special Needs Meeting in November.

 Hosted by:    SDCT Administration and SNAG Advisory Board

 Thank you for your engagement in this process.  We hope to see you on March 13th!