Announcements & Events


Upcoming Event Flyers

posted May 9, 2011, 5:11 AM by Jackie Yearby   [ updated Jun 1, 2011, 9:08 AM ]

- 13thFamily Cafe_2011-at-a-glance - June 3rd thru 5th
((Refer to attachment links below):


posted Mar 29, 2011, 4:21 PM by Jackie Yearby   [ updated May 20, 2011, 1:20 PM ]

Important: Support of the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act *

Dear Parent/Advocate,

 I’m writing to ask for your support of the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act, recently introduced in the U.S. Congress as

 S. 613 and H.R. 1208. This proposed legislation seeks to correct inequity brought about by a 2006 Supreme Court

decision and to realign parental rights in the IDEA with Congressional intent.  To show support for this proposed

legislation, I’m asking that you contact your members of the House and Senate on Wednesday, May 4, 2011.

On that day, disability rights advocates across the nation will take part in a coordinated effort to gain support for this legislation.


In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in Arlington Central School District v. Murphy) that parents cannot recover                   expert witness fees in IDEA due process hearings and court cases. Few parents can afford the money needed for                  medical, educational, and other expert testimony. Low- and middle-income parents are particularly impacted. The             situation is made even worse because parents have the burden of proof in these hearings.

For 35 years, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has required school districts to provide a free              appropriate public education to children with disabilities. But when a school fails to live up to this legal obligation,                 the IDEA provides that parents may seek an impartial hearing.

Parents must have expert witnesses for these hearings in order to prove that the school district did not provide their            children with a free appropriate public education. Expert witnesses can include psychologists; pediatricians and                 physicians; speech, occupational, physical and other therapists; educational experts; inclusion experts; positive                behavioral support experts, and others. While districts can use their own staff as expert witnesses, parents must                 pay for expert witnesses.


Like all civil rights statutes, the IDEA allows prevailing parents to recover their attorneys’ fees. The IDEA Fairness  Restoration Act – introduced as S. 613 in the Senate and H.R. 1028 in the House - will amend the IDEA,                            20 U.S.C. 1415(i)(3), to state that prevailing parties can also recover their expert witness fees at the same time.          Congress intended that parents have this right when it amended the IDEA in 1986.


On Wednesday, May 4th, please contact both your member of the House of Representatives and your two Senators           and ask them to Co-sponsor S.613 and H.R. 1208, the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act. It is best to call your             Representative (House) and Senators (Senate).  Calls are more personal and more attention is paid to a phone call.               Even a two-minute call makes a difference!


Call 202-224-3121 (TTY 202-225-1904) to be connected to your representatives’ office.  Ask for the staff member who                 handles education or disability issues.  Share with them the information below.


In addition to or in lieu of your call, please email your Congressman through special forms available on House of Representatives website and your Senators through a Web Form available on the Senate website.


Below is information you can share with Congress as you ask for their support. Use it for your phone calls and emails.   Please personalize your message with information about your child.

Dear Congressman/Senator,

Please co-sponsor the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act, H.R. 1208 and S.613.  The bill would restore Congress’                original intent in enacting the Handicapped Children’s Protection Act of 1986 that parents who prevail in                  administrative hearings and court actions be allowed to recover expert witness fees.  The bill would overturn the                2006 Supreme Court decision in Arlington Central School District v. Murphy.  When school districts provide an                education so poor that they fail their legal obligations, parents can seek an impartial due process hearing to                protect their child.  In those hearings parents must provide testimony from such expert witnesses as                  psychologists, doctors, therapists, and educational experts.  This testimony is needed to prove that a free                 appropriate public education was not provided to their children.  Few parents can afford expert witnesses.  Nearly               36% of children with disabilities live in families earning less than $25,000 a year; over two-thirds in families earn           less than $50,000 a year.  Without the ability to afford expert witnesses, the right to a due process hearing is  meaningless for most parents.  

This bill simply gives parents the same right as prevailing plaintiffs under the Americans with Disabilities Act and            other similar laws to recover expert fees.  When Congress passed the Handicapped Children’s Protection Act of               1986, it intended that parents would recover expert witness fees in IDEA cases, as clearly stated in the               Conference Report.  But the Murphy decision overrode that intent.  We now ask Congress to restore its original           intent and provide parents with the right to recover expert witness fees if they win their case.


I hope you will join with thousands of parents and advocates on Wednesday, May 4th in support of the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act.

Thank you for your continued efforts on behalf of students with learning disabilities.


