Colleges with Support Services: Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion – WEBINAR
Monday, March 15, 2021, 7 pm – 8:30 pm
Please RSVP:

Students with IEPs/504s and parents are invited to attend a panel discussion, which will include representatives from colleges and universities offering support services. The panel will share details about available academic, social, and living supports. Meghan Emanuelson, Director of Guidance, Darien High School, will moderate.  

The program is co-sponsored by Darien Library, DHSPA, and Darien SEPAC. Panelists include:

Sacred Heart University
Kathy Radziunas
Director, Office of Student Accessibility

St. Lawrence University
Lyndsay Malcomb
Senior Associate Director of Admissions & Mid-Atlantic Regional Counselor

Syracuse University
Karen M. Toole 
Academic Support | OnTrack at SU | Tutoring

Rutgers University
Erin G. Leuthold, MS Ed
Director, Office of Disability Services

New York University
Mary Liz McNamara, M.Ed., CRC
Associate Director, Moses Center for Student Accessibility

Neurodiversity in Schools: Creating a Culture of Belonging

Tuesday, February 9
 Noon – 1 PM, Webinar
 Please RSVP:

In a neurodiverse world, actively supporting inclusion and celebrating neurodiversity is critical — especially in our schools. This intentional choice requires more than just laminated strategies for our students with autism, ADHD and other learning differences; it requires a real change in mindset.

In this presentation, autism and inclusion specialist Lauren Hough Williams, MSEd, will explore neurodiversity and discuss the many ways we can support neurodivergent students in our schools. If we can find ways to shift to focusing on strengths, commit to the principles of universal design, and celebrate neurodiversity, we can create inclusive environments where all learners can thrive. 

Co-sponsored by Darien SEPAC, Darien Library and YWCA Darien/Norwalk.

Lauren Hough Williams, MSEd, is an autism and inclusion specialist, but first, she is an educator. She began her career as a special educator for the NYC Department of Education before working for over a decade to define, refine, and expand the NYU ASD Nest Support Project. Her development process includes partnering with the autistic community to shift the paradigm in special education from focusing on deficits to a focus on strengths. From Lauren’s experience working with educators, she has seen that those who know better can do better. She is committed to helping school systems understand the needs of their neurodiverse students so that they can build inclusive classrooms where everyone can thrive.

Lauren is the co-editor of The ASD Nest Model and co-author of Everyday Classroom Strategies and Practices for Supporting Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as several articles on autism-related subjects in special education and disabilities journals. She also co-designed the New York Transit Museum’s Subways Sleuths program for autistic train enthusiasts, and is a part of the NYU Connections Program for autistic undergraduate and graduate students.

Upcoming Presentation

Post High School and College Planning for Students on the Spectrum: Helping Our Students Prepare for Their Future and Find the Right PathJane Thierfeld Brown, EdD
Thursday, January 21, 2021
10:00- 11:00 AM


Transitioning from high school to college or employment can be difficult for any student, but especially for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The structure and predictability provided in high school are gone. The social and academic supports these students may have relied on during their high school years are suddenly removed. The organization, communication, social, and “life” skills required in a college or employment setting are heightened. Our role as “parent” changes legally when our “child” turns 18.

For all these reasons, it is important to encourage students with ASD to develop critical academic, social, and life skills while in high school so they can transition to college or employment successfully. Jane Thierfeld Brown, EdD, Director of College Autism Spectrum and former Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale Child Study, will provide helpful tips for how to help our students develop the necessary skills for life beyond high school and plan for college and employment.

More about Jane Thierfeld Brown

Co-sponsored by SPED*NET WiltonWilton Public SchoolsWilton SEPTA, and Darien SEPAC

SPED*NET Wilton does not provide medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The material in this webinar is provided for educational purposes only.


Reading Progress and Dyslexia during the Pandemic
National Reading Expert: Dr. Margie Gillis
Tuesday, January 12, Noon – 1 PM, Webinar


Join us for an educational presentation on understanding reading progress and dyslexia by reading expert, Dr. Margie Gillis. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)/Dyslexia affects 80% of those diagnosed with learning disabilities.  In the current environment, many parents are struggling to understand if their child is making progress. 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. The presentation is co-sponsored by Darien SEPAC and Darien Library.

Margie B. Gillis, Ed.D is a nationally recognized literacy expert and a Certified Academic Language Therapist who has been teaching children of all ages to read for over 40 years. In 2009, Margie founded Literacy How, Inc. to provide professional development opportunities and coaching for teachers on how best to implement evidence-based reading practices in the classroom. Margie has worked at the policy level through the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE). She was instrumental in Connecticut’s adoption of a universal screening test for K-3 students, implementing the Connecticut Foundations of Reading Test as part of the certification process for pre-service teachers, and is a member of the Connecticut Literacy Model management team. Margie is an academic advisor for and She is on the Editorial Board of the International Dyslexia Association, Perspectives and The Reading League Journal. In her capacity as Research Affiliate at Haskins Laboratories, Margie explores opportunities to empower teaching excellence. In 2010, Margie founded the Anne E. Fowler Foundation to support scholarships for teachers for graduate work in reading and language development

Video & Slides – CSDE & CPAC Presentation

Video Link & Presentation Slides now available 

A Conversation with CSDE Division Director of Special Education and CPAC Co-Director

Topics discussed:

Planning for virtual PPTs 
Assessing regression
Defining priority for in-person instruction
IEP Implementation plans & parent involvement
The requirement to fully implement IEPs 

CSDE priority standards for instructional content

Jan 5 – Webinar

Please join us for a special presentation by CT State Department of Education (CSDE), Division Director of Special Education, Bryan Klimkiewicz, and Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC) Co-Director Jane Hampton-Smith.

They will discuss the most up-to-date state education guidance and regulations regarding Covid-19 and delivery of special education. In addition, they will share guidance, resources, and supports available to parents to help their children during this challenging time.