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TAKE ACTION: Contact Chairwoman Fletcher Now, Ask for Support of AB279

Write, fax or e-mail Chairwoman Fletcher now, and ask for support of AB279. This bill will allow DDS and regional centers to adjust provider reimbursement rates to rates higher than the State's minimum wage so service providers can comply with city and county minimum wage increases and continue providing services in local communities with higher wage requirements. The Committee votes April 25.

Step 1: Download the sample letter.

Step 2: Fill in the letter with your information.

Step 3: Send the letter to Chairwoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher via:

  • Mail:
    Honorable Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher
    Chair of Assembly Appropriations Committee
    Capitol Office, Room 2114
    P.O. Box 942849
    Sacramento, CA 94249-0080
  • Fax:
    916.319.2180
  • E-mail:
    Click through e-mail form

Why Is This Important?
As California service providers forecast for the future, it is important they continue fighting for funding for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

Currently, service providers are reimbursed by the regional centers at rates determined by the California Legislature. Rates can be increased to meet state minimum wage requirements, but not for city or county minimum wage requirements.

With the minimum wage in Pasadena going up to $13.25 an hour in 2018, in contrast to the $11 an hour mandated by California, current reimbursement rates will create a significant shortfall. Many service providers have already closed their doors and more will follow if there is no change, leaving thousands of people without much needed resources.

Service providers are grateful to Assemblymember Chris Holden, who has sponsored Assembly Bill (AB) 279 to address this problem. The bill will allow the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and regional centers to adjust reimbursement rates to comply with city and county minimum wage increases. The bill passed through the Human Services Committee vote on March 7 and will now be voted on by the Appropriations Committee on April 25. If it passes, it will be presented as part of the State Budget Revision in May.

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Mercedes Diaz Homes Opens Keystone in Burbank

Mercedes Diaz Homes has just opened Keystone in Burbank. This 4-bedroom home provides a welcoming environment for individuals moving from the developmental center or similar restrictive environments. Residents will have their own bedroom and will be able to access various community activities with staff support. The home was developed with Community Placement Program funds. Mercedes Diaz Homes designed the house with the residents in mind, creating shared and private spaces that all can enjoy.

One of the home's new residents is moving out of Fairview Developmental Center in May and will be living close to his parents. Another tenant has complex health and behavioral needs and she is moving out of a locked psychiatric center.

Top photo, left to right: The mother of the individual moving out of Fairview; along with Mercedes Diaz, owner of the home; Claudia, the manager of the home; and a personal friend of Mercedes.

Second photo, above on the left: A view of the backyard of the home with (left to right) Claudia, Lanterman Board Member Larry DeBoer, and Ramon Diaz (far right).

Third photo, above on the right: Pictured are Claudia, Ramon, Mercedes and Larry.

Four bottom photos (clockwise, left to right): Shown are the backyard, the kitchen, the living room and one of the bedrooms.

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April 29 ~ David and La Velle Jr. Gates Annual Family Fun Day

David and La Velle Jr. Gates Día de Diversión Familiar Anual

In Recognition of Autism Awareness Month/En Reconocimiento del Mes de Autismo

Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m./Sábado, 29 de abril de 2017 de 10 a.m. a 1 p.m.

This day will be filled with activities for the whole family while promoting the systems that support children and their efforts to reach their potentials./Este día estará lleno de actividades para toda la familia mientras promueve los sistemas que apoyan a niños y sus esfuerzos para desarrollar el potencial de cada niño.

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Kids Against Bullying Classroom Activity Book

Order printed copies or download the eight-page classroom activity book designed with educational activities that incorporate the KidsAgainstBullying.org Web site. It engages young learners in creative ways, using the Club Crew cast from the Kids Against Bullying Web site.

The content provides activities to help students think about their feelings, explore responses to bullying situations, and take the pledge to be a Kid Against Bullying.

Free to download, full color or black/white.

Full-color print booklets are available; $25 for 25 copies which includes postage. To order by mail, use the publication order form.

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Interest List for Meridian Apartments Closing Soon - Must Be On List to Be Included in Lottery

THE INTEREST LIST FOR THE MERIDIAN APARTMENTS WILL BE CLOSING SOON. IN ORDER TO BE INCLUDED IN THE LOTTERY, YOUR NAME MUST BE ON THE INTEREST LIST. PLEASE REMEMBER THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES. AND BE SURE TO LET YOUR SERVICE COORDINATOR KNOW IF YOU SIGN UP AND/OR IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE. 