Laura Kaloi
Public Policy Director
National Center for Learning Disabilities


The 13th Annual Family Cafe (Register Now)
June 3rd, 2011 12:00 AM   through   June 5th, 2011 5:00 PM
1000 West Buena Vista Drive
Disney Coronado Springs Resort
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
United States
Phone: 407-939-1020 (Reservations)
Phone: 850-224-4670 (The Family Café)

The 13th Annual Family Cafe will be held at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center on June 3-5, 2011. We are planning a great event, with all sorts of information and resources for you and your family. We hope you are looking forward to joining us!

Limited Financial Assistance is available to individuals with disabilties and their families. You can apply for Financial Assistance to cover the cost of your accommodations by noting your request on the registration form.

Rooms at the conference site are available at the reduced rate of $109 per night. To make a reservation, or learn more about the Coronado, please visit their web site or call 407/939-1020.

If you have questions, we are here to help. Call our office at 888/309-2233 or send us an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The 13th Annual Family Cafe promises to be a fun, informative event for people with disabilties and their families. As you will see from the listing of activities and breakout sessions included in the At-A-Glance, there is a very full weekend planned, with sessions on a wide range of topics. There is sure to be something for every family! We have continued our practice of organizing some sessions into "tracks" based on theme, and added a new track for Military Families for 2011.

If you'd like to plan what you which sessions you will attend, or just get a flavor for the event we have planned for you, please check out the At-A-Glance today!


This year's 13th Annual Family Cafe will feature all of the information, resources and networking opportunities that have made our past events so successful, including a range of engaging Breakout Sessions, a collection of engaging booth displays in our Exhibit Hall, and a chance to converse with state leaders at The 13th Annual Summit on Disabilities. It should be an educational, entertaining and empowering weekend. We hope to see you there!


Florida Institute of Technology


the Scott Center for Autism Treatment


Behavior Basics Boot Camp: Making your Classroom more Manageable

Instruction by Dr. Meagan Gregory and Dr. Alison Betz

Friday July 29th

9am- 3 pm with lunch included

3-5 pm (hands on planning for your classroom)

Cost: $50.00

Challenging Behavior

·         Identifying and assessing why challenging behavior occurs in the classroom

·         General prevention strategies for managing challenging behavior

·         Choosing interventions for challenging behavior in the classroom

·         How to take data on behaviors while teaching

·         Determining when outside support is needed


General Classroom Structure and Strategies

·         Setting up individual and group token economies

·         Group contingencies

·         Classroom and individual schedules

·         Basics of reinforcement

·         Getting students to participate

To reserve your spot contact: Colleen Middlebrooks, Outreach Coordinator

321-674-8106 x1


Very Special Arts - Call for Entries - Deadline: June 10th

posted Mar 29, 2011, 9:45 AM by Jackie Yearby   [ updated May 11, 2011, 7:40 PM ]

VSA seeks entries for Momentum, a national juried exhibition for emerging artists with disabilities, ages 16-25.
Deadline: June 10, 2011

Who can apply?

The call is open to artists ages 16-25 living in the United States who have a disability. As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Previous award recipients are not eligible to apply.


Submissions must be original work completed within the last three years and after the onset of disability.

Both representational and abstract work may be entered. Artwork may illustrate actual aspects of your motivation, such as the physical world or personal discoveries. Abstract work that relates to the inner world of emotions is also encouraged.

Eligible media include but are not limited to paintings and drawings (oil, watercolor, acrylic, pencil, or charcoal); fine art prints; photography; computer-generated prints; digital art; and time-based media (video, film). All work must have a visual component. Two-dimensional artwork should not exceed 60 inches in either dimension. Sculpture should not exceed 24 inches in any dimension.

Fragile or precious materials that cannot withstand handling, storage, and transportation will not be accepted.

VSA serves K-12 students as well as adults with disabilities. VSA reserves the right not to adjudicate any individual work(s) deemed inappropriate for our mission and audience. Artists should not submit work that contains religious or political themes, inappropriate language, or excessive nudity.

The jury process

A panel of distinguished practicing artists, curators, and arts administrators will determine work standards, review submitted materials, and select the 15 artists for the exhibition. Applicants are asked to present materials best exemplifying the extent and quality of their accomplishments. The jury will look for a demonstration of original ideas in the work submitted-imagination, competence, and the skillful use of materials. Work that suggests visual plagiarism, such as a direct copy of another artist's work, will not be accepted. All decisions are final.

Entry instructions

All materials should be submitted in digital format through CaFE™ at No slides will be accepted. Interested artists will be required to create a CaFE profile to apply.

Applicants are required to submit four separate works of art for consideration, uploading one JPEG image of each to the CaFE site. These images should represent the subject matter and techniques to which the artist is most committed. The judges are looking for overall quality in the submissions.

