Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Monologues and More

Monologues & More is a theatre program designed especially for members of the cognitively challenged community through Athens Creative Theatre, a program of the Athens Clarke County Leisure Services Department. During this six week course participants will explore emotional responses to situations both ordinary and extraordinary, build self esteem and confidence through readers' theatre skits and theatrical games. 

Registrations are currently being accepted for this course online at by following the online registration links. Classes will be held on Tuesday afternoons from 1pm - 2pm beginning January 12th at Quinn Hall (Memorial Park). Registration for a participant covers both the individual and their caregiver or guardian; caregivers are encouraged to come join in the fun and help us to all grow and develop together through theatre.  Any questions you have about Monologues & More and any of Athens Creative Theatre's other programming can be answered by calling 706-613-3628 and speaking to Terry Powell (the ACT program specialist and the Monologues & More instructor) or Daniel Self (the ACT Theatrical Assistant). 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Extra Special Recital

Extra Special People (ESP) will be having their end-of-the-semester recital on Sunday, December 13, at the Oconee County Civic Center, at 3 pm.  If you have been considering enrolling your child in an "ESP 360" afterschool program, this is a great opportunity to see the students from this semester show what they've learned!  Dance, theater, sports, swimming, art, outdoor ed, music, karate - and more!  This event is free, be sure to attend.  For more information, visit

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"Born This Way"

The A&E Network is premiering a new documentary series next week that will follow the lives of a group of young adults living with Down syndrome; "Born This Way" will air on Tuesday, December 8, at 10 pm.  The show, filmed in a reality-style format, follows seven young adults in Southern California and their families, as they navigate jobs and relationships, and look to gain greater independence.  "We are proud to be airing this important and extraordinary series and hope it will inspire meaningful conversations about people with differences," said Elaine Frontain Bryant, head of programming for A&E Network.  

Monday, November 30, 2015

New OSEP webpage

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), in the U.S. Department of Education, has a new website for parents of students with special needs; there are resources for teachers and parents on promoting student success and preparing students for future college and career plans.  During this year of celebration commemorating the creation of IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal law governing special education), OSEP is working to ensure that parents and teachers have all the resources they need to prepare students with disabilities for college, careers, and life!  Visit the Ideas that Work website at  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New clinic at UGA

The University of Georgia College of Education has pooled its expertise to form a new research center focused on autism and behavioral analysis.  The Center for Autism and Behavioral Education Research (CABER) will provide autism-related diagnostic assessments and evaluations for children in the community, by working with two existing College of Education clinics. In addition to offering treatment options at Aderhold Hall on the UGA campus, the center gives graduate students the opportunity to develop assessment skills needed to work in school districts and clinical settings.  The center combines resources from the Applied Behavior Analysis Clinic, the School Psychology Clinic and the college's Board-Certified Behavior Analysis program.  Check this link for more information:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Upcoming Support Group Meetings

The T21 Down Syndrome Support Group will meet on Monday, November 16, at 6:30 pm at Faith Presbyterian Church, 2191 Mars Hill Road, Watkinsville.  Please join us to share information and resources with families experiencing Down syndrome.  This will be a time of fun and fellowship - and food!  A holiday meal will be provided, as well as childcare, but please RSVP  by Nov. 12 to help with planning: or 706-461-3592.
The Athens Area ADHD Support Group will meet on Tuesday, November 17, at 7:00 pm, at Jennings Mill Golf Clubhouse, 1150 Chambers Court, Watkinsville.  Adults with ADHD, parents of children with ADHD, and care providers are invited to attend a discussion on "Executive Functioning - Skills Deficit".  Please RSVP by Nov. 16:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Anxiety & Stress: Guidance for Parents

Feelings of stress and anxiety related to school can seem overwhelming, to both students and their families; students who experience learning differences can be particularly affected.  Plan to attend Oconee County Schools' next Weeknight Workshop for parents and learn more!  Drs. Abelkop, Mason, Peters & Prowell from Athens Psychological Services will share information on identifying signs of stress, coping with anxiety, and ideas to enable your family to navigate these issues successfully; a question and answer session will follow.  In order to encourage free discussion, this workshop is for parents only; childcare is not provided.  This Weeknight Workshop will be on Monday, November 16, at 6:30 pm in the Community Meeting Room at Oconee Veterans Park (3500A Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville).  Register to reserve your seat now:, or 706-769-5130 x 1210.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Apply for an iPad Grant!

