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April 6: Caregiver Support Group

April 6: Caregiver Support Group

Saturday, April 6, 2024 10-11:30 AM. 

Franconia Government Center’s Helen G. Wilson’s Community Room

6121 Franconia Road, Alexandria, VA 22310

This is an informal time for caregivers to chat and exchange ideas. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide childcare at this time, and this time is only for caregivers. Please RSVP to supportgroup@poac-nova.org if you plan to attend. RSVPs are helpful, but please feel free to attend if you find that you have time Saturday morning.

April 27 Meeting: My Child Has Just Been Diagnosed with Autism…Now What?

Saturday, April 27, 10 AM

West Springfield Government Center

6140 Rolling Road, Springfield, VA 22152

One of the most common questions we see among our community’s emails is from parents trying to figure
out where to begin the often complex journey to helping their child with a new diagnosis of autism. In
addition to POAC-NoVA’s recently updated resource guide we have two great speakers with children on
the spectrum to share both personal and professional observations in coping with a new diagnosis and
offer strategies for nurturing their strengths and supporting them with necessary services.

Meet our speakers!

Nicole Zupan
As a long-time POAC-NoVA member who served for years as President and on our Board, Nicole is the
parent of Josef, a neurodivergent young adult who now lives in a group home in the community, and of
Shaddi, a recent college graduate. In addition to her work for POAC-NoVA, Nicole has worn many other
hats in the special education community as a parent, special educator, and advocate who now serves as
the Coordinator of DD Waiver Supports for the ARC of Northern Virginia.

Jen Saddington
A mom of two kids – a first grader who is autistic and twice exceptional and a preschooler – Jen has been
experiencing the joys and challenges of living in a neurodiverse family! Jen came from a family of FCPS
educators and spent a lot of time in her mom’s inclusive kindergarten classroom and knew from a young
age that she wanted to work with kids with disabilities. She is a pediatric physical therapist working in
early intervention, providing multidisciplinary assessments and ongoing physical therapy services in
English and Spanish. She considers it the greatest honor and privilege to enter into family’s lives as they
are navigating the early years of parenthood and join them on that journey of change and mutual learning.
She is passionate about building the skills and capacity of families as experts on their child and family
needs and supporting families in navigating all that comes with loving an individual with a disability.
While in physical therapy school at VCU, Jen was a trainee in the Va-LEND program (Leadership
Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities), a national collaborative leadership training program for
professionals and families funded by the Maternal-Child Health Bureau.  In addition to her physical
therapy doctorate she holds a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Disability Leadership completed through
her time as a LEND trainee.

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