Forum to examine options for families with special needs

Experts in programs for young children with special needs will speak Thursday, Oct. 22, at a forum in Palo Alto on how to provide for vulnerable families in lean times and under a fragmented system.

“Crisis and Opportunity: A Policy Forum About Early Intervention Services for Children with Special Needs” is co-sponsored by the Palo Alto branch of the S.F.-based Jewish Family and Children’s Services’ Center for Special Needs. Co-sponsors are Abilities United of Palo Alto, the Stanford University Center for Autism and Related Disorders and Community Gatepath of Burlingame.

Free and open to the public, the forum is intended for parents of children with special needs, those who work in related fields, policy experts and media professionals who cover public policy issues.

Speakers include Amy Weiss, director of JFCS’ Parent Place; Dr. Heidi Feldman, medical director of the behavior unit of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and professor at Stanford University School of Medicine; Lynda Steele, executive director of Abilities United; Janel Astor, director of children’s services at Abilities United; and Sheryl Young, executive director of Community Gatepath.

The forum will begin at 6 p.m. at the JFCS’ Koret Family Resource Center, 200 Channing Ave., Palo Alto. To attend, call JFCS at (650) 688-3030.