Mari-Jane Williams is a news design editor at The Washington Post and a regular guest contributor to the On Parenting blog. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two children, one of whom has special needs.
Upcoming events of interest for parents of children with special needs.
• DC Autism Parents will host a free family barbecue from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 25 at Rock Creek Park Picnic Grove 13. The menu includes hot dogs, hamburgers and various sides. The barbecue is limited to 70 people. Call 202-271-9262 or e-mail
• Walk for Autism Virginia will be held Oct. 22 at the Prince William County Fairgrounds. There is a 5K race at 8 a.m. and a 5k walk at 11 a.m. From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be food (including gluten/casein-free options), music, a moon bounce, games, crafts, a silent auction and resource fair. Proceeds from the walk will be used as mini-grants to help local families pay for autism treatments.The fairgrounds are at 10624 Dumfries Rd. in Manassas. For information, call 703-859-0030.
• The Arc of Greater Prince William/Insight will host its annual day-long Circle of Support seminar from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at Hylton High School in Woodbridge. The seminar is designed for parents of children with special needs and professionals who work with these children and families. In addition to a presentation on “The Importance of Belonging” by keynote speaker David Pitonyak, there will be exhibits and three workshop sessions on subjects such as financial planning, sensory processing, long-term residential options and advocating for your child’s health care.
Registration is $30 for parents and $50 for professionals until Oct. 3; from Oct. 3-28 the cost is $50 for parents and $75 for professionals. The cost includes continental breakfast and a lunch in addition to the workshops. A half-day package includes breakfast, the keynote speaker and one workshop for $25. There is childcare available for $15 per child, but space is limited. Visit the Arc’s Web site to register online.