“A Special Fair Helping Special Needs”

By County Executive Ed Day

Like law enforcement and politics, parenting is often a thankless role. There is so much you’re doing for the good of your family day in and day out that nobody sees and, at times, is almost expected.

It’s a lifelong responsibility with no manual, no training, and no compensation other than the joy of seeing your children learn and grow. There is no doubt the hardships and challenges that come with the charge are far greater for parents raising a child with special needs. This is exactly why back in 2019 I restored the county’s Office for People with Disabilities (OPWD). 

The charge of the OPWD is to advocate on behalf of people with disabilities and ensure they have access to all the rights and responsibilities they desire to exercise. The OPWD is an informational resource for people with disabilities by connecting families with available services, including with an upcoming event I’m proud to highlight called the Rockland Resource and Transition Fair. 

The County has held this fair for several years to offer support to students with special needs who are transitioning out of high school and into the world of work or other educational opportunities.

As students leave high school, they experience a very big change. All during their school years they receive a variety of individualized services adjusted according to their needs. However, when they exit high school, they no longer receive those services automatically. They must know what to ask for and how to do so, which can be daunting for families and students who still need those services.

This transition fair was created to bridge that gap and make the transition a little easier for families. Multiple community-based agencies along with some colleges and other programs that service these young individuals will be at the fair showing multiple pathways available following high school, such as recreation, advocacy, education, and employment training.

The highly interactive event also includes presentations and break-out sessions.

After hosting it virtually last year due to COVID, this year it will once again be in-person at the Palisades Mall on the 4 th floor by the ice-skating rink, April 28 th from 3-7 p.m. In Rockland, we do not feel any parent should have to bear these challenges alone and encourage all families to attend this fair and take advantage of the help being offering to navigate these difficult decisions with comfort and confidence.