Author Archives: dariensepac

Colleges with Support Services Panel

Monday, April 2nd
7:15 PM
Darien Library Community Room
Please RSVP to

Students with IEPs/504s and parents are invited to attend a panel discussion, which will include representatives from colleges offering support services. The panel will share details about available academic, social and living supports. Paul Ribeiro, Director of Guidance, Darien High School, will moderate. Darien SEPAC, DHSPA, Darien Public Schools and Darien Library are sponsoring this evening program. Panelists will include:

College Steps at Norwalk Community College
Tim Pearson
Program Coordinator

Hofstra University
Julie Yindra
Director, Student Access Service

Iona College
Amanda Marino
Assistant Director, College Assistance Program

Landmark College
Max McAuley
Assistant Director of Admissions

Marist College
Susan Jenkins
Learning Specialist/Interim Assistant Director
Krista Ackert
Learning Specialist/Assistant Director
Office of Accommodations and Accessibility


Understanding Support Services at Middlesex Middle School

November 16, 9:30am to 10:30am, MMS Library Media Center


A panel of educators and administrators will:
• provide an overview of SRBI, 504 and special education services
• outline roles and responsibilities of school team and administrators
• explain assessment tools, including AIMSWEB
• describe social/emotional student support
 MMS SRBI Specialists: Michelle Pagliaro and Dan Kensek
MMS School Psychologist: Laurel Crowther
MMS School Counselor: Marc Power
MMS Special Education Department Chair: Mary Scalise
MMS Teachers: Lindsay Wrinn and Deb Westerback
MMS Administrators: Shelley Somers (principal), Andrew Byrne and Garan Mullin (assistant principals)
Program Director for Special Education, Secondary Level: Scott McCarthy
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction: Susie Da Silva
Co-sponsored by MPA, DPS and SEPAC

Understanding ADHD: Best Practices

Thursday, October 26th, from 9:30-11 AM
Please RSVP:

On Thursday, October 26th, from 9:30-11 AM, David Anderson, PhD, senior director of the ADHD and Behavior Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute, will present Understanding ADHD: Best Practices, in the Darien Library Community Room.

Dr. Anderson will outline the signs, symptoms and diagnosis of ADHD. He will address effective behavior strategies at home, plus how to incorporate skill-building and support at school.

Dr. Anderson specializes in evaluating and treating children and adolescents with ADHD and behavior disorders, and he also has broad experience with anxiety and mood disorders. His expertise includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), behavioral parent training, school-based consultation and classroom behavioral support.

The Child Mind Institute is an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders.

Darien Library, Darien SEPAC and Darien Public Schools are pleased to co-sponsor this program.

DORS Level-Up Program

Wednesday, October 11, 9:30-11 am
DHS, Room  A106

Leah Pavone from the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) will discuss their services, including the Level Up program for the 16 – 21 year old population. DORS Level Up provides students with the tools, training and resources to work competitively and forge a path to independence. Through this program students who have an IEP or 504 plan can receive vocational services, which may be made available in the school setting, outside of school hours or in the summer months.
This program is sponsored by DHSPA, Darien SEPAC and DPS. 


RSVP today!


An Introduction to the Department of Developmental Services
(DDS) and the Department of Rehabilitation Services
Wednesday, September 27th, 7:15 PM, DHS, Room A 206
Please RSVP:

Darien SEPAC, DHSPA and Darien Public Schools are pleased to sponsor a presentation of the services available for students with disabilities in Connecticut.

Brian Smith, DDS Assistant Regional Director, will provide an overview of DDS programs and services that may be available to your child now, and as they transition to adult life. He will review state and federal benefit programs, Connecticut’s Autism Waiver programs and guardianship.

Leah Pavone from the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) will discuss their services, including the Level Up program for the 16 -21 year old population.

DORS Level Up provides students with the tools, training and resources to work competitively and forge a path to independence. Through this program, students who have an IEP, or 504 plan, can receive vocational services which may be made available in the school setting, outside of school hours or in the summer months.

Links to eligibility criteria are available below.|

Darien SEPAC Reading Buddy Program

Darien SEPAC is pleased to present a new Reading Buddy Program. The program, piloted successfully in the winter of 2016/17 with space and books provided by Darien Library, is now open to student volunteers.

What is a Reading Buddy Program? It’s older kids (“Big Reading Buddies”) paired with younger kids (“Little Reading Buddies”) for one-to-one reading time. Research has shown that academic performance, motivation to read, reading skills, and self-confidence are all gained through participation in these programs. Two SEPAC Representatives; Lynne Andren, who has a MA in Reading and Kara Callahan, who has a MS in Special Education, run the program, with some assistance from SEPAC co-chairs Courtney Darby and Tricia Bresnahan. Both Andren and Callahan are thrilled with the idea of helping parents through the sometimes dreaded daily reading homework requirement while helping the buddies develop new friendships and foster a love of reading. The group meets once a week on Thursday afternoons from 4:00-5:00 PM. Either buddy can require support; in fact this program is perfect for a teen who is struggling with reading.  For program information or to sign-up, contact Lynne Andren ( or Kara Callahan (

Integrated Improvisational Music & Drama with Billy Ayres

Thursday, April 20, 4:30 pm – 6 pm
Darien Library Community Room
All ages welcome

SEPAC and Darien Library are excited to present integrated improvisational music and drama with Billy Ayres, an award-winning musician and teacher. Billy uses the integrated arts — acting, singing, joking, dancing, drawing — to help children connect and open up. When a child’s talents are unlocked and allowed to shine, their self-esteem, self-confidence, and social skills are enhanced.

Billy will first explain his process to parents, caregivers and educators while children take part in a read-aloud. Then kids will be invited on stage to collaborate and perform.

Billy Ayres is a multi-award winning singer, musician, writer and director specializing in improvisational musical theater with special needs children and adults. Billy has a Masters degree in Special Education and a B.S. in Psychology, is the Musical Theater Workshop Coordinator at Arts for Healing in New Canaan, and has created, directed and performed in more than 100 original musicals at the Westchester Center for the Arts, The Greenwich Youth Stage and Ability Beyond Disability. Billy is the founder of Lifeline Theater & Art Center, a non-profit organization that provides an outlet for unlocking the potential of children and adults with special needs through singing, dancing, artwork and other integrated arts and life skills programs.