Coming in 2017, the Meridian Apartments will be an affordable housing project located within Koreatown. They will provide 100 units of affordable housing located at 225 N. Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. All units at Meridian Apartments will be adaptable, and 14 percent will be accessible in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, with 10 percent accessible units for mobility impaired households (10 units) and 4 percent accessible units for sensory-impaired households (4 units). The 14 accessible units will include a mixture of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units.
 
Although rental applications are not being accepted at this time, there is an interest list tab on the Meridian Apartments Web site for prospective residents to fill out. Please note, it is the responsibility of the prospective resident to keep contact information current. Do not fill out the interest list contact form more than once unless you are updating your information.

Approximately four to five months prior to project completion, the property management company will reach out to prospective tenants with further information and hold an electronic lottery to determine the order of tenants able to apply to live at Meridian Apartments. There will be a separate lottery for all potential residents who indicate a need for a mobility or sensory impaired unit.

Remember, it is a lottery – there are no promises, but if you do not sign up on the interest list you will not have the opportunity to apply. Clients and families that need assistance completing the interest list, should contact their service coordinator.

About the Meridian Apartments
The Meridian Apartments are another quality tax credit project developed by AMCAL and Korean Churches for Community Development and professionally managed by FPI Management, Inc.

Meridian Apartments will provide 100 affordable homes to families and 4,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space along Vermont Avenue. Located less than one block from the Vermont/Beverly Metro Red Line Station, residents will enjoy all the conveniences of this transit-oriented development. The spacious floor plans will include 2 studios, 41 1-bedroom, 24 2-bedroom and 33 3-bedroom units. On-site amenities include barbecue areas, dining terrace, a playground, large courtyards, elevator access, underground parking, bicycle storage and a clubhouse with offices, a computer lab and kitchenette. Meridian Apartments is seeking a LEED Gold Certification and LifeSTEPS will provide complimentary social services for residents.

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Affordable Housing Opportunity in Eagle Rock

WORKS in partnership with Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center is developing affordable housing in Eagle Rock. Construction of the T Bailed Manor Apartments should be completed mid-summer 2017 and the units will be managed by Solari Enterprises, Inc. 

Located close to several bus stops, there will be 46 one-bedroom units, 16 for regional center clients, and 30 for veterans and others experiencing homelessness. One unit will be designed for a tenant who is non-ambulatory, one for a tenant with hearing impairment, and one that is adaptable. The complex will include a computer room, community room, laundry room and meeting rooms.

All units will have a shower bench. All units are electric for heating and cooking. Water and trash will be paid for by management, while all other costs are paid for by the tenant. Each unit will be provided with a full bed, dresser, small table, a couple of chairs, futon or sofa, microwave, towels and dishes to get the tenant started.

Applications will be accepted starting on April 10, 2017 on a first-come, first-served basis. All documents submitted must be originals. Applicants can request for a service animal, however, the request must go through the reasonable accommodation process.

The application must include with it a $35 non-refundable check or money order for each adult for credit/criminal background check. Income criteria is for 2016 income and is at or below the 40 percent area median income, which is:

  • One person - $24,320
  • Two persons - $27,800
  • Three persons - $31,000

If a client works and their income is inconsistent, they must provide three months of pay stubs and the amount will be averaged out. They are looking for a minimum income for one person per month of $850.

Once the criminal background and credit check have been cleared, prospective tenants are invited for an interview.

Following are links to more information, the application and the documents that must be submitted as part of the interview.

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Highlights from Grassroots Day 2017

Lanterman community members attended 2017 Grassroots Day in Sacramento. 

Top left photo, from left to right: Edward Perez, Lanterman regional manager; Andres Lerma, Lanterman client; Assemblymember Anthony Portantino; Yudy Mazariegos, Lanterman parent; and Kimberly Isaac, Lanterman service provider

Top right photo, from left to right: Edward, Kimberly, Yudy and Andres with Elle Hoxworth, staffer for Assemblymember Chris Holden, and three community members from Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center (ELARC). They collectively thanked Assemblymember Holden for sponsoring AB 279 which is intended to address funding for service providers that are struggling to meet the higher minimum wages in certain cities and counties.

Bottom left photo: Yudy and Andres, along with ELARC families, meeting with Jen Troia, staffer for Senator Kevin de Leon.

Bottom right photo, left to right: Yudy, Andres and Kimberly, in front of the capital. Kimberly was able to briefly speak with Governor Jerry Brown about the need to increase provider rates.

