What is SEPAG?

    Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG) is a parent-led advocacy group focused on policies, programs, and practices within the Saddle Brook School District. Families and caregivers of student(s) with learning needs or students eligible for or receiving services under an IEP or 504 plan are encouraged to attend SEPAG Meetings.

    SEPAG provides parents with tools and information to work collaboratively with the school district and to be more effective advocates for their children with special educational needs. Our meetings consist of featured conversations/ presentations as well as support, resource sharing, and the ability to connect with other members of the special education community. Meetings with featured topics are our attempt to get those with similar concerns in the same room at the same time, but all are always welcome! SEPAG will be meeting via Zoom on the third Tuesday of every month.

    Next meeting-June 21 at 7 PM.

    Topic:  Concerns, Successes & Failures


    “Parenting and Family Guide” for Programs in Bergen County June 2022



    Disability Rights New Jersey, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to advancing and protecting the human, civil, and legal rights of people with disabilities.

    • We aggressively investigate reports of abuse and neglect wherever a person with a disability may be receiving services.
    • We thoroughly monitor facilities and community-based programs to ensure that people living in those facilities and using those services are free from abuse and neglect, and that their rights are not violated.
    • We provide legal representation, without charge, to people with disabilities in cases that fall within our priority setting process.
    • We are dedicated to providing education, training, and technical assistance to people with disabilities, their families and advocates, the agencies that service them, and policy makers among others.
    • We provide state-of-the-art access to information and advice about assistive technology.
    Read Our Story


    Ready to Transition into DDD and the Adult Service System but not sure what steps to take next? 

    Join Disability Services and Advocacy, LLC; Support Coordination Agency, as their panelist of experts host a free informational webinar. This live webinar will be full of great information for individuals, family members and providers. Inside this webinar you will be provided with a step by step road map into transitioning into DDD and the Adult Social Service System as well as a Q & A session.

    Be sure to register today! 

    New Jersey Partners in Policymaking

    2022-2023 Hybrid Program Now Accepting Applications

    Deadline: June 30, 2022

    NJ Partners in Policymaking graphic

    New Jersey Partners in Policymaking is a leadership development and advocacy education program for adults with developmental disabilities (over age 21) and family members of children and transition age youth available through collaboration between The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, and Disability Rights New Jersey. The goal of this program is to prepare the next generation of disability advocates to work toward meaningful change in our state. The Boggs Center is committed to building a diverse group of participants that is reflective of the needs, geography, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds of New Jersey.

    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring some uncertainty. The 2022-2023 Partners in Policymaking sessions are currently scheduled to take place using a hybrid model which combines in-person and virtual learning. A fully virtual option for those that are immunocompromised or have an immunocompromised family member that prevents in-person participation will be made available.

    Through participation in in-person and virtual educational leadership
    development sessions and completion of online assignments,
    selected participants learn about best practices and important
    areas for advocacy from nationally-known experts.
    Upon completion of the program, participants will
    have developed the knowledge and skills needed to:

    Advocate for opportunities and supports that promote self-determination, independence, and inclusion in all aspects of community life.

    Be members of advisory boards and committees.

    Work alongside policymakers and state agencies.

    Requirements of Participation

    Participation in all educational leadership development sessions held in New Brunswick, NJ and virtually.

    • In-Person sessions will be held one weekend a month in September, November, February, and April (Friday 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm and Saturday 8:30 am – 3:00 pm)
    • Virtual sessions will be held one weekend a month in October, December, January, and March (Friday 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am –1:00 pm) and one Wednesday a month from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm from September through April.

    Completion of between session online assignments. These assignments will be given to enhance learning between online sessions and may include watching videos and other assignments.

    Completion of homework assignments, including the development of an Advocacy Action Plan .   

    Apply to the 2022-2023 Partners in Policymaking Program

    New Jersey Partners in Policymaking is committed to building a diverse group of participants that is reflective of the needs, geography, and cultural and ethnic backgrounds of New Jersey. Individuals from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds and those who identify as LGBTQ+ are encouraged to apply. The Partners program is now accepting applications from people with developmental disabilities and family members for the class of 2022-2023.

    Download the application to learn more about the program and apply

    Applications must be received by June 30, 2022. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by July 31, 2022.


    Program Takeaways video featuring the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Class of 2017-2018

    Program Takeaways video featuring the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Class of 2018-2019

    Graduation Panel Presentation featuring the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Class of 2019-2020

    Graduation Panel Presentation featuring the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Class of 2020-2021


    Project Director: Colleen McLaughlin

    Project Staff: Jaime Zahid



    12-Week EPIC Parenting Education and Support Groups: starting 7/13/22 at 12:15 p.m. or 7:15 p.m.

    Session #1:  “Characteristics of an Effective, Loving Parent”:  Parents discuss the many responsibilities of parenthood; begin to build confidence in what they are doing well;and identify areas in which they hope to improve.

    Session #2:   “Building a Healthy Self-Esteem in Our Children and Ourselves”:  Group becomes familiar with the self-esteem concept of “IALAC”, “I am lovable and capable”. Parents learn which of their actions and statements build children up and which of their actions and statements damage their child’s self-image. Parents also set goals for improving their own self-esteem.

