Making a Difference for Special Education Surrogate Parents
We want to thank the Federation for Children with Special Needs for inviting us to give a presentation at the 5th Annual Making a Difference Conference in Marlboro, Massachusetts, on November 15. This conference was sponsored by the Recruitment, Training, and Support Center of the Federation. The RTSC trains volunteers to become Special Education Surrogate Parents for children who are in the custody of the Department of Children and Families in Massachusetts.
Our presentation, Writing Effective IEP Goals, was for Special Education Surrogate Parents, Foster Parents, teachers, and social workers. Jane Crecco, Project Director of RTSC, asked us to give this presentation with a focus on helping students with social, emotional, and behavioral needs. We are pleased that we could be part of this conference to help children with special needs. We think the Federation does an amazing job helping parents and children.
After our presentation we signed copies of our book and met many wonderful parents and professionals.
Run/Walk for Autism
We had a great time at the 11th Annual Run/Walk for Autism at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Proceeds went to fund local programs of the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC). We enjoyed talking to parents and signing copies of our book at our table in the vendor’s area. Congratulations to all who helped make this event such a success.
The Parent Connection in Duxbury
On March 24 we gave our presentation, Empowering Parents in Special Education, to parents at the Duxbury (MA) Free Library. We would like to thank The Parent Connection, Westwinds Bookshop, and the Duxbury Free Library for inviting us. We especially enjoyed the question and answer session after the presentation, and talking with the many parents who came.
Visions of Community
On March 7, we gave a presentation with Attorney Eileen M. Hagerty at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston for the Federation for Children with Special Needs annual conference, Visions of Community. The three of us spoke about how parents and attorneys can work together to achieve a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for their children, based on our personal experience of working together on two hearing requests. Too often parents don’t know the legal steps that unfortunately are sometimes needed to achieve FAPE. Our presentation went over due process as it applies to special education and how parents can find and work with a special education attorney. Over 50 people came to hear our presentation and we had a robust question and answer session afterwards followed by a book signing. Thanks to all who came.
The Commonwealth Learning Center
On February 24, we were at the Commonwealth Learning Center in Needham, MA, to give our presentation on Empowering Parents in Special Education. We would like to thank Cecile Selwyn, the director, for hosting us, as well as the parents who braved the cold and snow to be there and who provided a wide ranging and informative discussion afterwords.
The Ely Center
On December 1, we talked about Empowering Parents in Special Education at the Ely Center (84 Rowe Street, Auburndale, MA 02466). We’d like to thank Pamela Ely for inviting us. We enjoyed meeting all the parents and staff who came and provided a stimulating discussion afterwards.
Here are some photos from that night:
On October 16, we gave a presentation and had a book signing at Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents. NESCA is a private pediatric neuropsychology group practice in Newton, Massachusetts established in 2007 by Dr. Ann Helmus. We have a long history with NESCA, going back to 2005, having worked with neuropsychologist Jason McCormick and transition specialist Sandy Storer, so it was a warm and comfortable “homecoming” for us. Many people who were critical to the success of our book were in attendance, like Jason McCormick, Elsa Abele, Pamela Ely, and Noreen Curran. We were glad they could join us that night along with many parents who came to hear us talk. It was a pleasure to see everyone that night.
On October 1, we gave a presentation on “Empowering Parents in Special Education” and signed copies of our book at Academy MetroWest, in Natick, MA. Academy MetroWest is an independently owned activity group therapy program that has been helping children and their families since 1994. Following the presentation was a good group discussion with the parents who attended. Thanks to Bruce Sabian and Gary Steinberg, the directors, for inviting us and to all those who came.
The National Autism Conference in Indianapolis was an exciting event for us. We want to thank Stephanie DeMuzio of JKP Sales and Marketing for arranging a book signing for us on July 24. We met many wonderful parents and educators who stopped by to speak with us about special education.
The National Autism Society, located in Bethesda, Maryland, organized this conference and approximately 1,000 people attended from all over the country. Dr. Temple Grandin, keynote speaker, gave a dynamic speech entitled “The Autistic Brain.” She spoke about the challenges she has faced in her life and how she overcame them with the help of her mother. She also discussed the importance of transition planning for young adults with autism and how communities need to help them succeed in the work force in order to be productive adults.
There were many interesting presentations on a wide variety of
topics. One of the most impressive was given by JKP author Jennifer Cook O’Toole, whose session was titled “See-through Eggshells and Chalk on the Trampoline: Building Extraordinary People Through Ordinary Stuff.” Jennifer is a talented and charismatic speaker overflowing with ideas for developing the interests, curiosity, and sense of fun in children and teens with Asperger’s Syndrome. Her presentation was inspiring! Meeting her and hearing her talk was a highlight of the conference for us.
Below are some pictures from the conference.
Many thanks to Dania Jekel, Stephanie Loo, and all the participants who attended our presentation at the headquarters of the Asperger’s Association of New England on May 10. After the formal part of our presentation, there was a very lively discussion about the various aspects of special education. We enjoyed meeting everyone, hearing about their experiences, and contributing our insights.
A recent visit to celebrate the launch of our book with our friends at Kotin Crabtree & Strong LLP:
The Visions of Community 2014 Conference in Boston was a great event on March 8! It was held at the Seaport World Trade Center on the Boston waterfront. This is an annual conference organized by the Federation for Children with Special Needs in Boston for families of children with special needs and the professionals who serve them.
There were workshops throughout the day on a variety of topics such as improving IEPs, the transition to adult life, special education law, and many others. The exhibition hall featured dozens of organizations, schools, and businesses that service the special needs community.
It was a pleasure for us to meet all the parents and professionals who stopped by our table to chat and have their books signed. We want to thank Richard Robison, Executive Director of the Federation, for inviting us to be part of this exciting event.
Carson and Judith