H.A.L.O. Family Circle

H.A.L.O.’s Family Circle, in Partnership with Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Boston, also offers the Family Circle Newsletter and supports the Disabilities Resource Network.

Each month the Family Circle newsletter provides a wealth of up‐to‐date information about services, benefits, support groups, workshops, and other resources to help families meet the challenges of raising a child with disabilities. To sign up visit www.jfcsboston.org.


H.A.L.O. Helps Kids Live Joyful, Meaningful Lives At Home

Abishai, 3, has outgrown high chairs but needs support to stay upright. H.A.L.O. purchased a Firefly Go To Seat. Now he can bond with his family during meal times.
Mykala needed more activity to strengthen her legs. H.A.L.O. helped her family purchase an adaptive tricycle. She is very enthusiastic about going for a ride now.

Since H.A.L.O. helped his family obtain a Triad Imp Special Needs Tricycle, which Mason calls “Orange Crush,” he  is working hard on separating leg movements to control the bike.

When Eduardo needed this special chair to sit upright comfortably, H.A.L.O. contributed toward its purchase.

Founder’s Message - A New Program Is Introduced in H.A.L.O.’s Milestone Year

Dear Friends,

Sarah Pinshaw
The H.A.L.O. Foundation is marking a quarter century of outreach, comfort and support for children physically and socially isolated by severe neurological impairment.

Our programs have evolved as we have learned more about the impact brain devastation has on individuals and their families, and I encourage you to read about them in this report.

At this time, I am pleased to announce the inauguration of a new, non-denominational program, Sib Shops, in conjunction with our long-time partner, Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Boston.

Beginning in January we will sponsor six workshops for typically– developing siblings of children with severe neurological disabilities, to coincide with the Sunday Swim & Sing program. Sib Shops is a national program that recognizes it isn’t easy to be a brother or sister to a child with special health concerns. A licensed social worker will accompany participants on recreational adventures such as a visit to a trampoline park, and spark conversations designed to help participants to express their feelings and concerns.

There is no magic cure (yet) to reactivate or regenerate brain cells destroyed by illness, abuse, birth defect or accident. H.A.L.O. pledges its continued efforts to ease daily life for children with neurological afflictions and support for the families who are invested in their happiness.

Sincerely Yours,

Alan Pinshaw

H.A.L.O. Honored As Advocate For People With Disabilities ‘The Kids Are The Real Champions’

The H.A.L.O. Foundation was honored as  a 2017 CHAI Champions by Jewish Family & Children’s Services  of Greater Boston. Founders Gayle Pinshaw and Alan Pinshaw, M.D. , pictured with Rimma Zelfand, CEO, accepted the tribute.

The H.A.L.O. Foundation was honored as a 2017 CHAI Champions by Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Greater Boston. Founders Gayle Pinshaw and Alan Pinshaw, M.D. , pictured with Rimma Zelfand, CEO, accepted the tribute.

On November 5th the Help A Little One Foundation was recognized as a 2017 CHAI Champion for its work as an extraordinary advocate for people with disabilities.

“The H.A.L.O. Foundation provides respite services to families who greatly need a break from the job of bringing up a child with disabilities,” said Rimma Zelfand, Chief Executive Officer at Jewish Family & Children’s Service.

“We applaud H.A.L.O. for its ongoing efforts to help people with disabilities live full, meaningful lives.”

JF&CS honored 18 organizations and individuals who support and embrace individuals with disabilities, and foster their growth and independence. The biennial award is named for the agency’s most enduring program: Community Housing and Adult Independence. H.A.L.O. first partnered with JF&CS in 1999 to offer the Family Circle program.

Initially the goal was to establish a “circle of friends” for at-home caregivers of children with neurological challenges. The Sunday Swim & Sing respite program was born when it became clear that the families were desperate for a break from their demanding responsibilities.

Laurie Gershkowitz, parent of a participant for the past three years, said Swim & Sing is “a huge help” to her family, It combines two of her son Jake’s passions, swimming and music, and offers a “typical” experience not widely available for people with disabilities.

