Health & Wellness

Special Needs Caregivers Gain Valuable Insight at West Orange Resource Expo

addf00a7ef1b0629387c_WP_20171116_19_24_00_Pro.jpg
A dance and exercise instructor at Dance Warriors shows the attendees some of the moves he teaches children with special needs. Credits: Alan Grossman
f97ecf50a9cc20210e58_WP_20171116_19_36_27_Pro.jpg
Ann Marie Sullivan, CEO of Spectrum Works, discusses how the program provides job training for individuals with autism. Credits: Alan Grossman
71a6c9390e45bafbd123_WP_20171116_19_47_26_Pro.jpg
David Giles, Esq. and Rebecca Rosenfeld, Esq., speak about how the David Giles Law Offices provides legal help to families with special needs children.  Credits: Alan Grossman
addf00a7ef1b0629387c_WP_20171116_19_24_00_Pro.jpg

WEST ORANGE, NJ – In order to help parents and caregivers who often find it frustrating to advocate for their own child with special needs, whether it be for additional educational support or job training, the West Orange Special Education Parents Advisory Committee (WOSEPAC) sponsored its first Resource Expo on Thursday at Edison Middle School.

Those who attended the expo heard representatives from numerous special needs advocacy and counseling groups, lawyers who specialize in this area, a group that trains young adults with autism for employment, and groups that provide recreational and social outlets for this population.

The program began with welcoming remarks by Xavier Fitzgerald, principal of Edison Middle School, who said his daughter is benefiting from being in a special education program, and Gina Velazquez, resource chair of WOSEPAC.

Sign Up for E-News

“I’m proud to introduce all of the representatives here tonight who offer wonderful programs to children and young adults who live in West Orange,” said Velazquez.

First to present was Dance Warriors, which showcased two of its exercise/dance instructors who work with special needs children. Lisa Charles, of Dance Warriors, said this group’s Special Warriors Program includes classes such as Zumba, yoga and music therapy for children six years and up who have special needs.

Ann Marie Sullivan, CEO of Spectrum Works, spoke about her non-profit organization provides a job training and employment program for young adults with autism. She explained that trainees work alongside Spectrum Works job coaches and partner-company mentors to develop professional skills.

“Trainees are integrated into positions with a range of low and high skilled tasks that provide employment opportunities to individuals across the autism spectrum,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan added that Spectrum Works is now working with two companies that are committed to its model, and are a “supportive, inclusive environment for young adults with autism.” The companies are Green Distribution, a large screen-printing company, and Rent the Runway, an online dress rental service. To learn more, call 201-552-2055 or email info@spectrumworks.org.

Joanne De Simone spoke about the services of the Alliance of Private Special Education Schools of North Jersey, which offers a comprehensive list of resources. This includes the Find a School Tool by clicking HERE. The alliance holds an annual conference focusing on advocacy strategies and tools for parents, and it offers college scholarships to graduating high school students with disabilities.

David Giles, Esq., discussed his firm’s focus on special education issues and its commitment to “providing zealous, effective, holistic representation of students with disabilities and their families.”

He was followed by another lawyer in the firm, Rebecca Rosenfeld, who said, “It is an honor for me to represent families who have children with special needs when their rights are being denied. They are truly champions.”

Rosenfeld said she became interested in specializing in this area of the law when she saw “many young people ill served by the system, and not properly classified.”

Marisa Cohen, director of Special Needs Services of the JCC MetroWest, highlighted the agency’s Junior Sunday program for children ages 5-18.

“This program for children with disabilities is filled with arts and crafts, structured games, music therapy and recreational swim,” she said. “Participants are provided one to one support by our highly qualified staff and volunteers.”

To learn more about the JCC’s special needs programs, email mcohen@jccmetrowest.org.

The next presenter was Robin Gershon-Halpern, who provides psychological counseling and educational consultations that include helping families better cope with special education issues. She runs support groups for parents of special needs children and for siblings of special needs children.

Presentations were also made by representatives from New Horizons Day Camp, which offers flexible scheduling options to meet the needs of children with disabilities; Special Needs Advocacy Associates, which delivers support to parents through effective advocacy and collaborative relationships with schools; PASSE (Parents Advocating for Special Services in Education), which provides advocacy for parents and their families; Proud Moments ABA, a behavioral health agency that helps children with autism learn, grow and reach their highest potential; the West Orange Recreational Department, which provides year-round recreational programs for children with special needs; and the West Orange Elks, which has a Special Children’s Committee that offers an Elks S.C. Scholarship that covers the cost of attending Elks Camp Moore in Pompton Lakes (call 973-731-9177 for information).

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

$100 OFF per Week for Summer Camp Now!

July 12, 2018

Guerrero Marital Arts is now offering an 8-week summer camp for summer 2018!

Pick which weeks you want!

Camp Weeks are:

July 16, July 23, July 30, August 6, August 13, August 20, August 27

Includes the following:

Fitness
Fun (through Sports, Play and Games)
Field Trips (may cost extra)
Life Lessons
Reading Time
Martial Arts
A great place to ...

Bucco Couture Summer Sale on All Custom Suits, Shirts and Casual Wear

NUTLEY, NJ — Save while looking sharp! 20% off all summer wear an extra 10% savings for Military, Veterans and all first responders at Bucco Couture, 187 Franklin Avenue in Nutley, with the launch of some new products such as our tracksuit line, crushed cotton drawstring pants and jeans. 

We also carry Bugatchi and Rober Graham casual wear as well as stretch high V-neck ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

July 14, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters in Newark, according to one of two ordinances approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, August 15, 10:00 AM

Cancer Center Resource Room, Belleville

Living Well with Parkinson’s Disease Support ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_04cbbf122cf5df3a3091_festival_b

Sat, August 25, 2:00 PM

Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center (OSPAC), West Orange

LE PIQUE NIQUE WINE & MUSIC FESTIVAL

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

West Orange PAL Spring Travel Baseball Teams Wrap Up (Championship Team Photos Included)

The West Orange PAL Spring Travel Baseball season started with a cold front. Practices began indoors in January with teams practicing two nights a week working on conditioning and baseball fundamentals. Once the snow had melted teams began battling the cold and working outdoors, with three or four practices a week in addition to their games. 

And the hard work and dedication paid off! All ...

Public Invited to Essex County Opioid Use Prevention Task Force Meeting

July 15, 2018

CALDWELL, NJ — All Essex County residents, mayors and councils, law enforcement members, school officials, clergy members, civic organizations and more are invited to join in the next Essex County Opioid Use Prevention Task Force meeting on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss how the Essex County communities can join work together to eradicate this epidemic.

The meeting will be held at the ...

Would Shedding

How much wood wouldn’t a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck woodn’t?

 

Enough already.  

 

I get it.  It is an easy mistake to make, misusing would and wouldn’t.  It happens to me all the time.

 

“Honey, when I said I didn’t see any reason why I would go to the ballet, I meant to say I couldn’t see ...