Spring 2022 Norfolk SEPAC Parent Newsletter
Updated: Apr 25
What's in the Spring 2022 issue:
Upcoming Events - Sign up for our Spring photo shoot at Tangerini's!
Getting to Know SEPAC - Learn about SEPAC and see our newly elected board members - we have a couple open positions so please reach out if interested in volunteering!
Ready for summer camp?
Summer will be here before you know it! We thought we'd share some tips from Sarah Henesey, Senior Director of Inclusion and Diversity at the Hockomock Area YMCA, for selecting a camp for your child who has special needs. Feel free to share your own tips with other parents on any of our social media platforms listed here.
Look for organizations with a history of inclusive programming - Ask what their definition of Inclusion is: will the campers be in fully inclusive groups or will they be in separate groups that are integrated into the larger camp experience?
Find out what supports are available to your child - If your child requires mobility support, is the camp environment accessible? Are there behavioral limitations?
Ask about group size and staff to camper ratio in the groups - if the group size and ratio is bigger than what your child is used to, find out if the ratio can be tightened or if it is an option for you to provide the support staff for your child
Make sure you have the opportunity to complete a thorough intake interview with camp staff so plans can be made in advance, not only reactively
Ask the team if they have dedicated staff to coordinate and execute supports over the summer
Inquire about training and how inclusive strategies are shared with camp counselors
Ask what the options are for your child if they are struggling at camp
Inquire about the safety or discipline policy in the event of challenging behaviors during the camp season
Ask about ongoing camp-parent communication options and policies to promote success during the summer
In addition to these tips from Sarah Henesey at the Hockomock area YMCA, SEPAC is thrilled to share that the Norfolk Recreation Department is adding 2 inclusion counselors to their Summer Outdoor Program this Summer 2022! Registration for the program opened April 1st and we strongly encourage parents to indicate in the comments during registration if you're registering a child with special needs. One of the inclusion counselors will reach out in advance of the program to discuss your child's needs during the program.
Feature: Visual Immersion System (VIS) demo at March meeting
We were pleased to welcome Kara Morrison-Smith, speech language pathologist and Director of the School Outreach Program at Autism Care Partners/Puddingstone
Place, to provide a demonstration of the Visual Immersion System ("VIS") at our March monthly meeting. VIS was developed at Boston Children’s Hospital by Dr. Howard Shane, Director of the Autism Language Program. The VIS is an evidence-based method of enhancing communication and teaching language skills to students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities. VIS enhances, expands, and accelerates the student’s learning experience within an immersive language environment.
More information can be found at this link: https://www.autismcarepartners.com/services/visual-immersion-system/
Upcoming Meetings and Events
SEPAC General Meeting
May 5, 2022
Event Description: Join the SEPAC Board for an informal meeting to discuss upcoming programming, volunteer for event committees, or get information about how to get involved!
Location: Eaglebrook Saloon, 258 Dedham St., Norfolk, MA 02056
Spring Family Photo Sessions
Norfolk SEPAC will be offering Spring family photo sessions on Saturday, May 14th, 2022 from 1pm - 5pm. See details below and if interested, please sign up here. We plan to use funds raised from this photo shoot to promote inclusive opportunities within the town of Norfolk.
SEPAC Book of the Month
Away, written by Emil Sher and illustrated by Qin Leng
As summarized on Amazon.com:
Love shines through in the sticky notes shared between a mother and daughter in this picture book about making time for family in the midst of our busy lives.
Between work and school, homework and housework, a mother and daughter don’t always get to spend as much time together as they’d like. Add to that a little girl’s fears about leaving home for the first time, and the need to stay close through handwritten notes becomes even more important. As the camp departure date gets closer, Mom does her best to soothe her daughter’s nerves. A visit from her grandmother helps to calm her fears and convince her that she’ll have a good time, even away from her mother and beloved cat. Camp ends up being a wonderful adventure – but nothing is sweeter than a back-at-home reunion.
If you're looking for more reading recommendations, check out more of the books we love.
Support Norfolk SEPAC on Amazon Smile!
Donate as you shop! Norfolk Special Education Parent Advisory Council is now an available charity on Amazon Smile. Help us provide educational and supportive programming to the Norfolk Community by selecting us as your Amazon Smile charity at smile.amazon.com . This option is also now available inside the app in your settings!
Getting to know the Norfolk Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC)
The Norfolk SEPAC is run by Norfolk parents and provides a great support system for families with all types of needs. We offer educational presentations, resources, information on the IEP process, and opportunities for parents and students to connect in a supportive and inclusive environment.
A SEPAC is a public body which serves as an advisor to the School Committee on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities. In addition, the SEPAC has a duty to meet regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development and evaluation of the district’s special education programs.
The SEPAC is a self-governing body (creates its own by-laws and operational procedures) and is open to all parents of children with 504s and IEPs and any other interested parties. A SEPAC is different from a PTA, PTO or School Council – it does not represent families from one school, but serves all families of children with special needs from the entire school district. You are automatically a member if your family accesses supports in school and lives in the Norfolk school district.
Who can I reach out to?
If you have questions, need support or would like to get involved, please reach out through any of the below ways. If you would like to hear more or get involved in the Norfolk SEPAC, please consider attending our monthly meetings or one of our upcoming events.
Connect with any of our board members below:
Co-Chairs: Kayla Costa and Mike McCarthy (Both newly elected)
Chair of Technology: Taiese Hickman
Chair of Operations: OPEN
Chair of Finance: Melissa Cyr (Newly elected)
Chair of Marketing: Karen Murphy (Newly elected)
Fundraising & Volunteer Coordinator: Sarah Logie
Board Members: Jianmei Bai, Stefanie Durniok and Karen Mazzola