Thursday, April 2, 2020 from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM EDT
Add to Calendar 


Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Center 
181 Boston Post Road W.
Marlborough, MA 01752

Driving Directions 

Visit our growing list of Sponsors, Exhibitors and  Vendors:

Click Here

Representatives from a wide range of Special Education Schools will present information regarding student profiles, program services, admission requirements and placement options to professionals within the special education field. Also exhibiting, a select list of Special Education Resource vendors and service providers.


$80.00 early rate / $100.00 after March 26th 


  • Full day exhibit hall enterance
  • 1 copy of SPaN's School Catalog
  • 1 - morning break out session
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon panel

Refund Policy:

  • No cash refunds will be offered for pre-registration if a workshop is held
  • If a pre-registrant provides a written request at least four (4) business days prior to the scheduled workshop; the registration fee can be applied to an upcoming workshop in the same programming year 
  • for our full refund policy please visit: click here

Food Alergies or Dietary restrictions: Please email info@spanmass.org with any request related to special diet. 



Ned deBary & Nina Biggar Del Vecchio 
Special Needs Advocacy Network, Inc. 


Please Join Us 

 2020 Special Education Conference & 10th Annual School Fair

Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Therapeutic Response to the Intersection of Learning, Mental Health and Behavior

There are many students whose access to, and effective progress in, education are impacted by mental health disorders, neurological impairments or other disabilities that limit the student’s ability to behave in an expected or “typical” manner. These students and their families often find it difficult to navigate the IEP process and identify appropriate educational services. When a school placement is recommended that can implement those services, it can be challenging to get clear information related to proposed placements that will address the identified needs.

Understanding the services offered by a proposed placement through the lens of addressing the underlying condition rather than the lens of controlling or disciplining the exhibited behaviors is critical for positive outcomes.

What many of these students need is a set of services that is clinically therapeutic and supported across all settings.

Current Massachusetts regulatory frameworks do not provide a definition for a “therapeutic program” or “therapeutic school”.  SPaN seeks to explore that very question, and more, for our attending advocates, parents and school district staff.

Making Theater Accessible on Both Sides of the Curtain

SPaN is excited to welcome integrated community theater company Open Door Theater as our keynote event this year. Open Door Theater of Acton is a non-profit, family-oriented, accessible community theater company that has been creating learning experiences through theater for adults, children, and people with special needs since it was founded in 1980.

Open Door President Sam Gould will address Conference attendees along with longtime Open Door Theater actor John Furtado. John, currently a student at Fitchburg State College who self-identifies as being on the autism spectrum, will share how his experiences performing with Open Door Theater helped him as he pursued his creative dreams and his current education. John will be featured in the role of Jack in the 2020 Open Door Theater production of  "Into the Woods". 

Who Will Attend:  Parents, Special Education Advocates, Special Education Administrators, Special Education Attorneys, Out of District Coordinators, Therapeutic Service Providers, Therapeutic or Clinical Evaluators, Related Service Providers.


8:00 AMCheck In                      

8:00 AM - 2:30 PM Exhibitor and Vendors will be available in the Main Ballroom

9:00 AM  –  Keynote event - Open Door President Sam Gould &  Actor John Furtado

10:15 AM - 11:30 AMBreakout sessions - 3 concurrent sessions (select one) 

    1. Social Emotional Disorders with Neuropsychologist 

    2. CRA and Manifestation Determination Reviews

    3. A Primer on Therapeutic Models and Methodologies

12:00 PM -1:30 PMLunch & Exhibitor and Vendors will be available in the Main Ballroom

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM Panel Discussion: A Conversation with Special Education Schools That Offer Therapeutic Programming. Join us for a moderated discussion with school leaders to learn about different approaches to therapeutic programming, how therapeutic methodologies are implemented in various settings, and best practices for achieving successful student outcomes.