Monday, December 16, 2019

Registration for ESP After School Classes

Extra Special People (ESP) in Watkinsville offers a variety of after school enrichment programs for individuals with disabilities - for Spring 2020 there will be classes in music, sports, theater, dance, yoga, cooking, and much more!  There are off-campus programs too; check out the class schedule below!  Classes begin January 13 and run through April 16.  New to ESP?  Attend the next New Parent Meeting (contact ESP at 706-769-9333).  For class description details, and information on how to register, visit this link: ESP 360

Friday, December 13, 2019

"Intelligent Lives" Movie Screening

INTELLIGENT LIVES stars three pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer, and Naomie – who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce. Academy Award-winning actor and narrator Chris Cooper contextualizes the lives of these central characters through the emotional personal story of his son Jesse, as the film unpacks the shameful and ongoing track record of intelligence testing in the U.S. This unique film challenges what it means to be intelligent, and points to a future in which people of all abilities can fully participate in higher education, meaningful employment and intimate relationships.
FREE movie but food and drink is on you!
January 8, 2020
Studio Movie Grill, 3850 Venture Drive, Duluth, GA 30096
Happy Hour Networking 6:00 - 7:00 pm
7:00 pm Movie seating/Show starts at 7:30 pm
Seating Limited! Must have a ticket - reserve yours here: MOVIE

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Webinar: Early Planning for College / Career Success!

The Georgia Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Consortium will host another webinar next week in their series of parent learning opportunities.  "Early Planning for Maximum Success after High School"  will give parents strategies for making the move from high school to college/career independence for their student with a disability!  The webinar will be Wednesday, December 11, from 12:00 - 1:00 pm.  Visit this link to learn more and to register for this free training:

Monday, November 18, 2019

Big Hearts in Bloom!

Extra Special People (ESP) hosts the best night of the year at the Classic Center in Athens!  The Big Hearts pageant will be on Saturday, February 15, 2020 - this year's theme is Big Hearts in Bloom.  Come join a packed house at the Classic Center as ESP's participants shine, leaving their disabilities in the wings as they take the stage!  Tickets are on sale now online or at the Classic Center Box Office:  

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Fun with Santa!

Barrow County Family Connection has arranged for a special time with Santa, for young children with special needs!  On Thursday, November 14, from 4:00 - 5:00 pm, at the Wimberly Center in Winder (163 MLK Jr. Drive, Winder). Donations accepted - bring your own camera!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Presidential Candidate Forum on Disability Issues

On Tuesday, November 19, a forum for the presidential candidates on topics related to disability issues will be held in Atlanta!  The event is planned for 1:00 - 3:00 pm, at Central Presbyterian Church, 201 Washington Street SW, Atlanta.  This will precede the televised Democratic debate in Atlanta on November 20.  All of the candidates have been invited (visit for a list of confirmed attendees).  What a great opportunity to advocate for people with disabilities!  The event will be broadcast by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) on Facebook Live, or you can participate by submitting your questions to The forum is free, but due to limited space, registration is required - register at this link:

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Inclusive College Programs in Georgia

Georgia is home to nine colleges with programs specifically for students with intellectual or developmental challenges; the Georgia Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Consortium coordinates the development of these programs at the state level.  These programs provide opportunities for college experiences and job skills development that were unheard of in the past!  The University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Georgia Southern - all have inclusive programs; for more information on applications requirements, costs, etc., visit

GaIPSEC is producing a series of parent webinars, on topics that will help families prepare for this important transition; visit this link to take advantage of these free learning opportunities!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Parent Workshop: Prepping for College

Students with IEPs who are investigating college options can receive supports to help them be successful - but it's not the same as high school!  How should you support your student as they prepare for this milestone?  Join us at the Oconee County Civic Center on Monday, October 21, at 6:30 pm to learn more about "College Prep for Students with IEPs".  A representative from the University of North Georgia will give advice and guidance on testing, documentation requirements to qualify for supports, how to access accommodations, and more!  We will also hear from a parent who has recently helped their student navigate this process.  Register at this link:

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Supported Decision-Making Workshop

The Georgia Advocacy Office, in conjuction with the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, is sponsoring a symposium on Supported Decision- Making, with Morgan K. Whitlatch, Esq. Ms. Whitlatch is the Legal Director at Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities, a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the interests of people with developmental disabilities. Morgan has extensive experience in implementing systemic policy, practice, and training initiatives, including those of the National Resource Center on Supported Decision-Making and the Jenny Hatch Justice Project (JHJP), which are dedicated to advancing the “Right to Make Choices” of people who live with disabilities or who are elderly. Notably, Morgan co-represented Jenny Hatch in fighting for her right to engage in Supported Decision-Making as an alternative to permanent plenary guardianship.
OCTOBER 17, 2019
4-7 pm
Courtyard Marriott Emory/Decatur
130 Clairemont Ave, Decatur, GA 30030

Register here: GAO Symposium
Contact Dana Lloyd at the Georgia Advocacy Office for more information

Monday, September 30, 2019

Georgia Department of Public Health - Survey

Every five years, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is required to complete a community scan on the health of women, mothers, infants, children, and teens including children and youth with special health care needs. Georgia DPH is collecting information across the state to identify needs and opportunities. Your input is very important to make sure the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program is guided by the needs of Georgia families and maternal and child health priority populations. Please complete the survey via the link below by October 31, 2019.  