The images will be reviewed simultaneously with any applicable supplemental audio, video, or film materials (see below). The images will project exactly as uploaded and in a horizontal row during the jury process. Be sure to submit four different images rather than uploading the same image multiple times. If necessary, a detail may be included as one of the four images if the work requires it (for example, when using a large canvas or unusual medium).

Do not send original artwork.

A three-step guide to using the CaFE system:

·    Register on CaFE to create a user name and password that allows you to save information and return to it at any time.

·    Create your portfolio by formatting and uploading images of work.

·    After your portfolio has been completed, click on "Apply to Calls," find Momentum in the list of exhibitions, and click on "Apply to This Call."

Applicants must prepare their images to CaFE specifications and complete their submission prior to the midnight (U.S. Mountain Standard Time) deadline of June 10, 2011. It should take approximately two hours to prepare images and submit the application. Applicants are strongly urged to allow enough time to compensate for any unforeseen technical difficulties during the application process. Applicants may begin the application, save it, and return to it at any time prior to the submission deadline.

Supplemental material

Artists in all media must complete the full application on CaFE, including images that represent the visual component of the work. Please allocate at least one of the four JPEG images to a still from your video or film as appropriate.

For films and videos as well as installations that include video, film, or audio elements, supplements your application by submitting a CD or DVD. Videos must be ready to play using Windows Media Player, Real Player, or QuickTime. U.S.-compatible formats are encouraged; no VHS tapes or mini-DVDs will be accepted.

The jury will initially review two minutes of a video or audio file along with the four submitted images. Artists should note a specific two-minute segment to be reviewed, indicating the segment times in their submission. The jury may opt to view the entire video based on this segment.

Please send supplemental materials directly to: VSA, c/o Momentum call for art, 818 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20006. All supplemental materials must have a corresponding CaFE profile and be postmarked by June 10, 2011.

Applicants will be asked to enter or upload an artist's narrative (no more than one page) and a personal statement responding to the exhibition theme (no more than one paragraph) in Microsoft Word (.doc) or PDF format. This information will be used to create an artist's biography. A headshot or photograph of the artist in high-resolution (300 dpi) JPEG format is also required.

The artist's narrative should provide your artistic background information and answer each of the following questions:

·    When did you start creating art and what motivated you to begin?

·    What techniques and media do you use?

·    What role does art play in living with your disability? Does your disability affect your artwork in any way?

·    Do you remember a significant experience during your education where the arts played an important part? What about a favorite art teacher or art class?

·    When, and under what conditions, do you feel the arts were most effective in your education?

Submitted materials will not be returned. Materials may be archived in the VSA Artists Registry, a comprehensive online directory that is consulted when identifying artists with disabilities for professional opportunities.

VSA is not responsible for submissions that are incomplete or that fail to upload to a CaFE profile.




posted Mar 14, 2011, 3:11 AM by Jackie Yearby   [ updated May 9, 2011, 5:23 AM ]




Aquatics Director/Coach is "JD" or Jim Solomon. Please take the opportunity to visit his site & learn more about our coach,   


You can also go to, then hit JDS Aquatics. Here you can download the form, Junior/Masters/Swim Lesson's Swimmers Information. Please complete this form & bring it with you the first time you come to practice. 


Our practices will take place @ Palm Bay Aquatic Center (PBAC) 420 Community College Parkway Palm Bay (pool 321-952-2833, in case you get lost or our Florida's predictable weather). 

Directions: PBAC is located on the BCC Palm Bay Campus off of Malabar Rd. & I95, behind Lowe's, off of San Filippo.


Our practices are: Beginning, Tues., Jan. 25, 2011    5:30 - 6:30pm; Mon., Tues. & Thurs.    5:30 - 6:30pm

You can attend one, two or all 3 days, the choice is up to you.  Because our beautiful state's weather is so predicable, you can call the pool, 321-952-2833, to see if they're opened. You can also contact Jim on his cell, 321-368-4133.  There's no cost to the Athletes to participate in this program.


Although I'll be helping Jim, it's important that you understand Our Aquatics Director/Coach is Jim. Jim will also be sending out any future correspondences. Look for the subject line:"SPECIAL ATHLETES"


If you have older siblings or you'd like to volunteer to help, please contact Jim.


If you're interested in signing any of your children up for swim lessons, please contact the pool directly, 321-952-2833.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jim directly.






As Board Members of SPECIAL SPOTLIGHT THEATRE, we would like to share some exciting news with you and your students.  Would it be possible to give this into to the ESE teachers and/or the guidance department?

We are a special needs theatre group in  historic downtown  Melbourne  meeting  at the Henegar Center.   The long- term goal is to  provide cultural enrichment for all ages. This is an outstanding program to enhance social skills and eye/hand coordination.  Performing, dancing  and socializing help to promote high self-esteem and meet new friends.
Artistic director and choreographer, Marilyn Roget brought her experise and talents to us from New York City.  She has performed a valuable service to this community since 1982.
Melbourne High School Precision Dance Team, "Miracles," has performed with the troupe.


