Left to right: Shannon Keyes
Saturday May 6th at Howick Elementary, The Special Needs Advisory Committee hosted a successful 3rd parent outreach day.
Spring Into Action was geared for advocacy, with informational workshops intended to provide tools for parents of children with learning difficulties. Parent sub-committee, Shannon Keyes, Candy Champagne, Eric Loiselle, Sandra Brais, and NFSB representative, Brenda Smylie, organized the well-received event.
Attendance was up from last year, as a full room listened to inspiring presenters. Parents were encouraged to share their concerns and ask questions as three workshops took place over the course of the day. The first, given by Brenda Smylie, the Coordinator of Complementary services of the NFSB, focused on Individualized Education Plans.
“Every student with special needs has an IEP,” organizer Shannon Keyes explained. “It is a legal document that establishes a student’s educational program and plan. It’s extremely important for parents to understand all of the details of their child’s plan.” Presenter Brenda Smylie explained IEPs and shared her 30 years experience as a special needs teacher and consultant with the group.
Greg Anber, former NFSB Behavioral Consultant and current Student Teacher Supervisor at McGill hosted the second workshop. His discussion covered topics relevant to parents like: how to cope with oppositional defiance; dealing with difficult situations between parents and educators; and the importance of prioritizing rest for both parents and teachers. “Fatigue makes cowards of us all. Get some rest!” he encouraged the group.
The afternoon concluded with a talk from Maureen Hunt on the role of parents who navigate the school system with a special needs child. As a parent who successfully advocated for her son (now a LBPSB graduate), she offered information on the vital role of parent involvement, with an emphasis on compassion and self-care.
This was the first year that this event was held in the Valley. “Parents were very receptive to it being hosted here,” Keyes said. “Howick Elementary was the perfect set up. A lot of the time events take place in Chateauguay, so those out here certainly appreciated not having to travel as far!”
For more information on The Special Needs Advisory Committee and next year’s event please contact email@example.com.