Exhibitor talking to parent

Register Today

2013 Information & Resource Conference
Saturday, March 23, 2013
8:30am - 3:30pm

John O'Connell High School
2355 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103


A2A Logo

Access to Adventure
Saturday, May 4, 2013
12:00pm - 3:00pm

Golden Gate Park Music Concourse Bandshell

Register by calling 415-920-5040

Organizations will share how your children and youth can participate in programs, camps and community organizations. Interactive and accessible activities, live entertainment, food, refreshments and more!

Check out the Facebook photos from last year's fabulous and fun event!



The muppets

The Secret World of Arrietty

The Adventures of TinTin

movie nights logo

Join us for a free family-friendly movie while munching on fresh-popped popcorn, pizza, and healthy snacks in our offices. Refreshments for kids and adults will be provided. Our playroom will open too!

Doors open at 5:30, Movie starts promptly at 6:00pm

Friday Night Movie Nights: 5:30-7:30
1663 Mission Street, 7th floor, SF, CA 94103

April 19, 2013 - "The Muppets"
May 31st, 2013 - "The Secret World of Arrietty"
June 14, 2013 - "The Adventures of TinTin" 


To Register call 415-920-5040





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Snippet #XX: What You're Already Doing for Effective Inclusion

Inclusive out-of-school time (OST) programs

While all children benefit from high quality out-of-school time programs, these programs give children with special needs a unique opportunity to experience meaningful and authentic belonging.

Beyond the benefits of providing learning and enrichment activities, OST programs offer children with special needs the chance to interact with their non-disabled peers and engage in physical activity and play in a way that's not always possible during the regular school day. OST can be a safe haven where children with special needs can learn and succeed side-by-side with children of all abilities.

The significance of program quality

Inclusive OST programs ensure that all children feel welcome and valued. Program quality is one of the most important inclusion strategies, and is a necessary component of successful inclusive services. An excellent OST program has already taken the first critical step towards effective inclusion by focusing on quality. If program staff relate and connect to youth, help foster relationships between children, and ensure the health and safety of their program participants, then they have already mastered a few of the foundational skills of high quality programs.

How can staff ensure that their program is high quality? The San Francisco Afterschool for All Advisory Council has adopted a specific set of knowledge and skills called "core competencies" for afterschool and OST staff and supervisors. These competencies are the fundamental components of a successful program, and are a tool to help increase the quality of afterschool programs in San Francisco.

Core Competencies for Afterschool Staff

San Francisco Afterschool for All recommends the items with an asterisk (*) as baseline competencies. The other items are recommended for staff who have mastered the baseline competencies.

Policy and Procedures
1) Ensures the health and safety of participants*
2) Follows safety and emergency procedures*
3) Maintains accurate program records and follows reporting procedures*

Program Goals and Content
4) Deliberately designs and conducts activities that are focused on program goals*
5) Supports a program environment that is learner-centered*
6) Ability to connect and relate to youth*
7) Promotes a sense of physical and emotional safety*
8) Supports positive relationships between staff and program participants*
9) Supports positive relationships between participants*
10) Conducts activities that expand the participants' knowledge and understanding of their own immediate community and the larger global community
11) Promotes the meaningful engagement and leadership of the participants
12) Incorporates activities to promote physical health
13) Incorporates academic content and skill development that contributes to participants' school success and helps address the achievement gap
14) Ability to implement project-based learning

15) Demonstrates positive work and team ethic*
16) Adequately informs, shares information, and collaborates with important adults*
17) Advocates for the participants' needs, providing referral information when appropriate*
18) Respects and honors cultural and human diversity*
19) Strives for self-improvement
20) Communicates effectively with other staff, stakeholders, and parents
21) Ability to effectively support English learners.

Core Competencies for Afterschool Supervisors

Supervisors of afterschool programs have their own set of competencies. Just like for staff, the baseline competencies for supervisors are marked with an asterisk (*). Supervisors should have a mastery of the basics, and then move on to the other competencies.

