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Visions of Community 2009:
A Day of Learning, Networking and Celebration

conference collage

If a family tells you they had a “transformational experience,” and had an opportunity to, “learn about IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), resources and more,” you can safely assume they were talking about Visions of Community, the annual conference hosted by the Federation for Children with Special Needs. On March 14, 2009, more than 800 families raising children with special needs, their professional partners and exhibitors filled the World Trade Center. They had all come, as one family remarked, “to learn about the possibilities they never knew existed for their kids.” Another family, in reflecting on the day, commented, “Every year here [at the conference] is the best ever!”

Dr. Richard Robison, the Executive Director at the Federation was, “pleased to welcome everyone to the conference,” and said, “The Federation will continue to use the name Visions of Community until the ‘vision’ becomes a reality and people of all abilities are welcome everywhere.”

In addition to thanking everyone for attending, Dr. Robison introduced the Federation’s state agency partners, noting, “These are lean times. It’s important to acknowledge the leadership of individuals so vested in our families and providing services.” Ron Benham, the Bureau Director at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said he was pleased to be at the conference and he knew everyone would have a great day. Jane Tewksbury, Commissioner of the Department of Youth Services (DYS), thanked the Federation for including DYS. She also provided information about the strong partnership between DYS, and the Department of Early and Secondary Education (DESE) to better support the educational needs of youth offenders. Larry Tummino from the Department of Mental Retardation was happy to announce that as of June 30, 2009, his agency’s new name would be the Department of Developmental Services (DDS).

Pat Cameron, from the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) said it was a pleasure to be at the conference as a partner. She stated, “The Department exists to serve all children and families in the Commonwealth. They are working to create more opportunities for children with disabilities and fully integrate them into the community.”