Autism Speaks is thrilled to announce that this year, 1,045 iPad Airs will be awarded to financially disadvantaged individuals with autism. The application is now open!
Eligible applicants are individuals who:
·  Have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder by a licensed professional
·  Reside in the United States
·  Have limited income and cannot afford to purchase an iPad
The timeline is below:
·  November 2: Online application opens at 6:00AM EST
·  November 7: Application closes at 11:59PM EST
·  November 9 - December 3: Review committee selects recipients
·  December 7: Recipients announced and iPads sent out!
Applications must be submitted by the person with autism, an immediate family member of the person with autism, or a licensed teacher, social worker or therapist. The Technology Grant Review Committee will review applications and select the iPad award recipients. All applicants selected to receive an iPad Air will be contacted on December 7. If selected, the iPad will be shipped via UPS directly to the address provided with the application. Others will receive an email informing them of their status.
You must create a login and further instructions will be provided.
Questions? Contact or (888) 288-4762. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Destination Dawgs @ UGA

The University of Georgia is joining other colleges and universities in our state in developing an inclusive program of study for students with developmental disabilities!  The "Destination Dawgs" program is projected to begin in spring 2017, and will be a two-year certificate program for young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities; students will audit classes at UGA and build the skills they need to transition into adult life. UGA is working on the logistics of Destination Dawgs; program developers envision a fully inclusive program where students are included in on-campus housing and courses they want to take.
Post-completion follow-up with students who graduate from inclusive post-secondary education programs shows that they are more likely to get and maintain competitive employment. Other schools in Georgia  with similar programs are the Georgia Institute of Technology, Kennesaw State University, East Georgia State College, and Columbus State University. To read more about UGA's plans for "Destination Dawgs", visit this link: UGA Destination Dawgs

Monday, October 26, 2015

Butterfly Dreams Farm Fall Festival

Butterfly Dreams Farm is hosting a free Fall Festival and Horse Show on Sunday, November 8, from 12:00 - 4:00.  If you've never visited the farm, this will be a great opportunity to experience the wonderful things that are happening at Butterfly Dreams!  BDF is celebrating 10 years of serving our community through equine-assisted therapy for children and adults with special needs.  The gates will open at 12 for the fall festival activities, with the horse show beginning at 2 - where current students will showcase their skills!    Butterfly Dreams Farm is located at 2981 Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville. Visit here for more information:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall Parent Academy

Fall Parent Academy is planned for Saturday, October 24!  Parents of Oconee students who receive special education services are invited to attend a workshop on "Harvesting Positive Behavior".  Behavior is communication!  Specialists from Georgia State University will teach parents a variety of strategies for determining the causes of challenging behavior, and help parents develop a specific plan to support positive behavior at home and at school.  The session will be from 9:30 am - 1:30 pm at Rocky Branch Elementary School (5250 Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville); a light lunch will be provided.  Be sure to RSVP to and reserve your seat if you would like to attend!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Oconee Spirit Basketball

Registration is under way for Winter Programs at Oconee County Parks and Recreation - so register today for Oconee Spirit Basketball!  OSB is a recreational basketball program designed to teach children, adolescents and young adults with intellectual disabilities the fundamentals of basketball, while building social skills, coordination, and team work with peer players.  Ages 6 - 24, cost is $65, and the league will meet on Tuesdays from 6:15 - 7:15 from December 8 - February 9.  Please register online at or visit Oconee Veterans Park.  For more information visit the website or call 706-769-3965.

