Wine and Design 2014

Join Us!

Wine + Design 2014: Gala & Auction
Friday, October 10, 2014
6:00pm - 10:00pm

The Galleria, San Francisco Design Center
101 Henry Adams St, San Francisco

Featuring wine, cocktails, dinner, awards, auction, and the toe-tapping music of the John Brothers Piano Company

Click here to purchase tickets and for more information


pumpkinaquarium of the bay logo

Haunted Aquarium Halloween Party

presented by Support for Families and Aquarium of the Bay

Saturday, October 25th  5:30pm - 8:00pm
Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39

Face painting! Mask Making! Cool prizes! Access to the Aquarium! And more...

For children with disabilities, their families and friends. Join us at our annual Halloween Party at Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39. Come dressed in your favorite Halloween costume and enjoy fun activities, exclusive access to the aquarium's exhibits, refreshments, and more! Event is FREE for families of children with disabilities and donations are welcomed. For more information, please visit us at: www.supportforfamilies.org or www.aquariumofthebay.org.

Public Transportation: Take the “F” to Fisherman’s Wharf or visit sfmta.org for current route information.
Parking: Discounted 3 hour parking for $12 available on the day of the event.

To register call 415-920-5040


Holiday Ice Skating Party logo

Holiday Ice Skating Party

For children with disabilities and their families

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2014 6:00pm-8:00 pm
Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center
750 Folsom Street (on the rooftop of the Moscone Center)

Come enjoy an evening of ice skating, refreshments, and fun with your family and friends! Say hi to Santa and pick up a free book! Event is free for families of children with disabilities, with suggested donation of $10/person (includes entrance fee, skates, book and treats for each child). Due to limited space, this event is only for families of children with disabilities or special health care needs who have pre-registered.

Call 415-920-5040 beginning November 3 to reserve space.


yoga pose

FREE Yoga Series for Families with Children Birth to 5

Yoga is a fun and calming way for families to come together, learn practical skills that enhance their daily lives and to connect with their own bodies and with each other! This FREE 8-week series welcomes ALL children Birth-5 and their parents/caregivers. Classes are informed by the practices of Integrated Movement Therapy and Yoga for the Special Child® and will be gentle and therapeutic— safe and appropriate for babies and children with special needs. No previous yoga experience (for parents or kids) is required!

Both of these 8-week series will be held at Support for Families on Thursday mornings beginning Sept. 25th.

Dates: Thursdays, Sept 25, Oct 2, Oct 9, Oct 16, Oct 23, Oct 30, Nov 6, Nov 13

Time: Birth-2 • 9:30am-10:30am │ 3-5 • 11:00am-12:00pm

*Pre-registration is required.*

To register or for more information: contact Rion Hoffmann at rhoffmann@supportforfamilies.org or call 415-920-5040.

Childcare not provided.

Return to top

SFUSD Town Hall Meeting and Initial Responses

 On June 11, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) participated in a Town Hall Meeting at Support for Families to engage the community in a discussion regarding Special Education Services in the District.

The conversation that night generated many questions and concerns, as well as solutions for improving communication and services.

In July, SFUSD provided initial responses to questions raised at the Town Hall Meeting. Download the PDF document, or call us at 415-920-5040 for a paper copy.

We would like to give special thanks to all of the parents, the Special Education Community Advisory Committee and the SFUSD staff and for all the work that went into this as well as the work that is ahead.

We are planning another Town Hall in the fall and look forward to continuing this conversation.

Return to top

9 Tips for Back to School: Special Needs Edition

by Joe Goyos, Education Manager

Fall is almost upon us. Soon the days will get shorter and the nights get longer. For many of us this is a sure sign that a new school year is starting.

Parents of children with special needs can benefit from being proactive and from developing a positive working relationship with the teacher and the rest of the educational team.

Below we have put together a list of ideas for parents to help start off the new school year on the right track.

