SPAN The Bridge Newsletter pictorial graphic.  Your weekly access to SPAN news, resources and events.

September 20, 2023 | Issue 97 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News

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Advocates for people with disabilities rally to get out the vote

Advocates for people with disabilities were in Trenton last Thursday to encourage people to vote and to show lawmakers a united front on their concerns.

“I think it’s really important for a community, especially within the disability community, to encourage others to get out and vote, and also for legislators to understand and become aware of our issues,” said Steve Gruzlovic, the board president of the Progressive Center for Independent Living. Advocates said voting is one of the best ways for people in the disabled community to get their points across and influence elections.

Election Day in New Jersey is November 7, and the early voting period runs from October 28-November 5.

To see video coverage of the rally, click here.


NAMI logo

September is Suicide Prevention Month

Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.

September is Suicide Prevention Month — a time to raise awareness and discuss this highly stigmatized topic. In addition to shifting public perception, this month is a perfect time to spread hope and vital information to people affected by suicide. Our goal is ensuring that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has posted a Suicide Prevention Month page, where they share numerous helpful resources on how to engage with Suicide Prevention Month, including a list of Crisis Resources.

To access the page, click here.

Supported Decision Making Survey for Parents of Youth

Ages 1-5

Center on Youth Choice Youth Voice logo

A team of youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities with The Center on Youth Choice Youth Voice is in the process of creating a Supported Decision Making resource for children, focusing on youth ages 1-5.

Based on the life experiences of the group, they know that it is important for individuals with disabilities to start practicing decision making early in life. Therefore, the idea behind the resource is to help youth develop and improve their decision making skills from a young age, so that by the time they are adults, they are able to make bigger decisions and are able to be more independent.

As research for the resource, the group has created a survey, asking for help from parents of youth 1-5 years of age and asking a few questions about the challenges you have faced with choice making with your child - things that you would like your child to learn, and what resources are/would be helpful to you and your child.

Once the resource is complete, it will be shared with survey participants.

To access and complete the survey, click here.

Upcoming Events

SPAN offers a variety of learning opportunities for families and the professionals who work with them.

Highlighted Event This Week

SPAN Parent Leadership Conference flyer

Have You Registered for Our Parent Leadership Conference?

Saturday, September 30

8:00 AM - 3:30 PM ET

National Conference Center

East Windsor, NJ


Please join us to enhance your leadership and advocacy skills, whether you are an emerging or seasoned parent leader!

The conference will offer thought-provoking speakers and informational breakout sessions to provide you with the tools and inspiration you need to advocate on behalf of infants, toddlers, children, and youth.

Highlights of the day:

  • A panel of State Agency Leaders sharing updates and opportunities for family engagement. 
  • Breakout sessions related to helping families access services
  • Information on how to navigate family-serving systems
  • Youth leaders sharing their stories of self-advocacy
  • Strategies to ensure accessibility, diversity, equity, inclusivity, and belonging in our advocacy efforts 
  • Ways to improve self-care, wellness, technology skills
  • Select sessions presented in Spanish and some opportunities for simultaneous interpretation
  • ASL interpretation as requested
  • and more… 

For all conference information and to register, click here.

You'll also learn how you can help support SPAN at our Late Summer Soiree fundraiser on Friday, September 29, 2023 at the National Conference Center.

See all of SPAN's upcoming events with details and registration links here 

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haga clic aquí para suscribirse
COVID long study flyer

Rutgers RWJMS Long COVID Study

RECOVER is a research project that aims to learn about the long-term health effects of COVID. Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) has been awarded a $30 million+ grant from the NIH to help lead a study on the long-term and delayed impacts of COVID-19 in children and young adults. Find more information on how to get involved in this week's SPAN Youth Hub.

To access the post, click here.

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