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

Over 40 therapists, doctors and other practitioners, who serve people with special needs spoke with parents at the fair. The experts included speech therapists, occupational and physical therapists, social skills coaches, ABA therapists and cognitive therapists, among others.

“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.” 

Sign Up for E-News

The goal is to help, Liz Kinstlinger, advisor at Mass Mutual, Special Care Department, said.

“If I can help as many people as possible. ...If they come today and I can answer a few questions, then I’m here,” Kinstlinger said.

Live entertainment, including a Michael Jackson impersonator and a music therapist, was featured, along with special needs trick-or-treating. Children also enjoyed 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 6-year-old with special needs.