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

May 11, 2022  (View newsletter as webpage)

Important News

Photo of protesters protesting for disability rights in 1973.

Public Comment on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973


"Just as in 1977, the voices of people with disabilities must be heard and incorporated..." - Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

The US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights oversees the implementation of Section 504. These regulations have not been updated in any significant way since 1977. Section 504 regulations require accommodations for students with disabilities in K-12 and Higher Education. Their intent is to protect civil rights and prevent discrimination. 

Accommodations provided under Section 504 in K-12 schools include support in these areas: 

  • Academic
  • Mental
  • Physical

Section 504 also requires schools to be physically accessible. 

Colleges are also required to provide appropriate academic accommodations to prevent discrimination on the basis of a disability.  

Learn More Here

Submit Comments About Section 504 Here

Learn About the Sit-In that Resulted in the Signing of the Original Regulations here


School Board Advocacy Toolkit

Graphic of how to advocate to you School Board.

The Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities has created a helpful guide to advocating with your local School Board. 

Many decisions that impact students are made by local School Boards. Many of these decisions significantly impact students with disabilities. 

The four important steps include:

  • Learning About the Issue
  • Identifying the Decision-Makers
  • Knowing the Process
  • Messaging

Each of these steps is broken down into smaller actions that can be taken to accomplish the process.  

Check out the Toolkit here

Learn more about the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities here

SPAN's Policy and Advocacy Efforts here


 SPAN Parent Leader Tara Szymanek Recognized by Congressman Andy Kim

Tara family congressman.jpg

Excerpt from Congressman Kim's recognition:

"For Tara, advocating for families, especially military families like her own, came naturally. A mother to 3 children, 2 who live with autism and Fragile X syndrome, Tara uses her experience fighting for her own family and their rights to help others.

An "information hound," Tara began taking training courses, becoming an expert in behavioral disabilities, military health care, dispute resolution, childcare, special needs education, & how important it is to spread awareness about behavioral disabilities.

Through getting to know hundreds of families, Tara's understanding of their needs grew, as did her ability to help and create sustainable solutions for their community by working with local groups like Military 360, SPAN, Tricare, and others. Now a trusted expert for special needs families, Tara has dedicated her life to serving families like her own, helping parents understand and access the support they need to build better lives for their children."

Learn more about SPAN's Military Family 360 Support Center here

Upcoming Events

See what's happening

S´╗┐PAN offers a variety of learning opportunities for families and the professionals who work with them. Check out our Event Calendar here for details and registration links.

Upcoming Events include:

More events

Join the conversation: 

Statewide Special Education Leadership Roundtables

May 23rd and May 25th, 2022

Sen Gopal.jpg
Peg Kinsell.jpg

It starts with you.


Join this important conversation with NJ Senator Vin Gopal, Chair, Senate Education Committee about his role as a policymaker.


SPAN Policy Director, Peg Kinsell, will also discuss how a bill becomes a law and ways that parent groups can influence the policies that affect children with learning differences.


Monday, May 23rd at 7:00 PM




Wednesday, May 25th at 10:00 AM


Register for either Roundtable here


Submit a question for the Senator here


For additional information or to submit a question without using the form,

contact Debbie Esposito.

Share your SPAN testimonial story! CLICK HERE

Join the SPAN Team - View Open Positions here

Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn  Instagram