Agency fair is Saturday

Families of children and young adults with special needs invited

Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 1:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 1:54 p.m.

Families with children with special needs or developmental delays can get one-stop shopping for information on local resources and services at the Spring Festival & Agency Fair.



* What: Spring Festival & Agency Fair for families with special- needs children.

* When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.

* Where: Lincoln Middle School, 1001 SE 12th St.

* Information: Call 352-273-8562.

The festival, now in its fourth year, will be held from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at Lincoln Middle School at 1001 SE 12th St. Lunch will be served and there will be children's activities.

Dr. Barbara Henry, Exceptional Student Education, or ESE, supervisor for Alachua County Public Schools, said the festival will provide families with an opportunity to gain insight into services and opportunities that are available in the community at minimum costs. She said families also will come from surrounding counties to network and learn about available local resources and services.

"We want to offer support to families and children as they continue their journey to success," Henry said.

Doris Tellado, family resource specialist of North Central Early Steps, said everyone is invited, especially families with children with special needs and young adults ages 18-22 with special needs.

North Central Early Steps, which is affiliated with the University of Florida Department of Pediatrics, provides early intervention for families of children with developmental delays or who are at risk of developmental delays.

Tellado said everything will be free, including child care to enable adults to take care of business while their children play.

There will be about 30 vendors in the gym, including, but are not limited to, Alachua County Public Schools, Special Olympics, CDS Family and Behavioral Services, Early Steps, Center for Independent Living, Junior League of Gainesville, Library Partnership/Partnership for Strong Families and others.

Activities will include photo opportunities with the spring bunny, a puppet show and arts and crafts. Everyone can enjoy a pizza lunch, healthy snacks, cotton candy, drinks and other treats.

Last year, Tellado said about 200 people attended the event.

Tellado said sometimes parents have difficulty accessing resources, and this event provides an opportunity for parents to have one-on-one conversations with vendors and receive reliable information.

"Parents can share information and help each other and the kids will have fun," Tellado said. "We're trying to bring local resources so the families can come and get the benefits. It's very important for families to connect."

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