1. Get Organized

Cubbies with items organized

Consider getting a 3 ring binder or accordion file and begin to sort all of your paperwork. You can include IEPs (Individualized Education Program) from previous years, the current IEP, triennial reviews (every 3 years), assessments, progress reports, and report cards as well as any information from private doctors, therapists and counselors that are pertinent to your child's education and safety. Another item you should keep in your binder are some samples of your child's work. Support for Families offers a workshop on this very topic!


2. Talk to Your Child

parent talking to child

Have several conversations about the new school year with your child. What is he looking forward to? What are her concerns? Keep the tone positive and encouraging. Take time to prepare your child for changes in his or her daily routine. Parents can also read stories about the first day of school to their child. This will help ease the transition into a new school year.

Also, discuss with your student what modification, supports and services he may be receiving and who to go to if there is an issue. Over time this will help your child develop self-advocacy skills.


3. Review Your Child’s Current IEP

IEP folder

An IEP is a written legal document which outlines the student's present levels of performance (PLP’s), as well as the intervention strategies and related services that will be provided by the district. Make sure that you become familiar with the accommodations, supports and services that are outlined in the IEP. This will help you better understand your child’s services and prepare you to participate in your child’s special education program.


4. Prepare a Student Fact Sheet

student with head on arms

The student fact sheet is a brief introduction about your child. It can be a great tool. The sheet will work best if kept to a page long and should include: a picture; a brief history; your child's interests; what motivates your child; where your child may have challenges; and any relevant information that may have arisen during the summer.

Give the fact sheet to your child's new teacher, as well as any new support staff and therapists. Support for Families has samples of these to help guide you. 


5. Request a Meeting

parent talking to teacher

As soon as possible, make an appointment to meet with your child’s new teacher. In this meeting you can discuss your child’s abilities, motivations and unique needs. During this meeting you can also develop a system for communicating with the teacher (e.g., a communication log, weekly or monthly email check-ins, face-to-face meeting after school, etc.). You can also organize dates when you will follow up with the teacher about your child's progress in school. (If English is not your first language, you can request for information to be provided in your native language.)

Another use for setting up meetings is to be proactive about your child’s IEP. If you feel that something isn’t working or that the IEP needs updating request an IEP meeting to address your concerns. You have the right to request this meeting at any time during the school year.


6. Meet the Bus Driver

school bus

If applicable, introduce yourself and your child to your child’s bus driver. Your child starts the day on the bus, so it can set the mood for the rest of your child’s day. If your child has unique ways of communicating, let the bus driver know – it can make all the difference.


7. Get Involved 

hands raised

Parental involvement comes in many shapes and sizes. Some examples are: joining PTA (Parent Teacher Assn.) or CAC (Special Education Community Advisory Committee), School Site Council, ELAC (English Learner Advisory Committee) and volunteering during and after school. 

Also, if possible, parents should try to attend their child’s open house. At the open house you can become more familiar with the teacher, the principal, classroom rules and expectations, and the curriculum. Most importantly you can use the opportunity to continue building your relationship with the teacher and other parents.  


8. Think Long Term

grad with special needs

Think about your child’s educational goals and post-school future in advance. Too often, parents wait until their child turns 16 before they start developing a plan for their child’s post school future. By then valuable time has passed. 

What are your goals for your child? What are your child’s goals for herself? Are they on a Diploma track or Certificate track? Come learn the difference and how to prepare for transition at our Transition to Adult Life Clinic and/or Transition Support Group.  


9. Call Support for Families for assistance 

Support for Famlies logo

Here at Support for Families we have a “Phoneline” where you can call in and have a Family Resource Specialist review your IEP, assist you with referrals, and even just listen.

The Phoneline is staffed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30am – 4:30pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30pm-8:30pm. Support for Families also offers a number of clinics, workshops and trainings that can help you as you navigate the special education system.


Best of luck as you start the new school year!


