SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ - The Special Needs Parenting Group of the JCC will be presenting a special program by Hillary Freeman called “How to Prepare for Your Child’s IEP” on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m.

“My son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 9 months old,” said Julie Steinberg, head of the Special Needs Parenting Group. “When we moved here last year I decided to help re-create a similar group that I belonged to where we used to live.”

Steinberg went on to describe the process that parents of special needs children have to go through when it comes to figuring out an educational path,  that includes the creation of an IEP (Individual Education Plan).

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The IEP describes how the student learns, and what teachers and service providers will do to help the student learn more effectively. Key considerations include how the disability affects the student’s learning, developing goals and objectives that correspond to the needs of the student.

“It can be overwhelming if you have a special needs child and you have to deal with the education system for the first time. You don’t know what the procedures are and you don’t know who all these people are around the table and there is no one to hold your hand and walk you through the process,” said Steinberg.

Presenter Hillary Freeman is a special education attorney who is deeply committed to her work representing people with disabilities and their families. As the sister of a man with autism, she is able to combine personal experiences with her legal training to help families advocate for services and supports.

“Hillary has agreed to speak with parents one on one between 9 a.m. and 9:30. If you are a parent who wants to have a 10 minute session prior to the presentation please e-mail me at to book a spot,” said Steinberg.   

“This seminar will cover the best practices of parents of children with special needs at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels , with tips on how to best prepare for your child's IEP (Individualized Education Program),” said Steinberg.