Friday, October 9, 2015

ESP Fall Festival

ESP (Extra Special People) invites the community to Fall for ESP!  This year the annual fall festival will be held on Saturday, October 24, from 3:00 - 6:00 pm at their new addition, Camp Hooray, 183 Lindsay Lane, Jefferson.  If you've never experienced an ESP event, this is a perfect opportunity to join the fun and learn more about this local non-profit, focused on providing resources and support to people with disabilities.  All families of children with disabilities are invited; wear a costume, and enjoy face painting, putt putt, a pumpkin patch, a (sensory friendly!) haunted house, and much more!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Sensory-friendly Performance of "Tim Tesla"

The Aurora Theater in Lawrenceville is producing "Tim Tesla and The Terrific Time Machine!", and will offer a sensory-friendly performance on Tuesday, October 13, at 7 pm! Follow Tim Tesla and his best friend Tess on a journey through time as he helps his grandfather, famous scientist and inventor, Nikola Tesla.  This is an Autism-Friendly Performance designed and intended for families with children on the autism spectrum or who have other sensory issues. At these performances the theater environment will be altered, providing a safe, sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space.  Tickets are only $7!  For more information, visit this link: Aurora Theater

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Importance of Belonging

Registration is open for an upcoming conference with Dr. David Pitonyak.  Dr. Pitonyak is known around the world for his work with people who experience disabilities and with the people who support them.  His conference, "The Importance of Belonging," will be held in Athens on Thursday, October 15, from 9 AM – 4 PM and include light breakfast, lunch and refreshments.  The meeting will be at the Richard B. Russell Library, on the campus of The University of Georgia.

The conference is based on the premise that being connected to the people we love is critical to our emotional and physical well-being, and the observation that people with disabilities are often isolated from loving relationships and instead interact with a series of persons who are paid to do so. Loneliness is one result. When people are lonely their actions are often experienced by others as “challenging behaviors.”  Participants will learn about topics that include: the importance of belonging; seeing difficult behaviors as intentional communication; and understanding behaviors that result from unmet needs. There will also be a discussion on opportunities for people with disabilities to lead meaningful, fulfilling lives in their homes and communities.  More information about Dr. Pitonyak’s work can be found at his website:

This workshop is open to 100 people and is designed for people with disabilities and their families, direct support providers, citizen advocates, and other professionals working with people with disabilities. 
The costs are: $50 for people with disabilities and their families; $75 for professionals who work with people with disabilities. Limited scholarships will also be available.  To register, visit this link: 

Monday, September 28, 2015

All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD) Workshops

AADD offers parents numerous opportunities to gather information and learn, leading to better lives for people with disabilities.  The schedule for this fall includes workshops on planning for your child's life as an adult, on financial planning, on how to coordinate work with SSI without losing funding, and much more; check out this link for dates, times and locations!

AADD Parent Workshops

Friday, September 18, 2015

New ADHD Support Group!

A new support group is being formed in our area to support people with ADHD!  The Athens Area ADHD Support Group's mission is to provide evidence-based education and strategies to adults with ADHD, to parents and caregivers of children with ADHD, and to those in the Athens/Oconee community who are effected by ADHD.  The Kickoff Meeting of this new group will be on Wednesday, September 23, from 7:00 - 9:00 pm, at the Oconee Chamber of Commerce, 55 Nancy Drive, Watkinsville.  Please plan to attend and help launch this new endeavor!  RSVP by Monday, September 21, to or the Facebook page at

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sensory-friendly Performance - Gwinnett Ballet's "Cinderella"

On Friday, October 2, the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre offers the community a special "Sensory Friendly Performance" of "Cinderella." This performance is presented with the needs of our sensory sensitive audiences in mind. The show will be performed with low lighting in the audience and music will be lowered to avoid loud, unexpected noises. Audience members are free to move around, clap, cheer, dance and enjoy! There will be a viewing area in the lobby with a large screen television for those who prefer to watch the performance outside of the enclosed theatre. Respectful ushers and staff will provide a helpful and safe setting.  The performance is at 7:30 pm, at the Infinite Energy Theater, 2400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth. Tickets are only $6.00 - $8.00!  For more information, visit:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Conversations That Matter

All About Developmental Disabilities (AADD), an Atlanta-based agency that supports people with disabilities, is hosting a series of community meetings across the state, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. The topic for these "Conversations That Matter" is "The Future: What Will It Look Like for You and Your Child?"  Parents of children with developmental disabilities, self-advocates, teachers, school administrators, transition specialists, developmental disability professionals, legislators, transition councils, business owners, and community leaders are encouraged to come engage in purposeful conversation about the following topics:

