Special Education Community Events and News

Special Education Community Event Calendar


    Monthly on Thursday's: FREE Support for Families Individualized Education Program (IEP) Clinics

    Presented by SFCD. Offered in English, Spanish and Cantonese. Learn about Special Education law, the IEP process, what to do when things aren’t working, and how to become a more active and effective team member.

    To register, please call our Warmline at 415-920-5040, email info@supportforfamilies.org,
    or click the registration link below.

    Presented in Cantonese: 1st Thursdays; 6-7:00pm
    Presented in English: 2nd Thursdays; 4-6:00pm
    Presented in Spanish: 3rd Thursdays; 4-6:00pm


    Click here to register for the English IEP Clinic

    Haga clic aquí para registrarse a la Clínica de IEP en español


    Mission and Vision

    Our Impact

    Staff and Board




    Monthly: National Alliance Mental Illness SF - FREE Public Programming

    Monthly Programs


    Monthly Programs

    Thursday, December 14 @ 6:00 - 7:00p: In Our Own Voice Presentation

    Educational presentation - all about personal storytelling and humanizing mental health! Hear community members share about who they are, where they've been, and their recovery journey. In Our Own Voice is a core NAMI program. Monthly on the second Thursday. Zoom. 


    Sunday, December 17 @ 10:00 - 10:45a: Community Art Class

    NAMI SF is hosting free monthly art classes on the third Sunday of every month! Creating art can help focus, reduce stress and anxiety, boost creativity and expression, and is a great way to engage in community. Open to folks of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Monthly on the third Sunday. Zoom. 


    December Programs

    Saturday, December 2 @ 11:30a - 12:45pAdvocacy Workshop: Writing Letters of Appeal to Your Insurer

    The third installment of NAMI SF's community-oriented advocacy workshops. Join us for coffee and bagels and help with writing letters of appeal to your insurance provider and the California Department of Managed Care. NAMI SF staff and board will provide tips and sample letters to help you write your own effective letter of appeal. In Person. First Pentecostal Church. 240 Page Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.


    Thursday, December 7 @ 6:00 - 6:45p: The Role of Social Support on Teen Mental Health

    This program provides an overview of teenage anxiety, the role of social support in combating teen anxiety, and includes a conversation on practical methods for providing social support. Our team is studying three domains of social support relative to teen mental health, including family/caregiver, educator (those in educational settings), and peers (those of a similar age). For family members, loved ones, and educators. Zoom. 


    Thurs Nov 30 @ 6:00 - 7:15pm: NAMI SF- Black/African American Mental Health 101 Presentation

    NAMI San Francisco Presents: Black / African American Mental Health 101

    This is a core community program addressing the Black / African American experience with mental health.

    Black / African Americans face the unique struggles of ancestral trauma, institutionalized racism, violence, and mass trauma from the pandemic, along with racial and cultural insensitivity within the medical community. Stigma remains one of the greatest barriers to treatment. ​

    This presentation speaks specifically to the unique challenges and experiences of Black and African American individuals who live with mental health conditions.

    In this presentation, learn about contributing factors, generational trauma, coping strategies, local resources and supports, and how volunteer speakers (peers) manage their conditions. There will be a dedicated time for questions at the end.

    This program is open to all community members. We hope to connect with you on November 30!

    Learn more and register here!

    Wed Dec 6 @ 2-3:00pm: How Educators Can Help Students with Intellectual Disability to Think College

    How Educators Can Help Students with Intellectual Disability to Think College


    Students with intellectual disability want to go to college - and they can! But they can’t get there alone. They need educators who understand what skills are necessary to make it happen and will support them to achieve their goals. Think College created the “Think Higher. Think College.” public awareness campaign to inform and educate teachers, school administrators, support professionals, college staff and faculty, families, and students themselves that college is an option for students with intellectual disability. The public awareness campaign includes new tools to make the process easy to understand and doable. Join us for this free webinar to learn about the current picture of inclusive higher education in the US, hear from college students with intellectual disability from around the country, and learn from a panel of experienced educators how we can “Think Higher. Think College.” together.

    During this webinar, you will:

    • Attendees will learn about the current situation regarding college options for students with intellectual disability.
    • Attendees will learn about new resources from the Think Higher. Think College. campaign.
    • Attendees will hear from a panel comprised of two K-12 educators and a program director from an inclusive postsecondary education program about what options exist for students with ID, how to guide students to pursue college, and how to assemble a team to ensure a smooth transition from high school to college.
    Meet our moderator and speakers

    Dan Habib is the Inclusive Communities Project Director at the Westchester Institute for Human Development and the founder of LikeRightNow Films.  He is the Director and Producer of Intelligent LivesIncluding Samuel, Who Cares About Kelsey?and Mr. Connolly Has ALS His current project is the Emmy Award-winning My Disability Roadmap, which he Co-Directed with his son Samuel Habib.  

