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May 3, 2023 | Issue 77 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News

Image of a green ribbon supporting mental health

SPAN Recognizes National Children's Mental Health Acceptance Month and Week

May is National Children's Mental Health Acceptance Month and May 7-13 is National Children's Mental Health Acceptance Week! SPAN is a member of the National Federation of Families (for Children's Mental Health), and we support this year's campaign: Accept. Advocate. Act.

Together we can end bias and discrimination and help build a healthy nation that celebrates children's strengths. As an organization that supports families and youth, including those who experience mental health and/or substance use, SPAN believes that acceptance more directly combats discrimination, prejudice, and conscious and subconscious bias. We accept the reality that 1 in 5 youth experience a mental health challenge, and that those challenges must be met with understanding and support. We know that prejudice and discrimination create barriers to seeking treatment, and that they must be eliminated. We know that our children and youth and their families are facing serious challenges that need to be addressed. And we know that the future well-being of our country depends on how we support and invest in the next generation.

Awareness isn't enough! Acceptance demands we advocate and act to change attitudes, behaviors, and systems.

For more information, go to 

Click here to download a copy of SPAN's Children's Mental Health: A National Family Guide.



Discipline Discussions: The Power of Asking “Why”

Each month, Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for the U.S. Department of Education, Valerie C. Williams, authors a blog as part of the department's "Discipline and Behavior Series."

In her latest blog, Valerie explores why, in "the 2021–22 school year, 84% of public schools reported that the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted students’ behavioral development, according to the National Center for Education Statistics."

She indicates that, "While the pandemic’s effects are felt by children with and without disabilities alike, one approach to addressing these challenges originates from research and study into supporting the behavioral needs of children with disabilities. Known in the research community as a function-based approach, I simply think of it as “behavior as a form of communication.”"

To read her blog, click here.

To learn more about an upcoming SPAN training on using Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Training (PBIS) in School, click here.

Raise The Bar For Student Success

US DOE Raise The Bar For Student Success graphic

Over the next year, the U.S. Department of Education will focus on providing tools, resources, and assistance to states, districts, and schools to advance the three focus areas below, which are connected to six strategies aimed at promoting academic excellence and wellness for every learner and better preparing our nation for global competitiveness.

  • Achieve Academic Excellence:
  • Accelerate learning for every student
  • Deliver a comprehensive and rigorous education for every student
  • Boldly Improve Learning Conditions
  • Eliminate the educator shortage for every school
  • Invest in every student's mental health & well-being
  • Create Pathways for Global Engagement
  • Ensure every student has a pathway to college & a career
  • Provide every student with a pathway to multilingualism

Learn more: click here to download the program PDF.

Upcoming Events

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

Highlighted Event This Week

Learning Disabilities Association of NJ logo

Join SPAN and Other Organizations at the LDANJ 2023 Transitions and Beyond Annual Spring Conference

Saturday, May 6, 2023

The College of New Jersey

LDANJ welcomes students with learning disabilities, parents, professionals, and partners to participate in this year's Transitions and Beyond Conference and Resource Expo. SPAN is a sponsor of this event each year.

This year's panel will include experts from some of NJ's best programs with a high focus on Behavioral and Mental Health, Learning Disabilities, and Complex Disabilities, including:

  • Department of Education, Joann Johnson: Breaking Down the NJ Transition Toolkit
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University, Dr. Mary Hebert: College Ready: Tips for transition and to take the ultimate college selfies: self-awareness, self advocacy, self-management and more.
  • SPAN, Peg Kinsell: Least Restrictive Environment and Alternatives to Guardianship

and many more...

For more information and to register/purchase tickets, click here.

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
SPAN Youth Hub image

The YAFC Podcast Series

Read our latest blog post, "The YAFC (Youth Advocating For Change) Podcast Series, Featuring - Know Your Rights: VR Services and Tuition," to discover a podcast on the challenges of the disability communities from youth voices. 

Click Here

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