August 2019 Newsletter

Advocacy Watch

Back To School Tips: The beginning of a school year can be an exciting yet stressful time for students and families. Below are some suggestions and resources to help make sure this school year is successful.

• Parents and students should review the IEP or 504 plan. Parents include your children as much as possible in this process. This will help empower them to be good self-advocates and learn further about their accommodations and services.
• Building relationships with school staff is critical to student success. Parents and students should take the opportunity to meet teachers either during an ‘open-house’ session or make an appointment with the staff. This can be an opportunity to develop a relationship with the school staff and ask questions.
• Do not underestimate the power of being positive about the new school year. Take the opportunity to start a new school year and a new page with team members.
• Communication is another key to success to developing positive relationships. Being respectful and professional will help you get the services you or your child may need.
• Stay up to date on educational progress. Progress report time arrives quickly. This is an opportunity to assess how the IEP or 504 plan is working and an opportunity to ask questions if something is unclear.
• When in doubt, request an IEP or 504 meeting to address concerns.

You can find more education resources on our website.

Make Your Voice Heard

Have you filled out our survey yet? P&A needs to hear from you. Please take a few minutes complete our priorities and goals survey.

Welcome Aboard

P&A is excited to welcome four new staff members this summer.

Samantha Favor an Advocate for the Protection and Independence Team
Curtrell Gadson an Advocate for the Protection and Independence Team
Erin Haire the PAVA & Outreach Advocate for the Outreach, Information, and Referral Team
Mary McKenney an Advocate/Investigator for the Rep Payee Team
Rebekah Spannagel an Advocate for the Protection and Independence Team

Home and Community-Based Services Statewide Transition Plan public comment period

The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) will release the revised South Carolina (SC) Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Statewide Transition Plan for a public comment period beginning Aug. 12, 2019. The revisions are necessary to receive “final approval” of the Statewide Transition Plan as required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). SCDHHS wants to hear from the public about the revised South Carolina HCBS Statewide Transition Plan. Public comments must be received by 5 p.m. Sept. 13, 2019. For more information go to their website at

Staff Spotlight

Thornwell Simons has been an attorney for P&A since 2007. He works on the Protection and Independence Team.. He often goes out to prisons, psychiatric hospitals, unlicensed boarding homes, or wherever else he is needed. Thornwell loves board games and was once an Amazon Top 100 Reviewer. Thank you Thornwell for being part of the P&A team for the past 12 years!

Thornwell at the grill