    Dan is also helping to lead a new public awareness campaign called “Think Higher – Think College,” which is part of the Think College Inclusive Higher Education Network Project.

    Habib gave the TEDx talk, “Disabling Segregation,” and served on President Barack Obama’s President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities from 2014-2017.

    Habib and his wife, Betsy McNamara, live in Concord, NH, and have two sons: Isaiah, 27, and Samuel, 23. 

    Yuki Nishizawa is a teacher with 20 years of experience working with students who are neurodivergent/disabled. She holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from Lesley University and is currently serving as a Transition Specialist at Brookline High School.  Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, where a pathway for employment for people with disabilities exists, Yuki maintains high expectations for each and every student she encounters. While at the Dr. William Henderson Inclusion K-12 School in Dorchester, MA, she developed a transition program and successfully started a pilot program with MassArt College, now known as the Aspire program as part of MAICEI. She’s also worked with her students to practice their employability skills at local businesses and non-profit organizations.  
    Sean Phelan is currently in his 5th year of teaching at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kansas where he teaches students with extensive support needs. While attending the University of Kansas, Sean was a peer for KU – Transition to Postsecondary Education Program (KU-TPE), where he saw firsthand that individuals with disabilities can succeed in college. Those experiences have shaped his philosophies by instituting inclusive practices and enforcing high expectations for his students. Sean has helped transition many students to postsecondary programs after graduating from high school. 
    Melissa Savage is an Assistant Professor in Special Education at the University of North Texas. Her research focuses on health and inclusive community participation for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. Savage is a co-principal investigator with UNT ELEVAR, a 4-year inclusive postsecondary education program for young adults with intellectual disability. As part of the ELEVAR program, she leads the UNT ELEVAR Transition Pathway program, working with partner K-12 districts to prepare high school students with intellectual disability, educators, and families for the next steps after high school. Before becoming a professor, Dr. Savage was a middle and high school special education teacher.  

    Thurs Dec 7 @ 6:00-6:45pm: The Role of Social Support on Teen Mental Health, NAMI SF

    Registration Link

    This program provides an overview of teenage anxiety, the role of social support in combating teen anxiety, and includes a conversation on practical methods for providing social support and how teens can engage positive coping strategies.

    Context: Teenagers aged 13-18 in the United States experience high levels of anxiety according to current research. Primary factors that plays a role in higher levels of anxiety include academic stress, college and next life phase, extracurriculars, and jobs.

    Research: Our team is studying three aspects of social support relative to teen mental health and how social support may mitigate teen anxiety. The three domains of social support include: family/caregiver, educator (those in educational settings), and peers (those of a similar age).


    This program is open to all community members. We hope to connect with you on December 7!

    Fri Dec 8 @ 11:00am - 12:30pm: Access SFUSD: The Arc Holiday Sing Along

    Wattis Theater, 151 3rd St, San Francisco

    Join AccessSFUSD: The Arc and the SF MoMA's Education Team for a holiday event to remember and plenty of merriment. Sing along to your holiday favorites alongside the musical artists of AccessSFUSD: The Arc, musical director Max Baker, and special guest appearances! RSVP now because space is limited and this event is NOT to be missed. Please designate at least 72 hours in advance if you need wheelchair accessible seating so accommodations can be made to the theater.

    Register here

    Sat Dec 9 @ 9:00 - 10:00am: Inclusion Access Hour at the Children's Creativity Museum

    Hosted in partnership by: SFUSD, Support for Families, Children's Creativity Museum

    The Children's Creativity Museum will open an hour early on Saturday, December 9th from 9:00-10:00am to host an inclusive celebration for Inclusive Schools Week surrounding this year's theme of "Draw Me In." If you are not able to attend in person, there will also be a virtual opportunity to participate! More details to come, but registration is open here!

    Lunes Dec 11 @ 10-11:30am: Educación Especial: Información Básica y Esencial

    Una descripción general del proceso de educación especial, la Ley de Rehabilitación sección 504 y la Ley de Educación para Personas con Discapacidades (IDEA – por sus siglas en inglés).

    Debe registrarse con anticipación para esta capacitación:

    Enlace de registro

    Mon Dec 11 @ 7:00 - 8:30pm: DREDF - Special Education: IEP Basics and Beyond

    An overview of the special education process, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act laws. ASL and Spanish Interpretation, and Real-Time Captioning provided.