Return to top

Inclusive Homework Checklist for Out-of-School-Time Staff

by Special Needs Inclusion Project (SNIP), a Support for Families program

(Note: If you are a parent, some of these tips can be useful for you as well!)

Homework can be daunting, especially if students are tired, lack skills or background knowledge, or just don’t have a lot of confidence. Your encouragement can dramatically improve a student’s relationship with homework - even if you don’t know much about the content.

staff with two students

To establish peaceful and productive homework time, out-of-school-time staff must truly believe that all students can achieve academic success, and they must recognize the huge amount of variability in strengths and challenges of individual children.

With these foundations in place, the following checklist can help you develop inclusive homework time skills:


  • I know what students, program supervisors, school-day teachers, and family expect us to accomplish during homework time.
  • I use a system for communicating with school-day teachers and families about homework: not only challenges, but also successes!

Physical Space

  • I provide students with clearly defined, tidy, quiet spaces to do their work with all of the supplies they need.
  • I make sure that all students have their specific needs met, such as pencil grips, a desk that accommodates a wheelchair, appropriate school tools or “fidgets,” etc.

Chunks and Choice

  • I help students learn how to break the homework into bite-size chunks: odds/evens, broken up by section, subject, paragraph, line, page, etc.
  • I get excited about showing even small progress: graphing how many math problems are completed each day or making a to-do list and checking off items.
  • I give students choices about the order in which they complete their homework chunks.

Mental Space

  • I focus on the process of learning by asking students to think about or share (with me or with a neighbor) the purpose of the homework after reading the directions.
  • I highlight students' efforts and problem-solving skills, rather than their “intelligence”, when I encourage their attempts to do their homework by saying things like “great job working out that problem on scratch paper!” instead of “you’re so smart, you got that in the first try”.

Routine and Expectations

  • I establish and maintain clear and consistent routines for homework, especially the beginning and end. I use signals or cues to grab student attention.
  • I teach and review expectations about when and how loudly students can talk during homework, what to do if they need help, and what to do if they finish early.

Problem Solving

  • When a student is “stuck”, I help them think creatively about how to move forward by drawing, looking at examples, stating the problem in their own words, etc.

An Inclusion Resource Sponsored by: cvs caremark

Find additional Tip Sheets and more information about the Special Needs Inclusion Project (SNIP) at: www.SNIPSF.org. SNIP is a program of Support for Families.

Return to top

Stay Positive! Stepping Stones Positive Parenting Program

triple p logoThe Triple P – Positive Parenting Program ® is an evidence-based positive parenting program designed to prevent – as well as treat – behavioral and emotional problems in children and teenagers. Stepping Stones is a specialist program under Triple P that is specifically tailored to meet the needs of parents of a child with a developmental disability from two to twelve years old.

The program uses the things you already say, think, feel and do in new ways, ultimately aiming to prevent problems in the family, school and community before they arise and to create family environments that encourage children to realize their potential.

“Children who experience developmental delays have the same needs as other children who are developing typically,” says Patricia Hayes Lacocque, SFCD Social Worker and one of the facilitators of the group. “However, they need extra assistance and opportunities to develop their abilities, which can be a very demanding role for parents.  The Stepping Stones program aims to make parenting a child with a disability a little bit easier.”

SFCD is excited to be able to offer the Stepping Stones Triple P program. Family Resource Specialists and Social Workers at SFCD were trained by The Parent Training Institute in San Francisco, and our first Stepping Stones 10-week series ran from June 12th to August 28th. The classes were faithfully and enthusiastically attended by 10 parents.

Parent feedback has been consistently positive as they have moved through the weeks, coming back each week to report about how their interventions and new knowledge is helping them be better parents.

Parents are reporting that they have enjoyed a connection with other parents of children with disabilities and have benefited from the parenting skills they have learned” Patricia says. They no longer feel so alone with the challenges they face raising a child with a disability.

stick figure family

For more about Triple P, go to www.triplep.net.

