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Family Leadership Institute Application Deadline Extended

PEAL has a few remaining spots for our upcoming Northeastern Family Leadership Institute (FLI) so we have extended the deadline to October 7th. 

Join us to enhance your advocacy and leadership skills! PEAL’s Family Leadership Institute (FLI) will help parents and caregivers of children and young people with disabilities and special healthcare needs to develop an understanding of healthcare, education, and disability policies. Tools will be used to increase the impact of your voice to promote change beneficial to children, young people, and families across Pennsylvania. Participants will focus on a specific area of interest to effect change. By applying, you are committing to attending all in-person sessions in the Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton area.

¿Desea desarrollar y mejorar sus habilidades de defensa y liderazgo? El Instituto de Liderazgo Familiar (ILF) de PEAL ayudará a las familias con niños(as) y jóvenes con discapacidades y necesidades especiales de atención médica a desarrollar conocimientos de las políticas de atención médica, educación y discapacidad. Se utilizarán herramientas para aumentar el impacto de su voz para hacer un cambio que beneficie los niños(as), jóvenes y las familias en todo Pensilvania. Los participantes se enfocarán en un área específica de interés para efectuar el cambio. Al completar su solicitud, se compromete a asistir a todas las sesiones presenciales en el área de Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Accessing Communication in School

Tuesday, October 11th, 2022 12:00PM to 1:15PM

Join Jordyn Zimmerman, MEd, full-time autistic Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) user and educator and Tauna Szymanski, JD, MPA, a neurodivergent attorney and Executive Director of CommunicationFIRST, for an hour-long lunchtime discussion about how families can understand and support meaningful access to effective and reliable communication for students with disabilities. In this virtual session, families will learn about the importance of ensuring that students have access to robust AAC tools and supports as early as possible; as well as how to make sure that students have access to communication as they transition to adulthood. The legal challenges that families and transitioning youth may face and possible strategies for advocating for full access to communication in school will also be discussed.

Acceso a la Comunicación Alternativa en la Escuela

Martes, 11 de Octubre, 2022 12:00PM a 1:15PM

Únase a escuchar y aprender de Jordyn Zimmerman, educadora, autista y usuaria diaria de Comunicación Alternativa y Aumentativa (CAA) y de Tauna Szymanski, abogada neurodivergente y Directora Ejecutiva de CommunicationFIRST, durante el almuerzo sobre cómo las familias pueden entender y promover el acceso significativo a una comunicación efectiva para los estudiantes con discapacidades. En esta sesión virtual, las familias aprenderán sobre la importancia de garantizar que los estudiantes tengan acceso a herramientas y apoyos sólidos de CAA lo antes posible; y también cómo asegurarse de que los estudiantes tengan acceso a la comunicación en su transición a la edad adulta. Además se discutirán los desafíos legales que las familias y los jóvenes en transición pueden enfrentar y posibles estrategias para abogar por el pleno acceso a la comunicación en las escuelas.

Emergency Preparedness

If your family experiences an emergency, are you prepared to communicate with first responders? The PEAL Center and its partners have developed training to help Pennsylvania families plan how to properly communicate the important information first responders need.

Visit to learn more.
woman in flower dress with statement- "communicate your culture!"
Let's make this Hispanic Heritage Month impactful, and help our people with communication impairments to have the communication tools necessary to make big things, and contribute to our community!- Pancho Ramirez

How Do You Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

Check out this great article from Communication FIRST for Hispanic Heritage Month with their Board Member Pancho Ramirez and Program Associate Erika Prado discussing what National Hispanic Heritage Month means to them and how communication plays a key role in how they express their culture.

Read more here

¿Cómo Celebras el Mes de la Herencia Hispana?

Para celebrar las contribuciones que los hispanoamericanos siguen haciendo en este país, Pancho Ramírez, miembro del comité de CommunicationFIRST, y Erika Prado, asociada del programa, analizan qué significa para ellos el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana y cómo la comunicación juega un papel clave en la forma en que expresan su cultura.

Leer en español

Listening Sessions for Solutions to Address COVID-19 Health Care Disparities

In the newly released report,  COVID-19 HEALTH CARE BARRIERS AMONG PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, The Arc of Pennsylvania learned about the experience of children, youth and adults with disabilities and their families during COVID-19. Those with complex medical and learning needs, behavioral challenges, and various therapy needs lost skills and supports, while fluctuating access to health care and mental health, education, nursing, caregiving, community and employment supports compounded social isolation, increased trauma and overwhelmed already struggling families.

The Arc of Pennsylvania needs to keep hearing from you as policy solutions are considered for a report to the PA Department of Health. You have a chance to influence policy change to address these issues. You can make a difference!

Register for a Solutions Listening Session on COVID-19 Health Care barriers for People with Disabilities
October 11, 6:30 pm - Families, people with disabilities, their supporters

Complete the survey on potential solutions by 10/14/22
Read the barrier report, fact sheet, plain language version
For questions, or to provide input in another way - contact  Emma Nolan at or 717-234-2621 extension 116

Disability Right’s Pennsylvania’s Voting Guides

Check out the 2022 Voting Guides from Disability Right's Pennsylvania on topics like How to Vote in PA, The Disability Vote Matters, Disability Voting Issues: Access, Assistance, and Accommodations, and more! 
Copyright © 2022 PEAL Center, All rights reserved.

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