“He loves this activity and looks forward to it. His siblings go off to their activities and Jake has something special of his own.”

For 25 years the H.A.L.O. Foundation has strived to enhance quality of life for children with neurological disease, said Founder Alan Pinshaw. By extending our umbrella to support caregivers of medically fragile children at home, it makes everyone’s life better.

Co-founder Gayle Pinshaw appreciates the recognition but said: “We don’t feel like we are champions. The kids who have to struggle on a day to day basis with their disabilities are the champions.”

Learn more about Sunday Swim & Sing. For information on JF&CS please visit www.jfcsboston.org.

H.A.L.O. CAN Addresses Complex Issues

H.A.L.O.’s legal initiative, the Children’s Advisory Network (CAN) was barely off the ground in 2010 when a family that was in imminent danger of losing services for their child asked for help.

With just one day remaining for an appeal, a volunteer lawyer prepared a letter of advocacy that made the Massachusetts Department of Health aware of important information, and the child’s eligibility was restored.

“Disability law and advocacy are very specialized,” said H.A.L.O. Founder Alan Pinshaw, M.D. “Even highly educated individuals can struggle with the system, and language or cultural mores can further interfere with understanding.”

H.A.L.O. CAN was established in 2010 to help families navigate the complex regulations governing care of people with disabilities in Massachusetts.

The goals are to help families and guardians of children with severe neurological impairment to:

  • Understand and file forms at appropriate times, including guardianship and other complicated paperwork
  • Provide emergency legal services when necessary, including appeals on denials of expensive medications, medical devices, or short term stays in nursing homes
  • Obtain legal advice in matters affecting their child's care

H.A.L.O. board members Rebecca L. Dalpe, and Arthur Sneider, both attorneys, are part of a group that responds to legal questions as needed.

“When a regulatory body denies benefits children are legally entitled to, we help families challenge these decisions,” Becky Dalpe explained.

“Our job is to highlight the pertinent medical records and to obtain supporting letters from medical providers to clarify misunderstandings that may have led to denial of services.”

Families can be overwhelmed by their child’s disabilities, or they find these quasi-legal issues too complex to deal with on their own, she explained.

Some families also worry that an appeal will cause termination of other services.

"H.A.L.O. CAN is here to help,” Becky said. “My pro bono work for CAN on behalf of families is incredibly gratifying.”

Most of her recent assistance has involved Department of Public Health denials for short term respite stays at nursing homes.

Becky’s private law practice includes medical malpractice defense, health care law and representation of medical professionals before regulatory boards, agencies and committees.

H.A.L.O. CAN volunteers are licensed, experienced professionals who specialize in Massachusetts disability and advocacy law. There is no fee for families who qualify. If family needs exceed the volunteer capacity, a list of law firms that specialize in advocacy for children with complex neurological and physical conditions is available.

Families can contact H.A.L.O. CAN through the administrator of their child's pediatric facility or visit WWW.HALO.ORG

Dan Applauds H.A.L.O.’s Legacy

As I reflect on H.A.L.O.’s 25 years of service, I am reminded of the Hebrew term "Tikkun Olam", which literally means "repair of the world."

We have all experienced our share of sickness, death, and disappointment. H.A.L.O.’s legacy is a reminder of our ability to transform.

Let us shine light into darkness, turn bitter to sweet, and repair the broken pieces of the world around us.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to H.A.L.O over the years, and a special thank you to my father for 25 years of tireless commitment to H.A.L.O's mission and success!

Julia Remembers

When H.A.L.O. started 25 years ago, I don't think anyone could have predicted this level of success.

I'm so proud of the hard work contributed to H.A.L.O. by so many but particularly by my parents. When Sarah got sick, they had every right to curl up and shut down, but instead they chose to turn their own pain into an opportunity to improve life for others.

The number of lives touched by H.A.L.O. is a testament to their ongoing strength, love and dedication. I feel very proud and privileged to be affiliated with H.A.L.O.