The parents leading the newly formed Collaborative Parents Committee in Hasbrouck Heights want fellow parents of special needs students to know they don’t have to go it alone.
The parent-led group held its first official meeting Tuesday night bringing together parents of students with special needs with the goal of working to support each other while sharing ideas and resources, as they see their children through their journeys.
Chris Peters, president, opened up about some of the challenges and situations parents like herself have encountered. Each of them may experienced something different with their children but together they can share ideas and figure things out together, she said.
The committee works with the school district as it has the support of the Board of Education and Special Services Director Dr. Matthew Helfant.
The CPC does not set out to advocate for any one particular student but rather it represents all students with parents coming together as a community in support of all special needs students.
The committee will meet once each month. Some months guest speakers will address the group on a number of related topics or resources and other months will be devoted to support and discussion, Peters explained.
Janet Hess, vice president, said sharing experiences is highly encouraged as “chances are if you’ve experienced it, someone else has to.”
Peters briefed the audience on a number of local resources in workshops and meetings that are open to parents on all different subjects that may be extremely helpful to their child’s situation.
One of the CPC’s many goals is to establish more recognition for those with special needs in the community. Peters says they are working with the borough’s recreation department to bring in programs that are open to all which kids with different abilities can take part in as well.
Additional goals include anti-bullying programs geared towards special needs program, social skills group and peer mentor training which can help others in the community have a better understanding of those with special needs.
Each of the district’s four schools has one CPC representative including one for students sent out-of-district. Peters said they are also working with the district to ensure parents of the out-of-district students receive the same information regarding community events which are sent to parents of in-district students.
The next meeting of the CPC is set for Nov. 20 which will feature guest speaker Ramona Carmeci from the Family Support Center. Meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. in the media center at the high school media center.
Remaining meeting dates for the 2012-2013 are: Nov. 20, Jan. 15, Feb. 26, March 19, April 16 and May 21. There will be no meeting in December.
Information is also available through the district’s website or email Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org.