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Special education forum - Resources, aid for parents

Help is on the way for special education students and their parents.

State Senator Marty Golden is teaming up with the Community Education Councils (CEC) in School Districts 20, 21 and 22 to host the Third Annual Special Education Forum at Kingsborough Community College on October 18.

The forum brings city Department of Education (DOE) officials and support organizations for people with physical, mental or emotional disabilities together to offer parents information and resources about how to meet the educational needs of their children.

At last year’s forum, parents visited an abundance of booths offering information from organizations specializing in dyslexia, autism, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities.

The DOE provides special education services to students found to have any one of these 13 disability classifications – autism, deafness, emotional disturbance, mental retardation, orthopedic impairment, speech and language impairment, visual impairment, deafness and blindness, hearing impairment, learning disability, multiple disabilities, other health impairment, or traumatic brain injury.

The hosts of the forum say the information parents obtain is vital to ensuring that their children obtain a quality education.

“It’s a goldmine for parents,” explained Laurie Windsor, president of the CEC in District 20, which represents schools in Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton and Borough Park. “Parents need this information. They need to know what their legal rights are.”

“I want to do workshops for parents to give them resources and help them educate themselves so they can advocate for their child,” she continued.

“All too often we focus on the general ed students and sometimes special ed and special needs students aren’t getting the attention that they should. We wanted to ensure that parents of special needs children are really given some additional resources or at least access to resources they may not be aware of,” said Christopher Spinelli, president of the CEC in District 22, which spans Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach and parts of Midwood, Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay.

The forum will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Kingsborough’s Marine Academic Center, located on the campus at 2001 Oriental Boulevard.

For details about attending the forum, contact Golden’s office at 718-238-6044.

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