“Self Advocacy & Disclosure for People with Disabilities”

October 3rd at 7pm at the West Middle School Auditorium

At some point in our lives everyone has to advocate for their own needs and disclose the reasons why. On Thursday, October 3, Dr. Stephen Shore, President Emeritus of the Aspergers Association of New England, will present a workshop focused on enabling persons with autism and other conditions to reach their potential for leading fulfilling and productive lives in employment, education, relationships, interdependent living, and in the community. Beginning with a definition of self-advocacy and a process for considering disclosure, participants will learn the importance of gaining self-awareness, communication skills, and procedures to effectively educate people with disabilities on obtaining accommodations and greater mutual understanding.
Dr. Stephen Shore was diagnosed with "Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies" and "too sick" for outpatient treatment Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism.
In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Stephen presents and consults internationally on adult issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure as discussed in his books Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Ask and Tell: Selfadvocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum, the critically acclaimed Understanding Autism for Dummies, and the newly released DVD Living along the Autism Spectrum: What it means to have Autism or Asperger Syndrome.
President emeritus of the Aspergers Association of New England and former board member of the Autism Society, Dr. Shore serves on the boards of the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, the Autism Services Association, and other autism related organizations. Please join us on Thursday, October 3 at 7pm at the West Middle School Auditorium for this informative presentation.
Dr. Shore’s workshop is sponsored by Olivia’s Organics Thank you!

“College Planning for Students with LDs”

October 17th at 7pm at West Middle School Auditorium

How does a student with a learning disability approach the college search process? What should you be looking for from the High School to help you through this process? How do you find the colleges that offer the right services to assist your student in becoming a successful college graduate? When and how does your student disclose their disability to the college? Does the learning support offered cost extra?
On Thursday, October 17, these questions will be answered by a panel of experts including the AHS Special Education Department Head and representatives from a number of local institutions including Landmark College, Middlesex Community College, Dean College and Westfield State University.
There are also other events in the area for all students interested in higher education. Keep your eyes out for AHS Guidance Events posted in the AHS Daily Bulletins at www.aps1.net: such as: The College Planning / Admissions Process - September, January & February The Financial Aid Process – October
AHS Guidance & AHS Special Education Dept. can also provide documents navigating the application process, test taking opportunities, scholarships and support options available for your student. Questions? Please contact Regina Kelly at rckqueen@verizon.net

“Basic Rights in Special Education”

November 14 at 7pm in the School Administration Building, 36 Bartlet Street, 3rd floor conference room

The Basic Rights Workshop, will be presented on Thursday, November 14 at 7pm in the School Administration Building, 36 Bartlet Street, 3rd floor conference room, and will provide families with an introduction to their rights and responsibilities under:
* Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA),
* Massachusetts Special Education Law, and
* No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
This workshop, presented by Ellen J. Hutt from the Federation for Children with Special Needs, is designed to help parents learn to be effective partners with their child’s school in order to decide their child’s eligibility for special education and to plan, make decisions and monitor their child’s progress in school.

“The Goal Driven IEP—A Parent’s Guide to Asking the Right Questions”

January 9th at 7pm at West Middle School Auditorium

Please join us on Thursday, January 9 at 7pm at West Middle School Auditorium for an informative talk about your child’s IEP presented by Dr. David Stember. Topics covered will include:
• Specific items and wording parents should ask for in their child’s IEP.
• Common mistakes seen in ineffective IEP plans.
• How to ask for specific goals, approaches and outcome measures that will be sensitive to whether progress is being made.
• Common best practice approaches to address learning needs, social pragmatics, organizational skills and behavior/emotional problems (i.e., What to ask for, how to define it and how would you know that progress is occurring).
There will be time for a question and answer period.
Dr. Stember holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and maintains faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital. He is a recognized expert in cognitive behavioral and exposure-based therapies for anxiety, learning, ADHD and behavioral disorders. Dr. Stember has given grand rounds presentations, trained educators and consults to a variety of districts throughout New England. He is the prior Director of Behavioral Medicine at North Shore Children’s Hospital, and maintains private practice offices in Salem and Arlington, MA. He can be contacted at his Salem office at (978)-745-6555.

“Transition - All Levels”

Wednesday, March 26th from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Conference Room B, 3rd Floor of the School Administration Building, 36 Bartlet Street

Director of Student Services Joyce Laundre, and her staff will discuss the procedures in place to ensure smooth transitions for students and families as they move up to the next level within the Andover School District (preschool to elementary, elementary to middle school and middle school to high school). Staff from each school as well as SEPAC members will be available to answer questions.