    Session: #3:  “Structure, Limits, and Boundaries: How to Make a Rule That Works”: Participants begin to understand that a workable rule must be reasonable, enforceable, clearly communicated, and consistent. Parents role-play discussing the implementation of a new rule with their child.

    Session #4: “How to Discipline in a Loving Way”: Parents discuss behaviors that might cause one to over-react, review highlights of normal child development, and learn that many disagreeable behaviors are age-appropriate. Positive parental responses to negative behaviors are reviewed and explored.

    Session #5: “Listening and Responding to Children”: Communication skills are practiced and better understood, including the effects of body language and tone of voice. Parents learn the listening skills of mirroring, validating, and empathizing.

    Session #6: “Knowing Ourselves as Parents: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going”:  Group members reflect on their special gifts before sharing their personal histories and particular reasons for attending the group. Goals for the future are then set by each group member.

    Session #7: “Sexuality Education Begins at Home”: Parents begin to understand that children begin to learn about caring, relationships, and their own bodies from the day they are born. Parents see that they can acquire all the knowledge they need in their role as primary sex educator.

    Session #8: Substance Misuse Prevention: Parents learn about addictions; learn how to guide their children toward healthy choices; how to identify signs and symptoms of substance misuse, and how to talk to their children about alcohol and other drugs.

    Session #9: “Promoting a Peaceful Environment at Home”: Verbal abuse is explored. Through the use of “‘I’ messages” and role-play, parents learn how to communicate their feelings and deliver a formal reprimand to a child in a caring way.

    Session #10: “Coping with Daily Problems: Stress Management”: Parents identify stress triggers and where they experience that stress in their bodies. Effective coping, as opposed to becoming a victim of stress is examined.  Several stress reduction techniques are practiced.

    Session #11: “Helping Children to Resolve Their Conflicts”: Parents learn how and when to intervene in children’s squabbles. They learn a “Peace Process”; how to coach children through it; how to use it themselves; and that conflict, when resolved respectfully, is a vehicle for growth.

    Session #12: “Building Bridges Between Parent and Child and to the Future”: Participants discuss their present confidence as parents and identify any need for continued help and support. They establish on-going plans for keeping a loving connection with their children.

    To ENROLL: Contact: Lannie Jaconia, Program Coordinator, EPIC Parenting Education and Support Program, ljaconia@cafsnj.org or (201) 740-7110



    Padre de recursos SPAN (SRP) - Español

    Únase a nosotros en este curso virtual de 8 semanas para obtener información fundamental sobre educación y atención médica.

    Durante la capacitación de SRP, los participantes aprenden sobre las leyes y reglamentos de educación y derechos civiles, así como el proceso de educación especial y las estrategias para trabajar con el equipo escolar para garantizar programas educativos apropiados y servicios relacionados para niños y jóvenes. Los asistentes, tanto padres como profesionales, reciben una amplia capacitación y apoyo continuo para ayudarlos a comprender la dinámica de los sistemas que atienden a niños con discapacidades y necesidades especiales de atención médica.

    El curso de SRP se proporciona a través de una combinación de actividades de aprendizaje asincrónicas en el aula de Google combinadas con clases virtuales sincrónicas semanales. Las personas que completan toda la serie de capacitación reciben una compilación de recursos locales, estatales y nacionales útiles y luego estarán preparados para compartir información con las familias sobre problemas o inquietudes que puedan tener sobre la educación y el desarrollo de sus hijos.

    Los temas cubiertos en el curso SRP de 8 semanas incluyen:

    1 – Leyes y Reglamentos

    2 – Derechos de los padres en la educación especial

    3 - Sistemas de niveles múltiples de apoyo, sistemas de intervención y remisión y evaluación de educación especial

    4 – IEP: metas desafiantes y altas expectativas en el LRE

    5 – Apoyo al Comportamiento Positivo y Disciplina Escolar

    6 – Transición a la edad adulta

    7 – Promoción de la salud

    8 – Abogacía y Liderazgo de Sistemas

    Presentado por: varios miembros del equipo SPAN

    Para asistencia en español, contacte a

    Jeannette Mejias jmejias@spanadvocacy.org

    Regístrese aquí

    Is your child's placement 

    The pandemic has underscored the need for flexible, effective, high-quality special education services, smaller classes, and emotional support services. If your child's program is not meeting their needs, talk to your Child Study Team case manager about your concerns. It might be time to consider a change in placement.
    Our Outreach Coordinator, Joanne DeSimone, can help. She can offer information, referral, guidance, and support. As a former special education teacher and the parent of two sons with disabilities, she knows the ropes and can guide parents through common special education advocacy issues.
    Help is a phone call away: 973-407-0596

    Annual NJ Transition Conference
    The Annual NJ Youth Transition Conference was created for youth ages 14-21+ who experience I/DD, their families, caregivers, and the professionals who serve them.
    October 3 - 7th, 2022


    Coffee and Self-Care with the Nurtured Heart Approach® (4-Session Series)



    Should Kids Take Mental Health Days?

    When taking a break is helpful (and when it's not)

    Read the article here

    Download PDF