  • Life planning trends and new tools to prepare for the road ahead
  • Employment and meaningful day services: What could it look like?
  • New definitions and rates for waiver services: What to expect
"Conversations That Matter" is coming to Athens on Thursday, October 1, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at the Athens Clarke Library, 2025 Baxter Street, Athens.  The program will include a short  presentation on the topic, group discussion, idea gathering, and Q&A. Food and beverage will be provided. For more information, and to RSVP, click here:

Monday, September 14, 2015

Workshop: Theme Parks & Kids with Special Needs

Are you thinking of planning a theme park vacation...but wonder how to meet the needs of your child with a disability?  Robyn Adams, vacation planner and admin of "Tips for Special Needs at Disney" on Facebook, is coming on Monday, September 28, to help you answer that question!  The workshop will be from 6:30 - 8:00 pm, at Oconee Veterans Park (3500 Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville). Robyn will give tips on how to obtain a "guest assistance" pass for people with disabilities, ways to save for your vacation, suggestions for where to stay, and more! This workshop may fill up quickly, so please RSVP to before September 25!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

ABLE Accounts

The ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law in January 2015. Passage of this law allows for the establishment of savings accounts for individuals with disabilities.  ABLE accounts are tax-free savings accounts, similar to 529 college savings accounts, that do not impact an individual's eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and other benefits.  In order to get a better idea of how many individuals might be eligible for ABLE accounts and how a potential beneficiary may use the account to save for disability-related expenses, please take a moment to fill out the ABLE National Resource Center's survey.  Clicking the link below will take you to the survey, as well as to a very informative video that gives an overview of ABLE accounts.  The deadline to complete the survey is Tuesday, September 1, 2015.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

ESP 360

Registration is currently under way for afterschool programs at ESP (Extra Special People).  From dance, theater, and cheer, to karate, outdoor education, and sports, there is an option for everyone! Programming is from 4:00 - 6:00 pm, Monday through Thursday, at the ESP facility on VFW Drive in Watkinsville.  To learn more about available classes, costs, or to register, visit the ESP website:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Upcoming Public Forum

The Georgia Council for Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is an advisory council for the Governor's office, giving input on public policy regarding people with disabilities.  They are holding public meetings this fall to get input from the public, to help them establish priorities for a five-year plan. If there are concerns that you'd like to share with folks at the state level, who are in a position to make change happen - this is your chance!  There will be a public meeting in Athens on September 24, at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education on Lumpkin Street, at 6 pm - you can register to attend by clicking here: GCDD Public Forum

You can also give input through an online survey (takes about 10 minutes) by clicking here:  GCDD Survey

Friday, August 21, 2015

"What A Great IDEA!"

Oconee County School's first Weeknight Workshop of the semester is coming up!  This parent training opportunity will be on Monday, August 24, at 6:30 pm, at Oconee Veterans Park's community meeting room.  "What A Great IDEA!" presented by Parent to Parent of Georgia, will give parents an overview of the special education process and the basics of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal law governing special education.  Parents will learn about referring a student for evaluation, what to expect when developing an Individual Education Plan (IEP), and how to collaborate in a positive way with teachers and school administrators for the benefit of  their student. Great information for families new to special education, as well as seasoned pros - please join us!

Thursday, August 6, 2015 - Another Great Resource links to more than 10,000 national, state and local resources. That’s a lot of information, which is why they have developed a series of guides to help you find answers. Whether you’re looking for information about disability benefits,housing assistancejob training programs or financial help for families with low incomes,’s Guides to Information & Resources are a good place to start. Choose from among 14 guides that cover everything from home health care to programs for caregivers to assistive technology and much more. Each guide begins with a series of “quick links” that answer many frequently asked questions.’s Guides to Information & Resources also connect you to information about organizations near you that offer programs and services that promote the inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities in their communities.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Welcome!  A new school year is beginning, and it's time to refresh your "school supplies" - your resources and information to make this school year an awesome one for your child!  Be sure to subscribe to this Parent Connections blog by entering your email in the box on the right side of this page, so that you can receive any new postings straight to your email inbox!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Emory Autism Workshop

The Emory Autism Center's Monarch Program is hosting a Summer Autism Workshop on July 16-17, at Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth.  This two-day workshop is primarily for teachers, but parents may also find lots of helpful information; topics will include addressing problematic behavior, use of assistive technology, use of video based instruction, and a look at the Autism Plan for Georgia from the Centers for Leadership in Disability.  Early bird registration ends May 31 - you can find the conference brochure here: Emory Autism Workshop

