M'ville event to offer special needs resources

2013-04-20T19:47:00Z 2013-04-20T23:12:21Z M'ville event to offer special needs resourcesBy Vanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3244 nwitimes.com

MERRILLVILLE | An upcoming event will help take the guesswork out of finding resources for people with disabilities.

The Knowledge Series, hosted by AccessAbilities in Merrillville, is geared for people who have loved ones with disabilities, such as autism, mental retardation and cerebral palsy.

"We have countless families who, on a regular basis, struggle to locate resources, information and support for their loved ones with a disability," said Jason Smola, a behavior clinician with AccessAbilities.

The company is a Medicaid waiver provider, which contracts through the state to offer services, such as behavior management and music therapy, to people with disabilities.

"It gives these individuals a chance to live to their full potential," Smola said.

The Knowledge Series will last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 4 at Radisson Star Plaza. Attendees can choose one of two tracks.

Speakers for the first track will discuss autism, special education and mental health concerns. Speakers for the second track will discuss home modifications, inclusive play, obtaining wheelchair accessible transportation and the special needs planning process.

Both will include a music therapy showcase at noon.

Families seeking help often think they have to "grin and bear it," Smola said. The Knowledge Series makes them aware of available options and resources, he said.

Smola hopes the event will grow each year, eventually becoming a disability awareness convention in Northwest Indiana.

The event is free, but seating is limited. Reservations can be made by contacting Smola at jasons@accessabilitiesinc.com or (219) 629-6058.

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