WHO:               Special Spotlight Theatre


WHAT:             Dance/theatre troupe


WHERE:          Henegar Center for the Performing Arts


WHEN::            6:30,  pm both Monday and Tuesday.

                        Monday, Start January 10th, for girls -  

                        Tuesday, Start January 11th for  boys .   New students:  One free  class.


WHY:              Annual  music/dance recital held in November.



 DISCLAIMER:   The views and information are not an expression or  
                         endorsement of  the Brevard County School District.  


Special Spotlight Theatre is a 501 C (3) non-profit organization operating in Brevard County.

The Florida Certificate number is 85-8012582010C-8 

Beverly  Platt            321 -768-6712

Beverly  Simmons     321-956-6255




posted Mar 14, 2011, 3:00 AM by Jackie Yearby   [ updated May 3, 2011, 8:32 PM ]

It has recently come to my attention that at this time there are several agencies and committees that are actively looking for parents who are interested in attending and serving on their boards.  Below is information regarding those position(s).
Together in Partnership
This is a 5-year strategic plan for all of Brevard County
Looking for a parent who is familiar with or has used social services within the community.
Meets one time a month

Healthy Start
Looking for parents with a child 0-5 years of age
Meets one time a month, generally on a Friday
Healthy Start  subcommittee on birth disparities in the African American community
A short-term commitment
The next meeting will be in March
If you would be interested in serving on any of these boards please contact
Sharon Tolson for further details at or
call 321-633-1000 extension 540




Is your school supporting your involvement in your child’s education?

The Florida Department of Education is conducting a survey designed to provide the state with information on how well schools are supporting parents’ involvement in their child’s education. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), states must report this information to the federal government on an annual basis.


February 1 through June 30, 2011.


All parents of children with disabilities and a current IEP in grades preschool to 12.

(Note: This survey is not about the gifted programs and services.)

Go online to to complete the survey.

Survey results are reported to the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, as part of Florida’s Annual Performance Report and are posted on the Florida Department of Education’s Website at Improvement activities are determined based on the survey report. Progress is monitored through the annual parent survey. No names will be released in any report. All responses are confidential.

What can you do?

The responses to the survey provide important information for planning and monitoring improvement activities. This survey, conducted once a year, provides parents with a unique opportunity to be heard. 


Dear Friend,

This is a special message for those families that receive services through the Children’s Medical Services (CMS) Network.

As part of our new Family to Family grant program, The Family Café has teamed up with the Florida Department of Health’s Children’s Medical Services (CMS) Network to conduct a survey of CMS parents. It’s important to have good information to help give CMS a clear picture of the community’s needs, so if you have received or currently receive services through CMS, we hope you can take a moment to complete this survey.

To complete the survey, please follow this link: <> .

For each question, please tell us if you: strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree. You may also answer with No Opinion for any questions with which you neither agree nor disagree.

Your individual responses are confidential and will not be shared. The answers will help make decisions to better serve children in the Children’s Medical Services (CMS) Network. Thank you for your time!!!

The Family Café



Hello all,

The Governor’s Commission on Disabilities is conducting a survey to understand the needs of Floridians with vision and hearing disabilities in emergencies. If you have a vision or hearing disability, please visit
to complete a 5 minute survey about your preferences. All responses are anonymous and will be combined into a report that will be used to make recommendations to state emergency planners. If you have trouble completing the survey on the link, please complete the Word version attached and send back to me.

Thank you for your consideration. Please share this link with anyone who may be interested in participating. If you have further questions or need assistance in completing the survey, please contact Stacia Woolverton at
(voice) (850) 487-3423 or toll free (voice or TTY) at (877) 232-4968 or by email at


Stacia Woolverton, Executive Assistant

For information regarding the Florida Discount Drug Card visit:
For information on disaster plans, please visit the Florida Department of Emergency Management's Web site at




FAST Inc. Assistive Technology Device Loan Program Needs Assessment Survey The Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and
Technology, Inc. is currently providing statewide and regional assistive technology device loan programs and we would appreciate your input as we conduct an assistive technology device loan needs assessment survey.  This needs assessment survey will assist us in our work to continue to provide effective and responsive assistive technology device loans that are helpful in addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities,
family members, disability organizations and other professionals who serve individuals with disabilities.

Please take a moment to complete this assistive technology device loan needs assessment survey as your input together with data on frequently
requested assistive technology devices to loan will help us determine what assistive technology devices would be most helpful to loan that
responds to individuals with disabilities and those who serve them.

Click on link provided to access survey.



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