If you are interested in our next Stepping Stones Triple P series, please call 415-920-5040 and ask for Karen, Roxana or Patricia.  We also have plans of offering Triple P for Teens!

Click here for our full list of support groups!

Return to top

Being a Parent Mentor is Rewarding!

By Joan E. Selby, Parent Mentor Program Coordinator

As noted in our Summer Newsletter, the Parent Mentor Program celebrated 12 newly trained Parent Mentors who took the eight-month Special Education series to increase their own advocacy skills.  With this knowledge, not only have they increased their ability to advocate for their own children, they also increased their ability to support and mentor families.  It’s a great feeling with positive benefits!

In addition, Parent Mentors, through the Parent-to-Parent (P2P) training this past June, learned mentoring skills that include active listening techniques, communication skills, and understanding how to access resources.  The P2P gives the parent the “how to” skills in mentoring, providing helpful information in order to be responsive to families’ needs and giving Parent Mentors the skills to work with families and professionals.

Parent Mentors are also active in the community by participating on Parent Panels, assisting in outreach events, visiting legislators, and participating in interviews.
The PMP is an integral resource to SFCD and has been a part of the organization since prior to 1989. 

The next Special Ed training spans September 2014 - May 2015, providing Parent Mentors a better understanding of the special education system.  Areas covered in this training include the IEP process, assessments, and understanding their rights under IDEA.  The next P2P series will be held in December 2014 and repeats in June 2015.

Do you feel ready to help another family? 
If you are interested in becoming a Parent Mentor, please contact a Parent Mentor Coordinator:

Joan E. Selby (English): 415-282-7494 x113, jselby@supportforfamilies.org
JoAnna Van Brusselen (Spanish): 415-282-7494 x 114, jvanbrusselen@supportforfamilies.org

*Registration is required through PMP Coordinators only.

Return to top

Staff Title Change from "Community Resource Parent" to "Family Resource Specialist"

Support for Families is excited to announce that we have changed the job title of our “Community Resource Parents” to “Family Resource Specialists” to better reflect their responsibilities and their expertise. The job duties of our Family Resource Specialists will remain the same – only the name is changing.

Family Resource Specialists (FRSs), formerly Community Resource Parents (CRPs), bridge families and providers to the people, places, information, and resources they may need to enhance children’s development and well-being. They are highly trained members of our staff who are themselves parents whose children are at risk for or have disabilities or special health care needs. The FRS team staff the Phone Line, are available in our Drop-In Center, and also work with families and providers out in the community.

As always, FRS staff can assist you with information, in partnering with your children’s providers, with resources and referrals, and more. FRS staff can also assist you if you are a professional by supplying resources as well as facilitating referrals.

Please let us know if you have any questions by calling 415-920-5040 or emailing info@supportforfamilies.org.

Reviews from the Joan Cassel Memorial Library

developing cross cultural competence book cover

Developing Cross-Cultural Competence: A Guide for Working with Children and Their Families, by Eleanor Lynch and Marci Hanson

This textbook is unique in that it addresses cross-cultural competency for service providers. They update this book as the world changes and causes the cultural mix of the United States to change. The book is divided into three parts. Part II is very valuable brecause it looks at the cultural perspectives of the families that we serve. Each of the perspectives is written by a member of the culture represented. The book includes a comprehensive Contents page, suggested readings and resources, subject index and an author index to help the reader locate the needed information.

