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Dello Nutritionals & SEPTA Partner to Support Optimal Health



Photo captions: Maria Dello, center, with SEPTA’s Helen Weitman (left) and Lori Mann (right) join together to promote optimal health.

Manhasset Special Education PTA (SEPTA) and local nutritional expert Maria Dello announce a partnership to support optimal health for parents and children in the community with a regular column for the SEPTA website. The new column, Keeping Our Families Healthy, is the second phase of a community outreach to promote awareness and healthy lifestyles with helpful tips and nutritional facts. The first column, which will focus on parents, appears today on the Manhasset SEPTA website, This article can be accessed for next three weeks.

“Nutrition and a healthy lifestyle greatly impacts children with special needs like health impairments or developmental disabilities,” Manhasset SEPTA Co-President Lori Mann stated. “We are delighted to be able to bring this new column to the community, not only for special needs families but for all families in Manhasset,” she added.

The debut article will focus on parents, outlining healthy tips and ideas to help mothers and fathers take steps toward better health for themselves while setting a higher standard of health for their loved ones.

“We chose to start the health focus with parents,” nutritionist Maria Dello noted. “It like the flight attendant announcement that the adult needs to put on the oxygen mask on first before helping the child with theirs—that parents first need to be healthy and strong so they are able to then help their families,” she stated.

Ms. Dello also noted that although health is an important priority for all parents, it sometimes gets less attention because parents are exhausted by all the other daily demands. She highlighted that this is an especially challenging issue for parents with special needs family members, as the extra demands of a learning or developmental disability takes even more of the parent’s time and energy each day. Furthermore, many children with disabilities or health impairments have food aversions, food sensitivity and allergies that make proper nutrition even more paramount yet even more difficult to achieve.

“It is ironic that one of the most important things for special needs families—proper nutritional support—is often what gets the least amount of attention,” Ms. Dello stated. “My new column is designed to be a fast, informative read for busy parents while outlining easy to do changes to try, allowing parents to take small steps each day that will have a big impact on their overall health,” she added.

Dello Nutritionals and Manhasset SEPTA are proud to have started this long-term partnership to support special needs families’ health concerns in their daily lives. The Keeping Our Families Healthy column will appear on the Manhasset SEPTA website with a new topic highlighted each month. Upcoming column topics include: Negative impacts on children’s health; Surviving the winter months; Easy changes to make for improving the health of the whole family; and New ideas for cooking for optimal health.

The first phase of SEPTA’s partnership with Dello Nutritionals was awareness about plastic drinking bottles with a fundraiser from the sale of stainless steel drinking containers in December 2009. Dello Nutritionals donated 25% of all purchases to Manhasset SEPTA. Log onto or link to Dello Nutritionals to find out more about the hazards of plastic drinking bottles and the fundraiser, or to purchase a stainless steel bottle.

Maria Dello is a medical nutritionist who has served the Manhasset community for more than a decade. Affiliated with many leading doctors throughout the North Shore, Ms. Dello serves on the Junior League advisory board,is involved in theKids 'n Kitchen program, and supports the Little Hearts organization for children who have undergone open heart surgery. In addition, she has given health lectures for organizations all across the North Shore including the Manhasset Breast Cancer Coalition, as well as being published in several health magazines and local newspapers. Log onto the website for a summary of Dello Nutritionals’ services, health programs, and dietary support.

Manhasset SEPTA is a local chapter of the National PTA supporting Manhasset’s special education population, including teachers, school staff, children up to 21 years old and their families. Through expert presentation, workshops, community programs and local resources, SEPTA provides support for over 500 Manhasset families and more than 800 school staff members. Manhasset SEPTA proudly services the needs of students with disabilities, gifted and talented students, and students receiving academic intervention services.

Log onto their website at for more information about services and resources including new programs, free presentations and workshops for 2009-10, and free local resources like the special needs parenting section in the Manhasset Public Library. Contact Manhasset SEPTA by email at, or at Manhasset SEPTA, PO Box 155, Manhasset, NY 11030 for more information or to become a member.

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