Monday, May 18, 2015

Webinar: Helping Your Child Stay On Track For Summer

As the school year draws to a close, I know we're all ready for a break!  I wanted to share this learning opportunity with you, though, as you think about plans for summer.  A free webinar is planned for tomorrow evening (Tuesday, May 19), from 7:00 - 8:30 pm; it will be hosted by the Learning Disabilities Association of America, and will give you ideas on keeping your child's hard-earned skills from slipping over the summer break.  Be sure to take advantage of this free on-line workshop!  Here's the link to register: LDAA Webinar

Monday, May 11, 2015

National PTA "Special Education Toolkit"

The National Parent Teacher Association website has a great resource, just for parents of students receiving special education services:  The Special Education Toolkit.  This toolkit has information that can help de-mystify the special education process, especially for parents of students who are new to special education - from transitions, to defining terminology, to parent rights, and more.  Check it out here: PTA Special Education Toolkit

Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 Metro Summer Resource Directory

The 2015 Metro Area Summer Resource Directory is an excellent source of information about opportunities for summer activities in and around the Atlanta area!  Use this throughout the summer for ideas for things to do to keep busy this summer; check out the link at right, or click here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Summer Social Skills Group

The Athens Regional Pediatric Rehab group is planning two sessions of summer skills development this summer!  Children ages 4-6, and ages 7-9,  can attend a group on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons, and will work together with therapists on problem solving, cooperation, responding to teasing/bullies, making and keeping friends, and more.  If you have an older child, feel free to contact them - they are open to hosting a group for tweens as well!  Contact Lisa or Marcie at 706-475-5860, or

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Medicaid 101

Planning for the future for your child with a disability can be overwhelming...where do you start?  It's so important to begin early, and make a plan to ensure a bright tomorrow for your child!  Please plan to attend our final Weeknight Workshop of this semester, "Medicaid 101"; we will learn about Medicaid waiver services, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Family Support Services, and more! The workshop will be held at Oconee Veterans Park, in the community meeting room (next to the gym), on Monday, April 20, at 6:30 pm.  For questions or to RSVP, contact

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Free wheelchair tennis clinic

On Saturday, May 2, there will be a free clinic for those interested in learning wheelchair tennis!  The clinic will be at the Athens Tennis Center, 4460 Lexington Road, Athens, from 12:00 - 3:00 pm.  Regardless of ability or age, come learn the "sport for a lifetime"!  The clinic is sponsored by AIRS (Athens Inclusive Recreation & Sports).  For more information or RSVP, contact 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Automatic for Autism

Automatic for Autism, which raises funds for the University of Georgia ABA Clinic, is hosting a fundraiser on Wednesday, April 1, at Cine' on Hancock Avenue in Athens.  "The Faces of Autism in Athens" will begin with a resource fair for families of people with autism at 4:00, followed by a screening of the movie "Temple Grandin".  Admission is free, but donations will be accepted (and are encouraged!).  Jittery Joe's Coffee will also be selling their special "Automatic" blend coffee, and t-shirts will be available for purchase; proceeds will go to the ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Clinic at the University of Georgia, to provide scholarships that will allow families of children with autism to have access to therapy.  Please join us!

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Got Hormones" - The Sequel!

Back by popular demand - there will be another parent workshop on adolescent development in children with disabilities!  The "Got Hormones?" workshop will be Monday, March 30, at the Oconee Veteran's Park community meeting room, at 6:30 pm.  We will review some of the same material that was covered in the fall workshop, as well as some additional information, so all parents are welcome and encouraged to attend (even if you attended in October).  This workshop is particularly helpful to parents of late elementary through high school aged students.  For more information, check out this link: Got Hormones? flyer

Please register by Friday March 27 by emailing . This is the second in a 3-workshop series for families and caregivers of students with special needs.  Check the workshop calendar to the right to see other upcoming learning opportunities!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

iCan Shine Bike Camp in Conyers

The iCan Shine Bike program is coming to Conyers this summer!  This program is a safe, fun, proven method for teaching individuals with disabilities to ride a two-wheeled bicycle independently.  Riders attend camp for 75 minutes a day for 5 consecutive days.  The camp will be held July 6 - 10 at Rockdale County High School; here's the flyer with contact information:  iCan Bike Camp flyer