Horse Boy cover

The Horse Boy: A Father’s Quest to Heal His Son, by Rupert Isaacson     

Here is another requested book that came in with some book donations. Written by a loving father of a boy with Autism, it reads like a good adventure story that just happens to be a true story. It also is written in chapters covering an event and includes a map so the reader can follow the family’s journey in search of healing. Interacting with diverse people and horses changes the lives of each family member.     

my family matters cover

(Mi Familia Me Importa), My Family Matters to Me; The ABC’s of Home Improvement, by Dr. Marlena Uhrik

Our lives are often scattered and just too busy to have quality time with our families. The author has provided programs for families for over 40 years and sees the need to  increase family communication and understanding by introducing family activities. She chose to do an alphabet book of readings, pictures to color, creative drawing projects and much more. The activities encourage talking together discussing family history, funny events, the way things were 10 years ago or more. The book is written in bilingual Spanish and targets families with children in the 5 year to 10 year age group. It is fun to use and you may even want your own copy.

my secret bully

My Secret Bully, by Trudy Ludwig

Many books have recently been written about bullying. This one targets the area of relational or emotional bullying. This seems to be more common in young girls. They start out as best friends but something happens and the relationship changes. The author did an exceptional job of showing how the person being bullied loses her power and self-esteem as her former best friend spreads rumors and turns the other girls against her. An adult (Mom) steps in and helps her daughter take control of the situation. It is a good book to use for a discussion as it gives questions, techniques to use, additional resources and recommended readings.

show of hands cover

A Show of Hands: Say It in Sign Language, by Mary Beth Sullivan and Linda Bourke

This is an older book and was designated as a “Reading Rainbow Book.” I like it because it teaches basic signs and finger spelling but it also explains speech and communication. It focuses on the age group 8-12 and uses Dracula, word plays, diversity and cartoon illustrations to keep everyone’s attention. You do not need to be deaf or hard of hearing to really enjoy this book. I learned a lot from reading it.

Taking ADD to school cover

Special Kids in School Series, published by JayJo Books, written by a variety of authors.

We are fortunate to have the current complete series of disability awareness books for children. There are eighteen books and each highlights a different disability. The series continues to grow in number as teachers, professionals and parents request information for children about a disability not represented. These books are great for teachers of pre-schools and elementary schools, who have a child in the class with one of the disabilities described by the series. The series starts with: Taking A.D.D. to School and ends with, Taking Weight Problems to School.     

paint octopus cover

We’ll Paint the Octopus Red, by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

Several parents and staff members have requested this delightful children’s book. Thanks to a grant we were able to purchase it and many other children’s books reviewed here. It is the story of a 6-year-old only child, who becomes a big sister to a baby brother with Down syndrome. It is a gentle story of how she learns about the many things her brother can do versus the few activities that he cannot do with her. It is a good book to share with siblings and encourages them to ask further questions.



Reviews by Elaine Butler, Librarian

Each of these books has been personally researched and requested for review purposes by me for introduction to you, the reader.

Support for Families maintains the Joan Cassel Memorial Library which is a lending library for families and professionals, comprised of multi-lingual books, reference materials and media related to children with disabilities and special health care needs. The library is open during regular business hours.

If you have the title or author of a book you’d like to read, please go to our website and do a search. Go to this link and enter the title or author or subject and click search. If we have the item, call us and the librarian will hold the item for you until you can come to the office to pick it up. Try the online catalog or come and browse the shelves by category, new items added weekly.

Visist our library online at: http://www.supportforfamilies.org/library.html

Return to top

Return to top


Support for Families gratefully acknowledges gifts from the following individuals, groups and businesses, received May 1, 2014 through July 31, 2014. We apologize for any omissions or misspellings; please contact us so we can correct our records.

Businesses, Groups
CSAA Insurance Group
Pamakid Runners Club
United Administrators of San Francisco

Adelina Aramburo
Angel Contreras and Margaret Kendrick
Sharon Mahoney
John Podleski
Dia, Eric and Matteo Savant

In memory of Kathie Darby:
Chuck Maisel and Steve Carroll

In Memory of Jason Villafuerte:
Jane Bloxham
Margaret Chiu
Marcia Parrott
Laura Wingate

