Fiesta Educativa helps Latino families with special needs children

2013 Fiesta Educativa ConferenceThe Fiesta Educativa-Riverside conference held February 23, 2013, was attended by more than 300 people and was designed to help empower Latino families who have children with special needs through workshops, trainings, and education.

The event is a collaborative effort between the Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) Division of Special Education and Division of Children and Family Services, Early Start Family Resource Network, Inland Regional Center, Team of Advocates for Special Kids (TASK), Riverside County Department of Mental Health, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP), and many others.

The 2013 Fiesta Educativa 2013 Conference was held at the Grove Community Church Conference Center.

The conference was kicked-off by Alma Rodriguez, Parent Coordinator of Fiesta Educativa-Riverside, and Dr. Esmirna Valencia, Executive Director of the RCOE Division of Children and Family Services, who both provided the welcome.

Salvador Mendez, Co-chair of Fiesta Educativa-Riverside, provided an overview of the program. The conference program was filled with many workshops specifically designed for families who have children with special needs, including: “Transition Planning”, “Applied Behavior Analysis”, “Tax Deductions & Credits for Children with Disabilities”, “Conservatorship”, “Risoterapia/LaughTherapy”, “Stress Management”, and “Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder”.

A highlight of the day was the keynote presentation by Rosario Placencia, a teenager who was born with an orthopedic disability, who described her active high school life that includes marching band, martial arts, and dance team. She emphasized the importance of her parents’ belief that she can do anything that she dreams regardless of her disability. Rosie co-presented which Rev. Raul Perez who also highlighted the importance of inclusion and the role of families in the lives of their children.