Fall Festival @ ESP

Extra Special People (ESP) is hosting their annual Fall Festival on Sunday, October 20, from 4 - 7 pm!  This free, fully accessible event will include hay rides, games, a bounce house, snacks, and fun for the whole family!  Participants are encouraged to come in costume (of course)!  Fall Festival will be held at ESP's Camp Hooray, 193 Strickland Lane, Jefferson, GA. - plan to come join the fun!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Destination Dawgs Info Session

The University of Georgia has an inclusive college program especially for students with developmental disabilities, called Destination DawgsReflecting their tagline “Life is a journey. Be prepared for the trip”, the five-semester program’s goal is for graduates to gain new knowledge, skills, and competencies which lead to a rewarding adult life. This includes attaining a desired job, having an increased ability to live independently, and building relationships that expand their social networks. To learn more about Destination Dawgs, be sure to register for the Fall Information Session, coming up on Friday, October 11.  Here's the link to register: Destination Dawgs Fall 2019

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

ESP 360

ESP 360 is the afterschool activity program created by Extra Special People, especially for children and adults with developmental disabilities.  Registration is open!  A wide variety of classes and activities are available from 4 pm to 6 pm, including swimming, archery, theater, music and bowling!  Activities are held at the ESP Campus in Watkinsville, or offsite; for more information, visit this link: ESP 360 Fall 2019

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Butterfly Dreams Farm 5K

Butterfly Dreams Farm is having a 5K and Lap of Love fundraiser on Saturday, August 31!  The race will begin at Briarwood Baptist Church on Highway 53, with the 5K beginning at 8 am.  The Lap of Love is especially for all kids, and with feature the riders from Butterfly Dreams; it will be around 9 am, before the runner's awards.  Plan to come and support this great organization!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Parent Workshop Schedule!

Welcome back to a new school year!  We have developed new schedule of parent workshops, especially for parents of students with special needs!  You'll find the calendar below; there are topics for parents of students with a range of needs - we hope you find one that's of interest to you!
You can register for any of the workshops at this link: Parent Workshop Registration 2019-2020

Monday, May 20, 2019

ESP Summer Camp "Double Play"

Although Extra Special People's regular summer camp registration is full, some additional space has opened up through their summer "Double Play" program!  Two weeks of mini-camp are available, from 10 am - 2 pm at the ESP Campus in Watkinsville (with tubing in Helen on Fridays!): June 17-21 for ages 4 - 17, and July 22 - 26 for ages 18 and up.  Call ESP at 706-769-9333 for details!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Camp RSVP: Social Skills Summer Camp

Camp RSVP is a social skills therapy camp for children ages 5 - 18 diagnosed with autism, ADHD, social anxiety and other social disorders.  Kids will have an opportunity to learn skills for social situations, build friendships, experience acceptance - and have fun! The camp will be June 3 - 7, from 9 - 11 am, and will be guided by therapist Meg Abbott; registration is still being accepted, so to learn more, visit this link:

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Special Needs Summer Directory

Here is a resource that may help you plan for summer activities - the 2019 Special Needs Directory!  This guide is produced by Georgia Department of Education staff in the east metro Atlanta area, but includes many resources in northeast Georgia as well.  The guide includes tips for choosing a summer program for your child, a table of contents in alphabetical order as well as by category (autism, cognitive delays, vision impairment, etc.), as well as camp descriptions and contact information!  Access the guide here  2019 Special Needs Summer Directory

Monday, April 29, 2019

FYI: New Rules at Disney World

With summer approaching, you may be planning a visit to the "happiest place on earth"!  If so, note that both Disney World and Disneyland are implementing new rules regarding strollers and ice chests in the parks - see the image below!  For more information on traveling to Disney with a person with disabilities, visit "Tips for Special Needs at Disney" on Facebook, and the Disney website:

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Webinar: Autism & Down Syndrome

The National Down Syndrome Congress and The Autism Society have teamed up to present a free webinar: "When Autism and Down Syndrome Co-occur".  This free webinar will be offered on Wednesday, April 24, from 1:00 - 2:00 pm.  For more information and to register, visit this link:

Monday, April 15, 2019

Special Olympics Training Day

Oconee Schools held a Special Olympics Training Day at the track at North Oconee High School on Friday, April 12!  Athletes from every Oconee County school, elementary through high school, participated in track and field events, cheered on by peer helpers and family, and had a great morning together!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Study on Siblings and Social Play

Check out the flyer below - if you'd like to participate, you could help with research through Georgia State University on social play and sibling relationships, get strategies to help you support your children - and gift cards!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Parent Workshop: Parent's Rights and Special Education

On Thursday, March 21, Oconee County Schools is hosting a workshop through Parent to Parent of Georgia, "Sifting Through Your Parental Rights".  This training is designed to give parents and caregivers of students with disabilities an overview of their rights under special education law (IDEA), including information on evaluations, written notice, confidentiality, timelines, and dispute resolution strategies. We will meet in the conference room at Oconee Veterans Park (3500A Hog Mountain Road), from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. The workshop is free - be sure to reserve your spot at this link!

For more information on Parent to Parent, visit

Monday, February 25, 2019

"Special Pops" Tennis Spring Semester

Special Pops Tennis is an adaptive program specifically designed to share the lifetime sport of tennis with children & adults with special needs. The spring semester in Athens will begin soon, at the Athens-Clarke Tennis Center, 4460 Lexington Road!  No experience is necessary, and equipment is provided. Classes will begin on March 19, from 7 - 8:15 pm - and the program is free!  To register, contact Isabella at, or if you have questions, call Hope at 678-951-6880!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Info Session on Destination Dawgs!

The University of Georgia offers an inclusive college program just for students with disabilities - Destination Dawgs!  Students with intellectual disabilities, between the ages of 18 - 25, can participate in this 5 semester program and complete a UGA Certificate in Career Readiness. Want to learn more, and see if this program is right for your student?  Visit the Destination Dawgs website at   or register to attend the Spring Information Session on Friday, March 8UGA Destination Dawgs Info Session

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Save the Date! Parent Conference February 23

The 2019 Northeast Georgia disAbility Conference and Expo will be Saturday, February 23, from 8 am - 1 pm, at Piedmont College Athens.  Oconee County Schools is a sponsoring partner for this free annual event!   The conference is an excellent opportunity for parents to hear professionals speak on topics that are important to families of students with learning differences or disabilities; examples include guardianship, financial planning, college opportunities, and encouraging healthy and safe relationships for teenagers.  There are two sessions especially for teens/young adults, on building skills for independence!  The Expo will include numerous exhibitors from resource providers, support groups, recreation groups, and more - what a great opportunity to gather information and make connections! Plan to attend and "Focus on the Future"!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Gigi's Playhouse - A Playdate in Watkinsville!

Gigi's Playhouse is coming to Watkinsville on Saturday, January 26, at ActiveKidz Therapy (1071 Thomas Avenue) from 9:30 - 12:00.  Sponsored by the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta, this fun event will offer a variety of activities, for very young children through teens - see the flyer below!

Parent Workshop: Katie Beckett Waivers

On Monday, January 28, Oconee County Schools is sponsoring a free parent workshop on Georgia Medicaid and Katie Beckett Deeming Waivers.  Presented by Parent to Parent of Georgia, the workshop will give an overview of Medicaid programs and services for people with disabilities, and the Katie Beckett Waiver (for children under age 18).  Learn what the eligibility requirements are, how to apply, and tips on getting an application approved!  The workshop will be at the Oconee Civic Center at 6:30 pm.  You can register at this link:

"Friday Night Hangs" Social Skills Group in Athens

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

SuperFest 2019

Registration is open for SuperFest 2019, an inclusive football and cheer experience for kids 8+ with and without developmental disabilities!  This once-in-a-lifetime clinic, scrimmage and performance will be Saturday, February 2, 10 am - 1 pm - the day before the Superbowl in Atlanta. Participants will gather at the Georgia State Football Practice Facility and learn from professional football coaches, NFL alumni, and NFL cheerleaders, and have a gameday experience - the event is featured on ESPN. Registration information can be found here:

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Advocacy Days at the Capitol

The Georgia legislative session is beginning, and issues concerning people with disabilities need to be addressed!  Join the Georgia Council for Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) in Atlanta for Advocacy Days, to speak with elected officials and educate lawmakers on policies affecting our loved ones.  Plan to attend any or all 5 Advocacy Days: here are the dates and topics!

  • January 30 – Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Day – Join current students, future enrollees and alumni of Inclusive Post-Secondary Education programs here in Georgia as we educate our legislators about the increased employment opportunities these programs provide.
  • February 12 – Home & Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers Day – Join us to advocate for the protection of and increase of more funding to reduce waiting lists for HCBS services like Katie Beckett, NOW, COMP, ICWP, CCSP and SOURCE waivers.
  • February 14 – Everyone Out! – Let’s advocate for all those with disabilities stuck in institutional settings here in Georgia!
  • February 27 – Direct Support Professional (DSP) Day – Come speak with your legislators about the workforce shortage of DSPs here in Georgia as well as the importance of a caregiver registry open to all HCBS waivers. 
  • March 6 – Supported Decision-Making Day – Join us to educate our lawmakers on Supported Decision-Making as an alternative to guardianship for adults with disabilities.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Pediatric Clinic at UGA

Registration is now open for the University of Georgia's Spring Pediatric Exercise and Motor Development Clinic (PEMDC).  The PEMDC offers physical activity and aquatic instruction for children with disabilities, ages 2 through 14. Children learn through play and practice while working with UGA students; lesson plans are customized to each child.  The Clinic will meet on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 - 7:30 at the Ramsey Center on UGA campus, beginning January 29, and the cost is only $30.00! For more information and to apply for the class, contact Logan Herren (706-542-4230) or email Julie Evans at before January 21, 2019.