Children and Youth

First Annual Special Education Parent Conference and Resource Fair

A day of knowledge and empowerment for the parents of the special needs community.

This article was contributed by Norma Nichols with the San Benito County Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and written by Gwen Baquiran, SELPA Program Specialist.

For families whose children, teens or adults have special needs, the task of finding available resources is daunting. The San Benito County Community Advisory Committee (CAC) along with San Benito County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) linked families to organizations and local education agencies for access to supportive resources and services with its first annual Special Education Parent Conference and Resource Fair. The free event took place at Ladd Lane Elementary School on Oct. 20, 2018.   

The highlights of the event conference were the presentations that granted the parents to be better acquainted with Special Education. The key presenter was Laurie Reynolds, from Fagen Friedman and Fulfrost LLP, who gave a workshop on Parent Participation in the IEP Process that focused on parent’s rights in the IEP and productive IEP meetings. Other amazing workshop presenters were: Parents Helping Parents on IEP Records and Organization, Department of Rehabilitation on Pre-Employment, State Council on Developmental Disability for Introduction to Inclusion and San Benito High School‘s Dr. Paulette Cobb and Melissa Casas presented on Transition to high school.

Over 20 organizations including school districts within San Benito County participated in the resource fair, setting up tables with freebies, informational resources and kits to help support families. The resource fair featured a dance presentation by Yamamoto Hula Ohana which entertained families and children with special needs. ARTI-Culture launched a paint party which allowed kids of different ages and abilities to have fun and be creative.

SELPA Program Specialist Gwen Baquiran and CAC Chairperson Norma Nichols coordinated and organized this important event as a one-stop shop wealth of resources. It did take the entire village to make this event successful. Organizations like Special Parents Information Network contributed resources to ensure food and drinks at the event. Local education agencies such as Hollister School District, San Benito County Office of Education, ECSE, San Benito High School, and North County Joint Union School District helped in disseminating flyers to parents, provided volunteers for child care and translation as well as informational resources to families.

The CAC is composed of parent representatives from school districts within the SELPA. Its vision is to encourage parents to actively participate and become knowledgeable, empowered and effective partners in the development and implementation of learning experiences for students with special needs. This committee wholeheartedly appreciates all the organizations, volunteer staff and teachers, students, schools and parents who made this event a huge success. It is committed to reach out to all families through special needs resource fair and workshops every school year. 


Community Advisory Committee (San Benito SELPA)

Community Advisory Committee is the parent voice for our Special Education Local Plan Area Of San Benito County.