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Jeanne McMahon Joins SPAN as Director of Health & Family Support Programs!

Jeanne McMahon has joined SPAN as Director of Health and Family Support programs, including maternal and child health and children with special healthcare needs activities. She oversees SPAN's Medical Home Initiatives and improving pregnancy/reducing birth defects and developmental disabilities activities.  Learn more about Jeanne at

ADHD & Section 504 Guidance from US DOE Office for Civil Rights

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today issued guidance clarifying the obligation of schools to provide students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with equal educational opportunity under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  The guidance can be found here

Over the last five years, OCR has received more than 16,000 complaints that allege discrimination on the basis of disability in elementary and secondary education programs, and more than 10 percent involve allegations of discrimination against students with ADHD.

Accessibility of our website

Dear SPAN Website users:

We try to make our website as accessible as possible for parents and others with special accessibility needs.  Please let us know if you have any difficulty accessing our website information and resources and we will do our best to accommodate you!  Reach out to us at  Thanks, and happy browsing through our website!

17th Anniversary of the Olmstead Decision for Community Living for Individuals with Disabilities

Source: Administration for Community Living. June 2016
Seventeen years ago, on June 22, 1999, the Supreme Court decided in Olmstead v. L.C. (Olmstead) that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities cannot be unnecessarily segregated and must receive services in the most integrated setting possible.
The case was brought by two Georgia women whose disabilities include intellectual disabilities and mental illness.

NJ Paid Family Leave - How Can We Make it Better?

NJ is one of only a few states that has paid family leave insurance for families who need to take family leave.  But it isn't being used as much as it should, and it isn't helping families as much as it could.  So how can we make it better?  The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), in collaboration with Advocates for Children of New Jersey, the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, and other advocates, released the findings and recommendations from the New Jersey Parenting Project: Protecting Workers, Nurturing Families: Building an Inclusive Family Leave Insurance Program. This is

LEND Application Pending; Boggs Center Recruiting Possible LEND Family Trainees!

The Boggs Center of Excellence on Development Disabilities, in collaboration with SPAN and other partners, has submitted an application to serve as NJ's LEND project.  They are interested in recruiting family trainees. Family trainees would participate in NJLEND alongside graduate students in Dentistry, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Nursing, Nutrition, Psychology, and Social Work. If we are funded, the program would begin in September and trainees would participate in NJLEND for 300 hours over the course of the academic year, ending in May.

SPAN to Collaborate with National Family Voices in National Center for Family-Professional Partnerships

SPAN partnered with National Family Voices in a successful application to serve as the National Center for Family-Professional Partnerships for 2016-2019 (…/familypropartnerships/index.html). Funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), the NCFPP is one of six national centers funded to provide technical assistance to improve outcomes for children and youth with special healthcare needs (CYSHCN). SPAN's Executive Co-Director Diana Autin will serve as Project Co-Director with Nora Wells and Bev Baker of Family

ESSA: Concerns about school climate as an accountability measure

Source:  National Initiative for Transforming Student & Learning Supports

Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) brings with it concerns and issues about what will and should be done to ensure that every student succeeds. One focus is on improving how accountability is assessed. School accountability is a policy tool with extraordinary power to reshape schools - for good and for bad. Systems are driven by accountability measures. This is particularly so under "reform" conditions.

Newark Schools Water Crisis - Children At Risk

A Brief Look at Lead Poisoning: Lead can build up in the body over a period of months or years. Even a small amount of lead in the body can cause serious problems–hence the term lead poisoning. Children under the age of 6 are especially vulnerable, because their mental and physical abilities are still developing. Exposure to lead-based paint or paint dust is the most common avenue to lead poisoning. This exists in older buildings and poses a serious health hazard. The reality is that lead poisoning can come from other sources besides paint, including drinking water that contains lead. As the

Parents as Leaders in Early Childhood: Creating Change so ALL Children Succeed

Calling on Parent Leaders who are committed to working together to create change for children from birth to 8!  Come together to learn and share the knowledge and skills for successful leadership and advocacy at the Parent Leadership Institutes sponsored by SPAN's START Project.  Three (3) regional Institutes will feature parent leaders and professionals discussing best practices in addressing: 

  • Family Literacy
  • Access to High Quality Early Care and Education
  • Inclusion in Early Childhood
  • Positive Behavior Supports in Early Childhood Programs
  • Early Learning issues and More

Click here to find dates