    Interpretation/Accommodations: If you need accommodations to participate in any of our training or presentations, please contact hmin@dredf.org or call 510 644-2555 as soon as possible. We generally need 10 days to arrange these, and we want to make sure you are included!

    Note: We offer all our DREDF Special Education training in Spanish and post other training that may be of interest where we are participating but not hosting on our website as well. Visit DREDF's Special Education Trainings page for more information.

    You must register in advance for this meeting, which can be done using this registration link.

    Wed Dec 20 @ 2pm - Sensory Friendly Christmas Carol at ATC

    Sensory Friendly Performance

    Sensory friendly performances, also called relaxed performances, are designed to create an experience in the theater for neurodiverse audiences or anyone who has sensory sensitivities that might impact their ability to feel comfortable in a typical theater-going experience. For more specifics, please visit our Accessibility page.

    A Christmas Carol | Wed, Dec 20 at 2 p.m.

    Buy Tickets

    Sat Dec 30 @ 11:00am: Sensory Friendly Nutcracker Performance

    Learn more about this event and buy tickets here

    This December, San Francisco Ballet is pleased to offer two Sensory Friendly Nutcracker experiences for people with autism, sensory input disorders, sensory sensitivities, or other physical, cognitive, or developmental disabilities, plus their families, friends, and caretakers. We hope you'll join us as we celebrate this magical holiday tradition!



    SF Ballet is delighted to present a Sensory Friendly Performance of Nutcracker on Saturday, December 30 at 11 am. This full-length performance will provide a relaxed environment for children and adults of all abilities to experience this magical holiday tradition in a safe and comfortable atmosphere.

    In collaboration with our community partners from Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area, SF Ballet has made special accommodations to the performance and theater-going experience to make neurodiverse audiences feel welcome to experience Nutcracker in a fun, accepting environment.

    Tickets start at $25. Promo code for 20% off tickets* to the Dec 30 at 11 am performance: SENSORY23



    SF Ballet is excited to offer three Sensory Friendly Dance-Along workshops this season open to all ages and abilities! These fun and interactive workshops will provide an engaging and accessible movement experience for neurodiverse audiences. Explore the characters, music, and story behind some of the most famous story ballets. Participate in a guided dance class that is specifically tailored to the sensory and behavioral needs of the individuals. Explore tactile activity tables, take-home arts and crafts activities, enjoy the quiet room, and more.

    • Nutcracker Dance-Along on Sunday, December 17, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    • Swan Lake Dance-Along on Sunday, February 25, 2024 at 1:30 pm

    • A Midsummer Night's Dream Dance-Along on Sunday, March 17, 2024 at 1:30 pm

    Tickets are $25 per person per Dance-Along.

    *Offer expires December 13, 2023. All sales are final. No refunds. Exchanges are subject to availability, restrictions, and fees. Casting, programming, and prices are subject to change. Tickets are subject to availability. Offer does not apply to previously purchased tickets and cannot be combined with other offers. Discount does not apply to fees. Discount not valid for $25 tickets in Balcony Center and Balcony zones. Promo code is only valid for the Sensory Friendly Performance of Nutcracker at 11 am on December 30, 2023. 

    To experience other sensory friendly performances in San Francisco this holiday season, discover American Conservatory Theater's Christmas Carol or visit Inclusive Arts.

    Fri-Sat March 1-2: 2024 Literacy and Justice for All Symposium

    Register Here

    Location: Oakland Marriott City Center

    The Oakland Literacy Coalition’s Annual Literacy & Justice for All Symposium brings together school and community educators, practitioners, funders, leaders, influencers, and community stakeholders committed to sharing and learning effective strategies, approaches, and tools that address the literacy needs of all learners. This event provides fighters for literacy justice with expanded spaces for professional learning in community and a chance to collaborate with literacy allies and champions across the region.

    Our work toward literacy justice is critical. 1 in 3 children who started school during the pandemic need extensive literacy support. At the state level, California has the lowest literacy rate in the country with only 77% of adults are considered mid to highly literate. In our hometown of Oakland, only 1 in 3 students are reading on or above their grade-level.

    Learn more about the symposium here

    Disability and Special Education in the News

    Check out these articles about the disability and special education. 

    November 2023

    October 2023

    September 2023

    August 2023

    Archived Disability & Special Education Articles 2022-2023

    July 2023

    June 2023

    May 2023

    April 2023

    March 2023

    February 2023

    January 2023

    December 2022

    November 2022

    October 2022

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    August 2022

    Past Articles

    This page was last updated on December 5, 2023