SPRINGFIELD, NJ -- Thera-Palooza, a special needs therapy fair, was held here recently at the Hilton Garden Inn. 

“Thera-Palooza is an experiential event for families with loved ones with special needs,” said Leslie Crowe, the founder of NeedQuest, a local directory of special needs resources, and the organizer of Thera-Palooza. “At this event, we are bringing providers and children together.” 

Over 40 therapists, doctors, and other practitioners who serve people with special needs were on hand to speak with parents. Many different types of therapists were present--speech therapists, occupational and physical therapists, social skills coaches, ABA therapists, cognitive therapists, and more.

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“If I can help as many people as possible...if they come today and I can answer a few questions, then I’m here,” said Liz Kinstlinger, Advisor at Mass Mutual, Special Care Department. 

Live entertainment, including a Michael Jackson impersonator and a music therapist, was featured, along with special needs trick-or-treating. Children could also enjoy a sensory gym and quiet activity room as parents browsed tables, discovering therapists and taking in essential new resources. 

“As a sponsor of the event, we felt it was important that parents get as much information in their hands as possible,” said Nancy Calamusa, owner of New Jersey Pediatric Feeding Associates. 

“We’ve been looking forward to coming so much because there’s so many fun activities here,” said Amy Thaler, a parent of a six-year-old with special needs. 

“This gives parents the opportunity to meet and discover new resources while entertaining their kids,” said Crowe, “and gives them something to do on a Sunday afternoon--and it’s awesome!”