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Give Kids a Smile 2017

Give Kids a Smile was held on Friday, March 10, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lanterman. Part of nationwide events coordinated through the American Dental Association, Gives Kids a Smile featured events for children 12 months to 14 years old and their parents, including:

  • Dental screenings 
  • Oral health education, brushing, flossing
  • Fluoride varnish
  • Presentations on oral health and dental desensitization
  • Dental resources, including Professional Child Development Associates, Children's Hospital Los Angeles Dental/Autism Clinic, Party Time Children’s Dental, University of California Los Angeles Pediatrics, Burbank Kids Dental Clinic, and Children’s Dental Fun Zone
  • Arts and crafts table
  • Dental care kits with oral health aids and other freebies
  • Dental referrals as appropriate

A total of 51 children and 64 parents were served during the event. 

A special thanks to the following dental providers for participating: Dr. Gina Gonzalez; Dr. Faribors Rodef; Debra Olsen, RDHAP; and Brenda Kibbler, RDHAP. And to volunteers from the following organizations: West Los Angeles College Dental Hygiene, Party Time Dental, Kids’ Community Dental Clinic, and Lanterman staff in the Clinical, Early Intervention and School Age units.

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Dental Study for Children with Autism at CHLA/Estudio Dental para Niños con Autismo en CHLA

Children's Hospital Los Angeles is offering two free dental cleanings for children between 6 to 12 years of age who are regional center clients, diagnosed with autism, and otherwise in good health./Children's Hospital Los Angeles ofrece dos limpiezas dentales gratis para niños entre 6 a 12 años de edad que son clientes del centro regional, diagnosticados con autismo, y de otra manera en buen estado de salud.

As part of volunteering to participate in the dental study:/Como parte de ser participante voluntario en el estudio dental:

  • You will complete a set of surveys about your child's dental care./Completará una serie de encuestas sobre el cuidado dental de su hijo.
  • Your child will receive an autism and cognitive assessment./Su hijo recibirá una evaluación acerca de su autismo y evaluación cognitiva.
  • Your child will have two free dental cleanings four to six months apart. One cleaning will be in a regular room dental room. The other will be in a room with special lights and music./Su hijo tendrá dos limpiezas dentales gratuitas de cuatro a seis meses de diferencia. Una limpieza será en una sala dental regular. El otro estará en una sala con luces especiales y música. 
  • You will get money for participating and for transportation costs for each visit./Usted recibirá dinero por participar y por los costos de transporte para cada visita. 
  • Your child will get a small gift at each dentist visit./El niño recibirá un pequeño regalo en cada visita al dentista.

To learn more about this study, contact Annie Hong at 323.442.1864 or SADE2@usc.edu./Para obtener más información sobre este estudio, póngase en contacto con Lucía Floríndez al 323.442.0370 o SADE2@usc.edu.

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SCDD Delivers Letters to Congress

The State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) asked you to tell your story about why Medicaid matters to you. You told your story and SCDD Executive Director Aaron Carruthers hand-delivered your stories to Congress two weeks ago. They said your stories are "Moving," "Powerful," "Exactly what we need to know," and Congress decided not to change Medicaid.

However, Congress may decide to change Medicaid in the future, so SCDD is still collecting your stories.

Why should we in California care?

For many adults with developmental disabilities, Medicaid is their health insurance. It pays for care from doctors, specialists, and hospitals, as well as prescriptions.

California, like all states, receives Medicaid funding to help pay for the cost of long-term supports that people with developmental disabilities receive. If you or someone you know receives services paid for by a regional center, Medicaid most likely helps pay for it. Medicaid currently pays approximately half the cost of many community services through regional centers.

Hundreds of thousands of Californians with developmental disabilities depend on Medicaid - or will need it in the future - to remain healthy, live in the community, and stay out of costly institutions. Many other groups of people will also be affected.

What can you do? If you haven't already, TELL YOUR STORY.

Your Congressional Representatives and Senators need to know the impact Medicaid has on people's lives. They know that Medicaid provides health coverage but may not realize all the other things Medicaid does, like funding In-Home Support Services (IHSS).

If you or someone you know relies on Medicaid-paid services as described above - or will in the future - take these three easy steps:

  1. Think about "How Medicaid helps you get health care and live on you own."
     
  2. Send an e-mail to council@scdd.ca.gov - briefly tell them the positive impact healthcare services and community supports have had on your life or the life of someone you care about. For example, how have regional center services helped you stay healthy, get or keep a job, live on your own, or do the things you want.
     
  3. Include your name, city and county.

SCDD will keep these letters, add them to the letters they have already received, and deliver them to Congress at the right time.

Your story needs to be told. And SCDD will make sure it gets told to those who need to hear it.

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An Exceptional Story: Paolo Creates an Artistic New Life

We're sharing an article Exceptional Children's Foundation (ECF) wrote about Lanterman client Paolo.

