News from Nearby: Public Invited to Westfield’s Special Education Awareness Expo

Dr. Robert Zambrano will speak about managing anxiety and depression at the 23rd annual Special Education Awareness Expo in Westfield. 

Westfield, NJ – Lisa Wendel, a Westfield resident and mom of twin teenage boys with special needs, discovered the Westfield Parent Teacher Committee's special education committee when her sons were just diagnosed at a young age. The parent-volunteer run committee primarily serves as a dedicated support group and information source for parents of children with special needs.

“I didn’t know where to turn,“ said Wendel. “At the time, there was very little information available, and it was a scary journey. Having a committee like this, where you could attend presentations, approach professionals and fellow parents experiencing similar issues — it was invaluable.”

Wendel has never left the group and for the past eight years has been the chair of the committee. In her role she said she gives the same support and hope to parents that she had received years earlier.

Sign Up for E-News

The commitment by Wendel and other volunteers to the special needs community will be on display at the 23rd annual Awareness Expo presented by the Westfield PTC- special education next Wednesday, March 16, at Edison Intermediate School, 800 Rahway Avenue in Westfield. Wendel and her committee have organized four educational workshops to be presented by top professional doctors, therapists and educators. The event is free and open to the public.

“The objective is to provide insight into a variety of issues that empower parents and educators to advocate for their children,” Wendel said. “We hope to raise awareness of special needs issues, as the more we educate, the more our children benefit.”

Based on research from previous expos, this year’s topics will include seminars on anxiety/depression, behavior, medication and technology. These four areas will be explored during the evening in two separate one-hour sessions, allowing the attendees to go to two of the four seminars. While all the presenters are experienced public speakers, Dr. Robert Zambrano, who will address Managing Anxiety and Depression: Practical Strategies for Home and School has drawn the biggest crowds in the past.

“Dr. Zambrano is one of the few experts in OCD/Anxiety that puts a sense of humor around issues,” said Wendel. “He has a very direct and thorough approach, with lots of credible examples.”

Technology in education is rapidly changing the landscape of how schools operate. From the use of tablets and laptops in the classroom to instant daytime communication between parents and the school, technology is making a big difference in the classroom. Specific technology that helps students with special needs become more independent will be presented at the expo. It is the sixth year that the expo has featured a workshop on technology.

“Now technology is able to put our kids on equal par,” said Wendel. “We’ve always been out there supporting the technology.”

The expo organizers are hoping to draw between 275-300 attendees from Union County and throughout New Jersey. The audience usually consists mostly of parents and professionals in special education. In addition, the expo also offers educators an opportunity to get professional development hours, satisfying their training requirements.

“The professionals come and present and I think that it really makes a difference,” said Wendel. “It’s a wonderful experience and lots of knowledge transfer.”

Pre-registration is recommended. To register, click here. For additional information, email

In addition to being a frequent contributor to TAP into Westfield, Mike Cohen is the founder/director of Throwback Sports and the sports editor for Education Update.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Wed, February 21, 7:00 PM

The Cranford Hotel (hosted by Calvary Lutheran Church), Cranford

Beer & Bible

Religions And Spirituality

Thu, February 22, 6:00 PM

UCEDC, Cranford

Next Level Business Planning

Business & Finance


Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Clark VFW : Spotlight on Joseph Horling

February’s spotlight is on Joseph Horling , Staff Sergeant US Army 1942-1946.

Joe was born in Rahway NJ on Oct 1, 1920.  He and his brother Anthony were born to Anthony Sr. and Bertha Horling .  Joe’s father was born in Munich and his mother Bertha in Austria. 

Joe enlisted in the Merchant Marines in 1942.  Eight months later, in 1943, he enlisted in the US ...

Clark's Hehnly School is “Cruisin’ Through Winter” for a Good Cause

February 17, 2018

CLARK, NJ - Over 150 students from kindergarten through fifth grade had a blast “Cruisin’ Through Winter” in the Hehnly auditorium. The 4th annual dance, organized by physical education teacher Joe Sortino, was held to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a foundation that builds awareness and raises money for childhood cancers.

Encouraging exercise for a good cause, Mr.

Jade Isle to Stay Open One More Week

February 20, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The sudden announcement that the venerable Jade Isle restaurant (158 Terrill Road in Scotch Plains) would close on Sunday evening caught many of its fans by surprise. As a result, longtime customers flocked to the eatery this weekend for one last meal. 

Not wanting to disappoint those who wanted to stop in a final time, owner Jack Lee has postponed ...

Choosing a College With the 'Right' Fit

Do you know if your child is choosing a college with the right fit?  Do you know what the right fit means or why it matters?  Take a listen to Chris Curran's latest chat about why fit matters and don't forget to check out his book College Funding Secrets.  

Check out other columns by Chris here.

Have You Talked to Your Child About the Cost of College?

Have you talked to your child about the cost of college?  Do you plan to?  Do you know why you should? Take a listen to Chris Curran's video below as he explains why the student needs to be involved in the financial conversations about college.  Check out Chris' book at College Funding Secrets.  


Check out other columns by Chris here.

Scutari vs Mahr

February 14, 2018

I read with interest in a local newspaper regarding the Union county democrat party political infighting for their “county chair” selection.  There were 2 letters juxtaposed, each one listing supporters of either Senator Scutari or Fanwood Mayor Mahr, who are the two main people vying for the “boss” position.

Although I am a democrat I am not a committee ...


AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!