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spring Parent Academy

On Saturday, March 21, Oconee County Schools is offering a Spring Parent Academy for parents of preschool and elementary aged students with special needs.  "Positive Parenting:  Supplies for Your Parenting Toolkit" will be held at Oconee County Primary School (2290 Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville), from 9 am to 1 pm.  Join us to learn how to address challenging behavior in a positive way; define your child's learning style and how to communicate more effectively; and tips to maintain healthy relationships between your child with special needs and his or her siblings.  A light lunch will be provided, and child care is available (by registration only!).  Please register no later than March 18!  Contact or (706) 769-5130 to register (if childcare is needed, let us know the number and ages of children).   Come stock your toolbox, and enjoy a fun and informative Saturday!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Friendship Circle

The Friendship Circle blog is another great site to find information and resources for families of kids with special needs.  The Parenting category has tons of articles and posts covering topics from how to referee a preschool playdate with preschoolers with special needs, to working with the PTO in your child's school to support students with disabilities, to improving communication with your pediatrician.  Visit Friendship Circle Parenting here:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

End the R-word Day

Today is National Spread the Word to End the Word Day!  This campaign is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics, Best Buddies and other supporters to inspire respect and acceptance through raising the consciousness of society about the R-word and how hurtful words and disrespect can be toward people with intellectual disabilities. The campaign, created by youth, is intended to engage schools, organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support at and to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Make your pledge today!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Planning for life after high school

(The Northeast Georgia Disability Conference & Expo this Saturday, Feb. 28, from 8:30 to 3:30 at UGA will also offer conference sessions and exhibits on this topic!  See previous post!)

The website AbilityPath is a great resource for information on issues related to raising a child with special needs.  This booklet, available for download, may be helpful as you plan for this journey for you & your young adult!  Visit Life After High School to check it out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Opening New Worlds Conference

The 2015 Opening New Worlds Conference is planned for Saturday, March 21, from 9:30 am - 4:30 pm at First Baptist Decatur.  This event is open to people with developmental disabilities, their families, caregivers, and congregations.  There will be classes on topics relating to supporting people with disabilities and their families, including a panel of churches with special needs ministries, and a talent show and artist's market.  Registration is $20 and includes lunch; please RSVP by March 11.  First Baptist Decatur is located at 308 Clairemont Avenue in Decatur; for more information, check out the flyer:  ONW flyer

Friday, February 6, 2015

Northeast Georgia Disability Conference & Expo

The 7th annual Northeast Georgia Disability Conference & Expo will be held on Saturday, February 28, from 8:30 am t0 3:30 pm, at the University of Georgia’s Tate Center, next to Sanford Stadium, 45 Baxter Street, Athens.  This free event is for educators, community partners, and families of those with learning challenges or disabilities.
The Disability Conference & Expo is co-sponsored by the Northeast Georgia Transition Team (NEGATT), an alliance of community partners and special education representatives from 13 local school districts, and the Department of Kinesiology in the College of Education at UGA.  The conference theme is “Composing Your Own Song”; the featured speaker will be Laura Nadine, an award-winning violinist, composer, film maker, and mother with autism.  Exhibitors include support groups, recreation groups, therapists, college disability service providers, financial advisors specializing in special needs planning, and more.  The free conference learning sessions, offered throughout the day, cover topics that include planning for college, a public forum on changes to Medicaid waivers, adolescent development and wellness, social skills and behavior support,  planning for your child’s financial future, and much more.  Plan to attend, and begin “composing a symphony of success” for your loved one with special needs!  Register for this free event at (search “NEGATT”); lunch will be provided for the first 150 registrants! To see the list of conference sessions, visit  Other questions? Contact, or call 706-769-5130 ext. 1210.

Monday, January 26, 2015

"Ask An Attorney" Workshop Rescheduled!

