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April 26, 2023 | Issue 76 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News


Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)/Response to Intervention (RTI) Process Cannot Be Used to Delay/Deny an Initial Evaluation

OSERS’ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) emailed copies of two memoranda to IDEA Part B Directors and Section 619 Coordinators regarding the child find requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). OSEP took this action in response to constituents’ concerns that initial evaluations to determine whether a child has a disability have sometimes been delayed or denied by local educational agencies (LEAs) until a child goes through a state’s multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) process, sometimes referred to as Response to Intervention (RTI).

OSEP reminds state educational agencies and LEAs that the Part B regulations allow a parent to request an initial evaluation at any time to determine if a child is a child with a disability under IDEA. As OSEP Memorandum 11-07 states, MTSS/RTI may not be used to delay or deny a full and individual evaluation for a child suspected of having a disability. With respect to preschool children, IDEA does not require or encourage a local or preschool program to use a MTSS approach prior to referral for evaluation or as part of determining whether a three-, four-, or five-year-old is eligible for special education and related services. Once an LEA receives a referral from a preschool program, the LEA must initiate an evaluation process to determine if the child is a child with a disability.

The two relevant OSEP memorandum can be found below:


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NJ Access Link Riders' Choice Pilot Launched

A new Access Link Riders' Choice Pilot (ALRC) launching this Spring offers NJ Access Link customers the opportunity to allow Access Link to move some of their rides to transportation network companies, starting with Lift and Uber.

When a customer’s ride is moved to one of the Access Link Riders’ Choice Pilot providers, the customer’s fare is the same as it was with Access Link. The customer may even get to enjoy a faster, more direct ride to their destination.


If you choose to join the Access Link Riders' Choice Pilot program, you will continue to call Access Link to make ride reservations. Access Link will decide whether your ride will be moved to one of the Access Link Riders’ Choice Pilot providers or remain with Access Link. If the ride is moved, you will receive a text message and/or phone call from the Access Link Rider’s Choice Pilot provider. If the ride remains on Access Link, you will receive the normal Access Link reminder call.

To join the NJ Access Link Riders' Choice Pilot program, click here.

For more information about Access Link Riders’ Choice Pilot, contact Customer Service by emailing 

or calling 973-491-4224, option 5.

Rutgers RWJMS Seeks Children and Young Adult Participants in Long COVID Study

Rutgers Long COVID Study Flyer Image

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.

This study is designed to answer these questions:

  • How many children get Long COVID?
  • Why do some children get Long COVID and others do not?
  • What symptoms do children feel when they get Long COVID?
  • How long do children feel sick when they get Long COVID?
  • What causes Long COVID to happen in children?
  • How does having Long COVID affect children's physical and mental health, and development, as they grow?

Eligible subjects include infants, children, adolescents and young adults, through 25 years of age. Infection with COVID is not necessary to participate. The first phase of the study includes a home questionnaire, blood and saliva samples which are all provided from the comfort of your home. The second and third phase involve more in-depth bloodwork and testing such as lung function testing, brain imaging, and cognitive testing.

For more information or to express interest in participating in the study, please email:

To view an informational video, click here.

Upcoming Events

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

Highlighted Event This Week

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Staying Connected as a Couple While Raising a Neurodivergent Child

May 31, 2023, 7:30-8:30 pm

Is it possible for a couple to raise a neurodivergent child while strengthening their relationship? Dr. Laura Marshak has proven it can be done for even the busiest of couples. Drawing from both her professional and personal perspective, Dr. Marshak will help the audience understand that the strength of a couples’ relationship does not have to be defined by the demands of raising a neurodivergent child. In this webinar, Dr. Marshak will go over different strategies to a variety of scenarios ranging from how to stay connected, communication and getting your needs met, strategies that can help when disappointed or feelings of resentment arise within the relationship, and more!

Dr. Marshak is a licensed psychologist who works with parents of children with diverse neurological, developmental, and physical disabilities, as well as psychiatric and medical disorders. She is co-founder of North Hills Psychological services and Professor Emeritus as the Indiana University of PA. Dr. Marshak has authored 8 books, many of which focus on family life while raising a child with a disability or health concern.

This webinar is sponsored by New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, Inc.

To register, click here.

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

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haga clic aquí para suscribirse
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Taking a Mental Health Day

Read our latest youth blog post, "Taking a Mental Health Day," and learn the benefits of mental health days when experiencing stress, when to take one, and how to plan them.

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