When Paolo moved with his family from the Philippines to Los Angeles, he was in his early 20s. He wanted to make friends, but found being in a new environment with a new language a challenge that often left him frustrated and unable to communicate with many people.

Paolo's parents visited Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center to learn about local programs for adults with special needs that could engage and support Paolo, as well as provide opportunities for him to socialize with peers. They mentioned to their service coordinator that Paolo was interested in a creative program, and were referred to ECF's Art Centers Program (www.ecf.net/adults/art-centers-dac-gallery/).

One visit to ECF's Downtown L.A. art studio and Paolo enthusiastically enrolled. He had taken some art classes in the Philippines, but had never seen a fully-outfitted fine art studio like this. He also responded well to the nurturing approach of ECF's art instructors. Once he started working in the studio, he was able to relax, increase his technical abilities and develop his own unique artistic process.

Over the next two years, Paolo came to trust his own sense of style, reflected in his increasingly complicated and impressive ceramic pieces. He regards his artistic practice as his job, and gets very excited when he sells a piece on ECFonAmazon.com (www.ecfonamazon.com/) or has a creation exhibited at ECF's DAC Gallery (www.dacgallery.com/).

Socially, Paolo has become more outgoing, both at home and in the art studio. While he is still developing his English skills, he can effectively communicate with staff and other artists through use of gestures. He has also developed a keen sense for interpreting other people's body language, allowing him to understand and participate in daily interactions and activities.

"Paolo likes to build things and has a natural understanding of how objects and materials fit together - like an architect," says Madga Audifred, ECF art instructor. "He is also extremely helpful and caring to all his peers; he keeps an eye on everyone."

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April 17 ~ CalABLE Webinar Workshop for Providers

CalABLE invites agencies and organizations serving people with disabilities to join them for a webinar workshop on Monday, April 17, 2017 from 1 to 2 p.m.

Targeted specifically for service providers, this will be an opportunity for representatives to ask questions about the CalABLE program and discuss strategies for collaboration in providing program information and education to clients.
 
This is part of their continuous effort to form working relationships with stakeholders serving the needs of people with disabilities, and they hope this webinar will provide an opportunity to continue the dialogue.
 
For questions and more information, contact CalABLE at calable@treasurer.ca.gov. 

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March 24 to 26 ~ Abilities Expo Comes to Los Angeles

Abilities Expo, for people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors, wounded veterans and healthcare professionals, will be held on March 24 to 26, 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall A. Admission is free and show hours will be Friday, March 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, March 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, March 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Los Angeles Abilities Expo will feature a line-up of exhibits, workshops, events, celebrities and activities to appeal to people of all ages with the full spectrum of disabilities - including physical, learning, developmental and sensory disabilities. Complimentary loaner scooters and wheelchair repair will also be available during show hours.

The Expo is a forum that showcases essential technology to bridge the gap between ability and disability with a host of all-inclusive, adaptive activities, and provides the community of people with disabilities access to life-enhancing products, education, resources and fun. It’s a celebration of what you can do, not what you can’t.

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Tell Your Story: Why Medicaid Matters to Me

Last week, Congress introduced a plan to change the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and Medicaid (known as Medi-Cal in California). According to the national Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, "The level of cuts over time would decimate the Medicaid program."

Why should we in California care?

  •  For many adults with developmental disabilities, Medicaid is their health insurance. It pays for care from doctors, specialists, and hospitals, as well as prescriptions.
  • California, like all states, receives Medicaid funding to help pay for the cost of long-term supports that people with developmental disabilities receive. If you or someone you know receives services paid for by a regional center, Medicaid most likely helps pay for it. Medicaid currently pays approximately half the cost of many community services through regional centers.

Thousands of Californians with developmental disabilities depend on Medicaid - or will need it in the future - to remain healthy, live in the community, and stay out of costly institutions. Many other groups of people will also be affected.

If this current approach passes, Medicaid in California would be significantly impacted.

It is important to share your story of Why Medicaid Matters to You.

What you can do: TELL YOUR STORY

Your Congressional Representatives and Senators need to know the impact Medicaid has on people's lives - and they need to know now. They know that Medicaid provides health coverage but may not realize all the other things Medicaid does, like funding In-Home Support Services (IHSS).

If you or someone you know relies on Medicaid-paid services as described above -- or will in the future -- take these three easy steps:

  1. Think about "Why Medicaid Matters to Me."
  2. Send an e-mail to council@scdd.ca.gov -- briefly tell us the positive impact healthcare services and community supports have had on your life or the life of someone you care about. For example, how have regional center services helped you stay healthy, get or keep a job, live on your own, or do the things you want.
  3. Include your name, city and county.

