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Transportation Survey for People with Autism and their Families!

The Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) and Rutgers University’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) are conducting a joint research study for the New Jersey Department of Health and the New Jersey Governor's Council for the Medical Research and Treatment of Autism. This study is intended to provide a broader, more comprehensive understanding of the transportation needs of New Jersey adults on the autism spectrum, and to identify the barriers that routinely prevent these needs from being successfully met.

The CAIT/VTC study, in the form of a confidential

Guidance on Effective Communication for Students with Disabilities

This guidance addresses the rights of public elementary and secondary students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities to effective communication. Issued jointly by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Justice, the guidance is intended to help schools understand and comply with federal legal requirements on meeting the communication needs of students with disabilities. The guidance is issued in the form of a letter to educators (available in Spanish) and includes a Frequently Asked Questions document and a fact sheet for parents (also available in Spanish).

Find the

Innovative Evidence Based Supports for Immigrant Families Served by FQHCs Evaluation & Key Findings

New findings from SPAN show the ISG III program was successful at improving rates of early and developmental screening, medical home implementation, and care coordination at three Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s) in New Jersey that serve families of primarily Hispanic and immigrant backgrounds. In addition, the program was successful at helping parents from these communities increase their knowledge, skills, and self-confidence related to partnering with professionals in the care of their children and understanding and navigating community programs and services.

New Parent Group Listings

The START Project is excited to announce the New Parent Group Listings on the START website. Finding and connecting with special education parent groups in your region is now easy. Complete our web form to list your new parent group. Email the Parent Group Specialist for your region to request to update your group information. Please help us to promote our new Parent Group Listings release and share it with your networks.

Contact the START Project for assistance in starting and running a parent group. Email or call 973-642-SPAN (ext. 123)

Welcome Our NEW Disproportionality Specialist

Join us in welcoming Michele Tyler, our new Disproportionality Specialist.  Michele will leads SPAN's newest program focused on empowering parents as partners and advocates in addressing the disproportionate representation of children of color in special education. Disproportionality refers to the “over-representation” or “under-representation” of a particular racial group in special education programs in comparison to other groups.

Prevent Bad Behavior in Schools. Don't Punish It!

The Council of State Governments Justice Center released a nationwide study yesterday entitled The School Discipline Consensus Report that suggests that school officials focus on improving the learning environment rather than spending so much time dwelling on how to react to bad behavior.  The study also shares a set of tools, which can be used to minimize reactive punishment and maximize preventing bad behavior before it happens.  Read more > > >

Source:  The Justice Center, Council of State Governments.  June 9, 2014

Seven Questions Every Parent Should Ask about Disproportionality

Source:  National Education Association

Parents, caregivers, and community members, working with their local schools, should ensure that students who are culturally and linguistically diverse receive an excellent and appropriate education.  These questions are designed to help parents and others address disproportionality -- the over- and underrepresentation of culturally and linguistically diverse children (CLD) in special education and gifted and/or talented programs.  Read more . . . 

Help identify needs for NJ's Maternal and Child Health Needs Assessment!

Did you know that the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant helps to fund county Special Child Health Services Case Management Units and SPAN Family Resource Specialists, child evaluation centers, efforts to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes, NJ Statewide Parent to Parent and Family Voices NJ, HIV support services, and a host of other critical services and supports for NJ's children and families?  The NJ Department of Health is collecting input from families, agencies, professionals, etc. to hear your feedback about these and other important programs!

Celebrate Children's Mental Health Awareness!

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week is May 5-10, and National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is May 8.  The National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health's theme for 2014 is "Building A Circle of Wellness."  This year, join the FFCMH, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and SPAN in working to debunk myths, spread awareness, and promote positive mental health and overall health for all of our children.  

Connect to FFCMH and SAMHSA activities in your community.  Also, check out the NAMI parent guide on integrating mental

US Dept. of Ed. Unveils New Framework for Family-School Partnership

Source:  Institute for Educational Leadership, April 8, 2014

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the release of the Department's new framework for family and community engagement during the opening plenary of IEL's  National Family and Community Engagement Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Developed with the assistance of IEL board member and Harvard Professor Dr. Karen Mapp, the Dual Capacity Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships is designed to spark a focus on developing adult capacity, whether through pre- and in-service professional development for educators;