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

September 28, 2022 | Issue 47 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News

Decorative image of Diana Autin and guests.

Diana Autin Receives Lifetime Achievement Advocacy Award 

The Lifetime Achievement Advocacy Award recognizes an individual's lifetime commitment and contributions to inclusive communities. It is the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities’ (NJCDD) highest honor and is given only after careful deliberation by the awards committee.

We proudly announce that Diana Autin is a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, presented during the NJCDD's Community Building Awards luncheon on September 22.

It was stated of Diana in presentation remarks given by SPAN's own Policy Director, Peg Kinsell, "Under her direction and leadership, SPAN has provided countless families with the guidance and support they need to access support and services to improve outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, youth, and young adults."

"Diana Autin is an exemplary servant leader. Her focus has always been on the growth and well-being of the people and the communities she serves. She is a tenacious advocate, someone who never gives up. When she sees a need, she fills it. But most importantly, she has supported, encouraged, and uplifted so many others to follow in her footsteps. She uses a collaborative approach and has challenged us all to be the change we want to see in the world." 

Read more on SPAN's News page here

Learn more about the Community Building Awards and see the full list of honorees here


Decorative image with title "Autism Program Quality Indicators."

Advisory Panel Convened to Update Autism Program Quality Indicators

The New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education convened the first meeting of its Autism Advisory Panel in September 2022.

The group is charged with revising and updating the DOE's Autism Program Quality Indicators (APQI). The APQI was originally published in 2004 and intended for programs serving young students with autism. The APQI is being updated and expanded to include programs serving all school-aged students with autism.

Lauren Agoratus, MA, State Coordinator-Family Voices NJ, and Debbie Esposito, Director, START-EPSD Project, represent SPAN on the Advisory Panel. The Panel includes more than 30 professionals and parents. The group will meet monthly through June 2023 to offer recommendations on best practices for educating students with autism. 

Review the original Autism Program Quality Indicators here 

When Will the COVID-19 Pandemic End? How Will We Know When It's Over? 

Decorative image

People are asking if the pandemic is over. Here are some tips and messages that can help to communicate:

  • the state of the pandemic and
  • the continuing need for precautions. 

  1. Emphasize the progress we have made. 
  2. Explain that the threat remains and we must continue to protect people, especially those at high risk of severe disease.
  3. Emphasize public health recommendations - get vaccinated and boosted, test when exposed or sick and monitor COVID-19 Community levels.
  4. Recognize uncertainty - it's likely that new variants will continue to emerge
  5. Underscore the role of public health to keep communities safe and informed and to advance health and well-being.  

Learn more Answers to Tough Questions on Public Health here 

Check out SPAN's resources related to Vaccine Awareness here

Upcoming Events

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

Highlighted Event this week

Decorative image of teens.

We want to hear from individuals with I/DD and their family members!

Participate in a Focus Group to share your perspectives on:

The ways in which people with I/DD from underserved communities and their families access information about services and supports.

Your feedback will help to inform the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities about the ways in which information about supports and services can be most effectively shared in underserved communities.

To register, fill out the

Pre-participation survey here

Stipends will be provided to those who are selected to participate in the focus groups.

Questions or Need Assistance? 


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

Para recibir la edición en Español de este boletín semanalmente en su correo electrónico 

haga clic aquí para suscribirse


Decorative photo of 4 youth chatting.

Join Our Weekly Youth Chat!

Join the conversation! Our weekly chat is youth-driven and youth-run, for ages 13-26 years old, and meets every Wednesday from 4:30-5:00 PM. Learn about resources to empower youth and young adults.

Click here to learn more and register

Share your SPAN testimonial story! CLICK HERE

Join the SPAN Team - View Open Positions here

Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn  Instagram