SPAN The Bridge Newsletter pictorial graphic.  Your weekly access to SPAN news, resources and events.

May 15, 2024 | Issue 130 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News

Photo of NTACT Capacity Building Institute panelists

Pictured left to right are Erin Black, NTACT-C YETI member; Valerie C. Williams, Director, OSEP; Dante Q. Allen, Commissioner, RSA; and SPAN's own Johan Mora Valverde.

NTACT-C General Session Includes YETI Youth In Interactive Transition Discussion

On May 9, at the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition: The Collaborative (NTACT:C) Capacity Building Institute, the General Session was comprised of a panel discussion that included members of the NTACT:C Youth Engagement Transition Initiative (YETI) in conversation with Valerie C. Williams, Director, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education and Dante Q. Allen, Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).

This interactive session, moderated by SPAN's own Youth Engagement Manager, Johan Mora Valverde, focused on state and local collaborations and strategic planning to enhance services and outcomes for transitioning students and youth.

To learn more about SPAN's transition supportive services and programs, please click here.

Mental Health America Logo

Resources for Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month and SPAN is raising awareness of the important role mental health plays in our lives. We are encouraging members of the community to take action toward protecting their mental health and overall well-being.

This May, SPAN is focusing our efforts on helping members of our community to:

  • LEARN how modern life affects mental health with new resources to navigate their changing world.
  • ACT by building their own coping toolbox to manage stress, difficult emotions, and challenging situations.
  • ADVOCATE to improve mental health for themselves, the ones they love, and their community.

Mental Health America has created a toolkit to help individuals figure out where to start. The toolkit provides free, practical resources for addressing mental health. Go to to learn more.

If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition and are unsure of where to start, take a free, private mental health test at to determine next steps.

It’s important to remember that working on your mental health takes time. Change won’t happen overnight. Instead, by focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of modern life and develop long-term strategies to support yourself — and others — on an ongoing basis.

For resources from SPAN supporting child and youth mental health, click here.


Photo of Ethan Morrobel

An Uncomfortable Life: Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

 The perspective of Ethan Morrobel on living with Usher syndrome type 1b

In an article authored in the latest EP Magazine, college student Ethan Morrobel provides his story of growing up with Usher syndrome type 1b,which meant he was born with hearing loss, tunnel vision that his slowly turning to black and balance issues.

Ethan relays how, with advocacy from his parents, he learned to use sports and exercise to build his confidence, help address his balance issues, and lead him to become more "comfortable" living in an uncomfortable situation. Ethan shares this rare condition with his brother, Gavin, which has helped them both to push each other and overcome challenges when needed, and to be there as a knowing, built-in support system.

Ethan and Gavin are the children of Pamela Aasen, the former Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Project Director at SPAN.

To read about Ethan's fascinating, inspiring journey, please click here.

Upcoming Events

SPAN offers a variety of learning opportunities for families and the professionals who work with them.

Highlighted Event This Week

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Spring 2024 Special Education Parent Leader Roundtable

Keys to Accessibility: Working Together to Unlock Opportunities for Meaningful Parent Participation

Monday, May 20, 2024, 7:00 PM


Wednesday, May 22, 10:00 AM

Via Zoom

Join fellow parent leaders, district staff, and community members for a brainstorming and networking session.


  • Reflect: Learn about accessibility and how it impacts a Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG)
  • Review: Discuss what accessibility looks like in your own district
  • Respond: Create an action plan to take back your district and SEPAG

Engaging Parents of Students with Disabilities is a partnership between the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education (NJOSE) and SPAN Parent Advocacy Network.

Spanish Interpretation available.


To register, click here.

See all of SPAN's upcoming events with details and registration links here 

Para recibir la edición en Español de este boletín semanalmente en su correo electrónico 

haga clic aquí para suscribirse
SPAN Youth Hub image

Navigating Criticism Featuring Understanding the Spectrum

Read our latest youth blog post, “Navigating Criticism Featuring Understanding The Spectrum.” Learn how to accept criticism and use it as a foundation for self-improvement.

To access the post, click here.

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