Individual Donors for the Kaiser Half Marathon
Kunle Ajayi
Meredith Akers
Syed Ali
Michael Altman
Louise Anderson
Nicolas Arnao
Maria Emily Atienza
Hugo Avianto
Angela Bauman
Carol Beatty
Laura Beaver
Doug Beeferman
Janine Benedict
Patrick Bernhard
Alex Bernier
Kimberly Bonacum
Derek Brookmeyer
Joanne Bui
Jake Bursalyan
Jeff Chaplin
Suzanne Charon
Megan Clancy
Brian Cox
Mark Cruz
Sharla Dale
Rochelle Del Rosario
Rose Marie Delgadillo
Mayra Deras
Adetunji Elegbede
Cecilia Fairley
Allison Friedenberg
Ed Gauci
Timothy Gee
Jacob Geier
Naomi Gleit
Daniel Goehl
Brandon Gordon
Maurilio Gorito
Ernesto Guillen
Maria Guillen
Rajeev Guliani
Derrick Hill
Sandra Hou
Melissa Howard
Caitlin Hurley
Enoch Hwande
Cholada Jitmart
Christopher Jocson
Aya Kawamura
Elaine Kempf
Anthony Knapp
Prasad Kodali
Kristen Konietzko
Paul Laflamme
Connie Larsen
Noah Lebowitz
Kelly Leist
Sumi Levy
Jonathan Li
Lily Liang
Peter Limbrick
Lillian Lingham
Steve Lohrer
Isela Lopez
Diane Lujan
Lisa Luong
Sara Maamouri
Maritess Madrinan
Brittany Malcolm
Nagesh Mallugari
Julian Marsh
Brian Maryo
Diana Mazzuca
Lisa Mcdaniel-James
Tom Mcglynn
Jenine Meredith
Dean Meritt
John Moore
Barbro Moran
Seraphina Mui
Katherine Murphy
Patrick Murray
Sorcha Niduinnin
Frank Noto
Patty Nozato
Nnenna Okezie
Kathryn Olender
Yohei Onishi
Alvin Otani
Allison Pardee
Jennifer Parker
Kalyani Parulkar
Julie Pellegrini
Gary Peluffo
Jessica Peluffo
Kyle Pickering
Christine Pierangeli
Velena Prieto
Ramon Quesada
Bridget Quinn
Alicia Ranney
Erica Rayas
Emily Reagan
Natalie Reed
Nancy Reynoso
Ruth Ricci
Matthew Roelle
Matt Romig
Ann Ronayne
Andrew Ryan
Jan Rydfors
Alissa Sambucetti
Karen Samman
Kim Scott
Duncan Seay
Allyson Shapiro
Rachel Sheehan
Kelli Simmons
Kristina Steverson
Elizabeth Sullivan
Kevin Sullivan
Keith Sweeney
Armin Taghinia
Ariel Taguinod
Sambath Touch
Les Tsang
Martha Van Kempen
Benj Vardigan
Sheila Wang
Jonathan Weisman
Doug Weller
Danielle Wolfe
Anthony Zeller
Michael Zensius
Jennifer Zotz

In-Kind Donations:
 California Speech and Hearing Association Student Drive
Sift Cupcakes and Dessert Bar
Tim Lincecum/Timmy's Giants Tickets

And we’ve recently learned of the following donations from 2013 Workplace Giving Campaigns: 
2013 Workplace Giving:
N. CA Combined Federal Campaign
Amy Hosa

City & County of San Franicsco
Anthony Breslin
Belinda Chan
Chi Kin Cheng
Kevin Coleman
Robin Hansen
Mauricio Lama
Sheryl Myers
Patricia Solis
Peter Straus
Peter Summerville
Michael Warren
Luisa Wong

City of San Mateo
David Shong

Santa Clara County Combined Giving
Yelena Alper
Miche'Al Babowal
Magdalena Cruz
Karen Grogg

Sonoma County Combined Fund Drive
Pamela Lynn Cullen
Darrell Craig Light

Wine + Design 2014 sponsors and donors will be listed in our Winter 2014-2015 issue.


Friday, October 10, 2014
Wine + Design 2014

Return to top