We will hand deliver your messages to Congress on March 21.

What else can you do?
Call your Senators and Representatives today at 202.224.3121.

Check out the AUCD Joint Policy Statement explaining the impact of the proposed changes to Medicaid.

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CSPP Saturday Program Starts April 8

The next CSPP Saturday program will start on April 8, 2017 and end on June 10, 2017. The Community Special Program Partners (CSPP) officially began in January of 2003. The program serving individuals with developmental disabilities in the Greater Los Angeles Area is geared towards children starting at age 4 to young adults. The program enables them to participate in meaningful opportunities for self-growth, enhance learning, and improve on social skills. Based on 18 years of experience with the Sunday program at Young Nak Church, CSPP was incorporated as an independent entity and has secured its own nonprofit status as a public benefit organization.

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Job-Seekers Sought for Documentary Television Series EMPLOYABLE ME

Documentary producers at Optomen USA are looking for people with neuro-diverse conditions such as Tourette’s Syndrome, Asperger’s or Autism who would like their assistance finding employment on the documentary television series EMPLOYABLE ME.

EMPLOYABLE ME seeks to prove that having a neurological condition or disability can be viewed as an asset rather than an obstacle in the workplace. High profile, aspirational companies and brands are beginning to discover the benefits of recruiting from the ranks of those with disabilities and those whose “brains are wired differently.”

The job-seekers selected to appear on the documentary series will be encouraged to unlock their hidden talents with the help of experts and specialists so they can at long last find the job that best suits their unique skill sets and strengths. Visit the EMPLOYABLE ME Web page to view episodes.

A diverse workforce can be great for a business and EMPLOYABLE ME wants to dramatically shake up the system to prove it. Contact Liz.Alderman@OptomenUSA.com for more information on how to be considered for this opportunity.

Optomen Productions produces hundreds of hours of television each year for many of the major cable and broadcast networks including Food Network, Travel Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery and Bravo. Their most successful series include Worst Cooks in America and Mysteries at the Museum. Visit their Web site for more information about the company.

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New Group of Students Assisting Lanterman Educational Law Clinic

Meet the newest group of law students assisting with the Lanterman Special Education Law Clinic.

Pictured from left to right: Matt Stidham (Pepperdine University School of Law), Nicolas Nunez (USC School of Law), Jeanie Min (UCLA School of Law), Kristen Kim (UCLA School of Law), Patty Chen (UCLA School of Law) and Gloria Yi (USC School of Law)

Not pictured: Diana Malta (USC School of Law) and Nedra Firouzi (Southwestern Law School)

And we're reminding all Lanterman families with school-age children that if you need advocacy assistance with school-related issues, you can request a referral to the Lanterman Special Education Law Clinic from your service coordinator.
 

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Transition to Adulthood: Working Together to Integrate Our Youth Into the Community

The transition from school to adulthood is an exciting yet challenging progression that occurs in every young adult’s life. For young adults with developmental disabilities and their families, this transition can seem overwhelming. So in early February, a group of individuals representing the organizations that provide services and supports that help with this transition came together to share how they can help facilitate the next big steps in a youth’s life.

Nearly 30 families attended “Strategies for Students: Transition Into the Community.” The presentation simultaneously provided in three languages covered:

  • What is adulthood transition;
  • Knowledge on federal and state special education laws, which require transition planning to start by the time the student reaches the age of 16, though many school districts are beginning at 14 or younger, if appropriate;
  • How to obtain supports and services through the IEP/ITP process to prepare students to move from school to adulthood and help the young adult reach social and economic independence;
  • An overview of LAUSD District Office of Transition Services (LAUSD DOTS) and their support during the process, with a look into LAUSD post-high school career and transition programs for students on the alternate curriculum;
  • What regional centers can do to further post-secondary education, employment and/or independent living skills;
  • What inclusion opportunities are available and how to request them;
  • Helpful strategies for successful inclusion into the community.

Presenters/Panelists included (pictured above left to right, excluding Marjan Kermani):

  • Marjan Kermani, Special Education Attorney, Lanterman Special Education Law Clinic
  • Lela Rondeau, Coordinator, LAUSD District Office of Transition
  • Jaman Whittington, Transition Specialist, LAUSD Career and Transition Centers
  • Helane Schultz and Lissette Gomez, Regional Managers, Lanterman Regional Center

“It was an evening full of information and discussion, with many now having the knowledge to continue on a journey they are more versed to take,” shares Kermani.

Mark your calendars for additional opportunities to learn more about the transition to adulthood:

  • Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
    IEP, Inclusion and Transition to Adulthood
    View more information online.
  • Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    Adulthood Transition
    More information to come.

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