“Planning for the Future of Your Child with Special Needs”

February 6 at 7pm at the AHS Library

Join Financial Consultant Dave Harmon ChFC, CLU, MBA of AXA Advisors, LLCI for this important workshop that will cover a variety of issues affecting your child’s future including:

- Benefit Government Eligibility for Important Programs, such as SSI, SSDI, Mass- Health, CommonHealth, and Medicare
- Recent Changes to MA Guardianship Procedures
- Considerations when selecting a guardian of trustee Planning for the Future of Your Child with Special Needs
- General Estate Planning Concepts and Special Needs Trusts
- Special Needs Trust Administration Issues
- How to properly fund a special needs trust to provide lifetime quality care
- Building a Planning Team and Maximizing Community Based Resources
- Providing Life Time Care and Quality of Life

“My Child Has A Mood Disorder—What Do I Need to Know?”

March 6 at 7pm in the AHS Library

On March 6, Andover Public Schools consulting psychiatrist Dr. Jeff Bostic will lead a presentation focused on gaining a better understanding of Mood Disorders, including Bipolar Disorder and Depression. Dr. Bostic will provide relevant medical and biological information, as well as advice about positive parenting practices which will help your child with mood regulation. Part of the conversation will include the effect that this challenging medical problem has on the entire family, and on parent- child interactions. In addition, this will be an excellent opportunity to get your questions answered about how to be an effective advocate for your child with the schools, and with medical providers.
Jeff Q. Bostic, M.D., Ed.D. is a nationally known expert on child psychiatry and schools. He has consulted in the Andover Public Schools for the past fifteen years, as well as in other school districts around the country. Dr. Bostic is Director of School Psychiatry for Massachusetts General Hospital, an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry for Harvard Medical School, and is the Medical Director for the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project. In collaboration with the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Institute at MGH, Dr. Bostic helped to launch a free website (www.schoolpsychiatry.org) to assist families, educators, and clinicians with mental health issues in the school environment.

“Transition 101—High School to Adulthood”

April 10 at 7pm at AHS Library

On Thursday, April 10 at 7pm in the AHS Library, Elizabeth Bostic from the Federation for Children with Special Needs will present a workshop that addresses effective use of the IEP and the Massachusetts Transition Planning Form for students who are ages 14-22.
Individualized, person centered planning of curriculum and supports throughout high school leads to better post high school outcomes and opportunities in education, training, and/or employment for students with disabilities. Discussion includes age of majority, self-determination and self-advocacy, life skill development and preparing students to pursue as independent an adult life as possible.

“Mary French Yellow Rose Award”

May 21 at the Wood Hill Middle School Auditorium at 7pm

Leaders in education are frequently hard found and unsung. Mary French, who held the positions of Andover Selectperson and Director of Pupil Personnel, was truly such a leader, breaking ground in the delivery of special education and the inclusion of the whole child in service delivery. It is in her memory that, since 2002, the Andover Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC) has sponsored the Mary French Yellow Rose Award to recognize like leaders in special education.
As Director of Pupil Personnel, Mary French led a group of Andover teachers and parents on a field trip to visit the Glastonbury school system to observe programs designed to improve delivery of service to special needs children. Educators whose contributions provided improved programming, as well as a more inclusive environment for special education students were acknowledged for their work with a yellow rose that would “mysteriously” be found on their desk. Thus the yellow rose became a symbol of excellence and the seed for the Mary French Yellow Rose Award was planted.
The Andover SEPAC understands the importance of acknowledging and recognizing those who work with distinction and go above and beyond to improve the quality of the education our children receive. We encourage you to join us in this and to nominate the individuals that have made a difference in your life or the life of your student. The guidelines for nominees follow.

The nominee can be a special needs teacher, a regular education teacher, an instructional assistant, a coach, a therapist, or any other employee of the Andover Public School System. In your nomination letter, please provide examples of how the nominee demonstrates the following characteristics:
  1. The nominee consistently provides the opportunity for the student to access both academic and recreational Regular Ed programs in a meaningful way.
  2. The nominee is a true collaborator, working well with parents and teachers alike. He or she is a team player.
  3. The nominee embraces change and is willing to take risks in order to improve upon current educational policies.
  4. The nominee works with the team to provide a vision for the student and uses the educational process to achieve these goals.

Nominations should be submitted in the form of a letter stating why this individual should be considered and, if possible, detailing how this individual made a difference. They should be submitted to Joyce Laundre, Director of Student Services, by mail to 36 Bartlett St. in care of Colleen Sheehan or by e-mail to CSheehan@aps1.net. We will not be accepting nominations through the school principals or individual SEPAC members. The deadline is March 14, 2014. All nominees will be honored and the Mary French Yellow Rose Award will be presented at a ceremony on May 21, 2014 at the Wood Hill Middle School Auditorium. Any questions please contact Sharon Mason at sharonzmason@gmail.com