Understanding ADHD: Best Practices

Thursday, October 26th, from 9:30-11 AM
Please RSVP: dariensepac@gmail.com

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: dariensepac@gmail.com

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 (lynneandren@yahoo.com) or Kara Callahan (kwcallahan@icloud.com).

Integrated Improvisational Music & Drama with Billy Ayres

Thursday, April 20, 4:30 pm – 6 pm
Darien Library Community Room
All ages welcome
RSVP: dariensepac@gmail.com

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. http://www.Lifelinetheaterinc.org.

Understanding Dyslexia/Reading Disabilities by Dr. Margie Gillis

Thursday, April 6th
Darien Library Community Room
RSVP: dariensepac@gmail.com (Please note READING in subject line)

Please join us for an educational presentation on Understanding Dyslexia/Reading Disabilities by reading expert, Dr. Margie Gillis.

Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)/Dyslexia affects 80% of those diagnosed with learning disabilities. What do parents and educators need to know to help students reach their full potential? From identification and instruction to advocacy and empowerment, Dr. Margie Gillis will discuss the process of getting the best support for every child who needs it and will answer your questions. Topics will include:
What is dyslexia?
What are the signs of dyslexia?
How is it diagnosed?
Expert teaching is the best treatment
What CT law says about dyslexia
Orton-Gillingham training and certification
Parents and teachers as advocates

The presentation is co-sponsored by Darien SEPAC and Darien Library.
Dr. Margie Gillis is the president of Literacy How and a research affiliate at Fairfield University and Haskins Labs. Among her many accomplishments and presentations, she was recently (January 2017) the primary presenter of the live webinar, “Using Literacy Screening Data to Support Students with Reading Difficulties,” attended by approximately 300 Connecticut educators and hosted by the State Education Resource Center of CT (SERC) and the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE).

Colleges with Support Services Panel

Wednesday, March 29th
7:15 PM
Darien Library Community Room
Please RSVP to dariensepac@gmail.com

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:

Wesleyan University
Laura J. Patey, M. Ed., Associate Dean for Student Academic Resources

University of Connecticut
Lindsay Morales, M.A., Strategy Instructor, Center for Students with Disabilities

Mitchell College
Jacqueline Jewett, Director of Individualized Services, Director of Thames Academy

Fairleigh Dickinson University
William N. Presutti, MS, Florham Campus Director of the Regional Center, Adjunct Instructor in the Learning Disabilities Program