The speaker for tonight's "Ask the Attorney" parent workshop has the flu!  The workshop has been rescheduled for Monday, February 9, at 6:30 at Oconee Veterans Park, in the conference room.  Parents of students with special needs can take advantage of this opportunity to learn about the issues surrounding guardianship, considerations for planning a will, and NEW details of the recently approved ABLE Act.  Please plan to attend on this new date - you can register by email to or by calling 706-769-5130 extension 1210.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Planning for the future? "Ask an Attorney"!

The first Weeknight Workshop of this semester for parents of students with special needs will be on Monday, January 26; "Ask an Attorney" will give parents an opportunity to gather information and ask questions about planning for their child's future.  Local attorney Dennise Grayson will go over the guardianship process in Oconee County, discuss things to consider when making a will, and answer other questions related to making financial plans for the future.  If you have questions on these issues, be sure to join us!  We will meet at 6:30 pm in the community room at Oconee Veterans Park, on Highway 53 in Watkinsville.  RSVP to or by calling 706-769-5130 ext. 1210. 

Autism "Across the Spectrum" Conference

The 4th annual Southeastern "Across the Spectrum" Autism/Asperger Conference and Expo will be Monday and Tuesday, March 16-17, 2015 at the Hilton Atlanta Northeast in Norcross, Georgia. Each year people from all across the country attend this conference and receive information on cutting edge research, amazing educational tools and strategies, and insight and inspiration from world class presenters and exhibitors.  Online registration is now open - visit for more information.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

ESP's Big Hearts Pageant 2015

The Big Hearts Pageant is coming up soon!  This wonderful community event is held at the Classic Center in Athens, and will be on Saturday, February 7, at 4:00.  Each year Extra Special People (ESP) brings together members of the northeast Georgia community with the children and families that it serves; the Pageant is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of our community's most big-hearted individuals, while leaving their disabilities in the wings.  The event begins with a fabulous silent auction in the Fire Hall at 3:00; the pageant begins in the theater at 4:00; and the evening concludes with a banquet at 7:00. 

Tickets for the pageant are on sale now through the Classic Center Box Office:  Big Hearts Tickets
For information about tickets to the banquet, or for other questions, contact .  Don't miss out on a fantastic evening!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dream to Be Able ML5K on January 19

Come support Extra Special People in the 5th Annual Dream to Be Able ML5K on January 19th, at Dudley Park in Athens!  Join ESP for a race that embodies the true spirit of the MLK Day of Service by showing your support for the extra special children of ESP.

The race kicks off with the Dream Dash at 2:15. It’s a short (less than a mile!) run/walk in honor of children with developmental disabilities. Children of all ages and abilities are encouraged to participate. The Dash takes place in the parking lot and all participants are awarded a medal. Be sure to arrive early to cheer our dashers on!
The 5K begins at 3pm. You can register here:   ML5K Race Registration.  Registration and packet pick-up will begin at 1pm on race day - and race registration is $25.
Please no pets!

Whether you’re a runner or not, we encourage everyone to come out to the ML5K!  Enjoy a drink at our hot chocolate bar, show your support for ESP, and cheer on our runners!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Afterschool Programs at ESP

Registration is now being accepted for afterschool programs at ESP (Extra Special People), in Watkinsville.  Called "ESP 360", the classes are offered from 4:00 - 6:00 Monday - Thursday, and include everything from swim team to martial arts to theater to outdoor education!  Students with special needs are partnered with a buddy to guide them through activities - so that "campers" can thrive!  For more details, visit - and be sure to register this week!  Classes begin Monday January 12!

Inclusive Post-Secondary Academy (IPA) at Georgia Tech

The Inclusive Postsecondary Academy at Georgia Tech (IPA) is a four-year, two certificate program for students with mild intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) leading to two separate Certificates of Social Growth, Academic Enrichment, and Vocational Exploration.  The purpose of the program is to provide the opportunity for all students to realize their intellectual and personal potential, with appropriate support for success.

The IPA at Georgia Tech provides students with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to engage in the full college experience, including building a social network, participation in regular college classes, living independently, working in professional internships, and enjoying an active social life with friends, and mentors.

Students enrolled in the IPA program at Georgia Tech have access to support and resources on campus, including mentoring, tutoring, writing assistance, library, and campus recreation.
The Georgia Tech Inclusive Postsecondary Academy will accept applications through January 15th, 2015.

To learn more about the Inclusive Postsecondary Academy at Georgia Tech please visit: