Dear Colleague,
I know that we are all fatigued and upset that the coronavirus cases are surging, and we want it to be done! But, unfortunately, cases of the highly contagious COVID variants have been increasing recently in New Jersey and across the United States. 
Governor Murphy and health care professionals are urging everyone to be aware of the increase in COVID cases in New Jersey and to do what we can to keep ourselves and our families as healthy as possible — especially our loved ones with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The current surge in COVID cases is due to the Delta variant, but there are also concerns that the Omicron variant is likely to cause an additional spike in cases. 
These are the current recommendations on COVID vaccines:

  • Everyone age 5 and older should receive the two-shot COVID vaccination. We believe that a majority of the adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in New Jersey received the COVID vaccines that were available earlier this year. For anyone who has not yet been vaccinated, the COVID vaccines are widely available, and the link below provides information in real-time on vaccine availability.
  • The efficacy of the COVID vaccines wanes over a period of months, which has resulted in a considerable number of breakthrough cases of COVID among persons who were vaccinated at least six months ago. Therefore, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is strongly recommending that everyone 18 and older should receive a booster dose if it has been at least six months since the last dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least two months since receiving the J&J vaccine.  

New Jersey has a Vaccine Call Center, in multiple languages: 1-855-568-0545The Vaccine Call Center is available from 8 am to 8 pm Monday thru Friday, to register individuals in the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System, answer questions about the vaccine, provide contact information for sites, check registration status, and update registration information.
Where to get the COVID booster or the initial vaccinationPlease see this Vaccine Appointment finder link, from, to find a location in your area that is providing COVID vaccines for individuals who need the booster dose or the initial vaccination:
How to arrange for the booster or initial vaccine at home, if a loved one with IDD is not able to go to a vaccine site
How and where to get testedEspecially with the Christmas and New Year’s holidays approaching, it will be helpful to know how to get tested for COVID. See this link for information: free testing sites; free at-home testing; and local pharmacies (where payment is required).
What are some of the symptoms of COVID?Common COVID symptoms may include headache, loss of smell and taste, nasal congestion, cough, muscle pain, sore throat, fever, diarrhea, fatigue, or breathing difficulties. People with the same infection may have different symptoms, and their symptoms may change over time. Sometimes a person who tests positive for COVID has only one or two of the classic symptoms.
Recommendations from the CDC to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:Get the COVID vaccine and a booster (see above on eligibility for the booster).Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19.Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others who don’t live with you.Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19.Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.Avoid close contact with people who are sick.Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces daily. If someone is sick or has tested positive for COVID-19, disinfect frequently touched surfaces.Monitor your health daily.
Here are three additional links that may be of interest:
Helpful information on COVID-19, including FAQs, from nj.gov
Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines, from the CDC
The NJ Department of Health has a YouTube Channel with education and informational video clips
Please share this with others who may also be interested. Our best wishes to everyone for a very healthy, safe, and happy Holiday Season!  

Thank you,
Beverly RobertsDirector, Mainstreaming Medical CareThe Arc of New Jersey985 Livingston AvenueNorth Brunswick, NJ 08902
Click here to see The Arc of NJ’s COVID-19 information and resource page. Click here to access information from the State Of New Jersey on COVID-19.

Dial-in: (US) +1 314-666-1539
PIN: 384 274 706#504-plan

Our Guests will include Bloomfield Schools Superintendent Salvatore Gonçalves and Interim Head of Special Services, Suzanne Abendschoen.

Hope you join us – SEPAC Coordinator, Debi Gordon

Bloomfield SEPAC News Updates…SEPAC Meeting Notes…Upcoming Special Ed Workshops…DATH Toy Drive…Bloomfield Rec Dept launches new initiatives for Special kids… NJ DOE DARE TO DREAM CONFERENCES and more.


There was a short update about items discussed at the September Meeting with Superintendent Salvatore Goncalves and the results from the questions raised at that meeting

We are indebted to Brookdale Elementary School Resource Teacher Jason Triano for his informative presentation about a new study on how people with autism perceive things. Mr. Triano include  a series of photos that highlighted areas that people with autism may focus on and how these differences may help change the way educators teach, based upon these new perceptions.

Members contributed a good group of little successes their children have made recently during our Marvelous Marble ending session. The next Bloomfield SEPAC Meeting is Wednesday, January 20, 2016 at Brookdale Elementary School from 7 – 9 P.M. This Meeting is tentatively schedule to have Ms. Dawn Monaco from NJ SPAN giving a workshop on Transition for high school students into College, Careers and the world after school….




Information Gathering and Listening Session with Kevin Casey

Date: December 2, 2015

Time: 7:00 pm – 8:30 am

Location:  Show map
Bloomfield Civic Center
84 Broad Street

Phone: 973-803-7597

Kevin Casey is the new Executive Director of The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD). Mr. Casey has an extensive background in management and public policy which has a vital role in ensuring people with intellectual and other developmental
disabilities have a forum and a voice in matters that directly affect their lives.

For the past 11 years, Mr. Casey led the Illinois and Pennsylvania state divisions that oversee services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Previously, he led nonprofit organizations that provided services for people with developmental disabilities, including serving for 15 years as the director of Pennsylvania Protection & Advocacy, Inc. Mr. Casey is a graduate of Illinois State University with a degree in Social Sciences and a Master’s Degree in Special Education.

Regional Family Support Planning Council 4 (Essex County) is a group of volunteer family members of inividuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities who host public forums to obtain input to improve family support services provided by the Department of Human
Services (Division of Developmental Disabilities) and Department of Children and Families.

For additional information call: (973)-803-7597.

Family Support Organization of Essex County is funded by the Department of Children and Families to provide peer support, education and advocacy for families of children and youth with emotional, behavioral, mental health, and Intellectual/Developmental challenges.

For additional information call: (973) 395-1441.




Our Bloomfield SEPAC Meeting at BMS,  WED..7-9 PM will have Tips for You and Your Special Needs Child from and Occupational Therapist and the Bloomfield Police Youth Division Officers will explain a program where you can give identifying information to the Police Dept. about your child and their special needs; (sometimes kids are non-verbal as well) along with contact info. even add a photo, etc. Should you child wander away or get lost, this information will help speed the Police efforts to find and help your child.

Parents of Special Needs kids are among the most pro-active of all. Come on down to our meeting and help yourself learn how to help your child.  All are welcome.

Wright’s Law – The Special Ed Advocate – A Valuable Parent Resource



Wright’s Law publishes a newsletter called  “The Special Ed Advocate. Parents may find some helpful information there. Below is a sample of their latest newsletter:

Wright’s Law Newsletter


How Independent is a “School Approved” Evaluator?
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In This Issue …

Circulation: 97,336
ISSN: 1538-320
October 7, 2014

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If you disagree with the school district’s evaluation and/or recommendations, you have the right to request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at the school district’s expense.

The IEE must be conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the district.

School district’s often attempt to restrict the parent’s choice of evaluators to a list selected by the school.

  • Must parents choose from the school’s “approved list” of evaluators?
  • How independent is an evaluator who has been ‘approved’ by the school?

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate you’ll find the answers to these questions about IEEs and learn strategies for parents to use when requesting an Independent Educational Evaluation.

Please don’t hesitate to forward this issue to other friends, families, or colleagues.

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How Can We Get an Independent Evaluator of our Choice?

We requested an independent evaluation. The school said we have to use an evaluator from their “approved list.” Is this true?

No. But …

Parent attorney Gary Mayerson describes a strategy that parents can use to get an independent evaluation by an evaluator of their choice.

Must Parents Choose from the School’s List of Evaluators

In response to school policies that require parents to select an evaluator from a list of approved evaluators…

…this Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Policy Letter clarifies that parents have the right to choose their independent evaluator.