Policy and Procedures
1) Maintains accurate program records and follows reporting procedures*
2) Ability to establish and implement effective administrative policies and procedures, as appropriate*
3) Ability to establish and implement effective financial policies and procedures, as appropriate *

Staff Support and Program Management
4) Ability to successfully manage program staff*
5) Ability to recruit high-quality staff and volunteers*
6) Ability to engage, and support afterschool staff in implementing program activities to achieve program goals*
7) Ability to connect and relate to youth
8) Strives for self-improvement
9) Ability to promote the professional growth and development of program staff

Community and Collaboration
10) Advocates for the participants' needs, providing referral information when appropriate*
11) Ability to support long-term sustainability through collaborative relationships and fundraising*
12) Has a working knowledge of and abilities to use resources within the broader community
Program Design and Improvement
13) Ability to design program activities that support program goals and incorporate needs and interests of program participants, their families and the broader community*
14) Ability to articulate within the organization and to external stakeholders the program's mission and goals, and how program activities align to them
15) Ability to gather and review data and conduct evaluations for timely program improvement.

These core competencies are aligned to the California After School Program Quality Self-Assessment Tool. Based on local and national research, the goal of the competencies is to be a tool for increasing afterschool program quality for all children in San Francisco.

For more information, visit the San Francisco Afterschool for All website at http://sfafterschoolforall.blogspot.com/p/what-are-core-competencies.html.

Adapted from Inclusion Tools for After School Professionals. Special Needs Inclusion Project, Support For Families of Children with Disabilities, 1663 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 415-282-7494.

More Inclusion Resources for Professionals

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Where to Get Help with a Child's Special Education Services

compiled by Support for Families and San Francisco Unified School District

It is important for parents to know where to get help if they believe there are problems with their child's special education services.

Special Education law creates a partnership between parents and the school so that education can be more effectively designed and delivered to students. With any partnership, communication may break down. It is in the best interests of your child to resolve problems at the earliest indication of communication breakdowns, and to seek resolution at the school site whenever possible. While the law establishes formal methods for dispute resolution, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) has established a system of internal, less formal resolution, which you are encouraged to use whenever you believe a problem is developing.

• Discuss the problem with your child's classroom teacher and/or other school staff member who knows your child's needs. This can include your child's special education teacher, counselor, speech therapist, psychologist, or other specialist helping your child.

• Review your child's IEP and determine if the plan is being implemented. Does it need to change to meet any changing needs of your child? You may request a review of the IEP at anytime. A meeting must be held within 30 days of your request.

• If there is no resolution, discuss the problem with the school principal. Your principal may assign staff with responsibility for special education to help. You should also speak with the special education program content specialist assigned to your child's school. The special education teacher and the school principal will be able to provide you with the contact information for the special education content specialist.

• If there is still no resolution, call SFUSD Special Education Services at 415-379-7656, and ask for the special education Supervisor for your school. You may also call the appropriate Assistant Superintendent, Elementary & K-8 Schools (415-241-6310), Middle Schools (415-241-6607), High Schools (415-241-6478), County/Court Schools (415-241-6478 ). The Director of Charter Schools can be reached at 415-241-6121. For the Chief of Early Education please call 415-750-8599. Additionally, parents may contact Ramon Martinez (415-241-6150) in the SFUSD Family Voice office for assistance with addressing concerns.

• State law provides several mechanisms for resolving issues with the local school district. The California Department of Education (CDE) coordinates the Procedural Safeguards and Referral Services, which provide technical assistance information and resources for parents, school districts, advocates, agencies and others of procedural safeguards regarding students between ages 3-21 with disabilities and their educational rights.

Procedural Safeguards & Referral Services
Toll-free Help Line: 800-926-0648; Weekdays 9am - 4pm
Fax: 916-327-3704 or email: speceducation@cde.ca.gov

The current (2009) Special Education Rights of Parents & Children, Procedural Safeguards Notice can be downloaded (in multiple languages) from the CDE web site at: www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/qa.

Other Online Resources

CDE compliance complaint process: www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/qa/cmplntproc.asp
Request for Compliant Investigation form: Click on Request for Complaint Investigation (DOC; Revised Nov-2006) at the bottom of the following web page: www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/qa
Special education dispute resolution process: www.cde.ca.gov/ls/cs/k3/dispute.asp
• For systems issues, the CAC for Special Education is an advisory committee to the Board of Education, made up of parents and professionals, whose purpose is to advocate for quality special education. The CAC welcomes all to attend meetings and share information the 4th Thursday of every month, 7pm at SFCD. You may contact the CAC at cacspedsf@gmail.com or visit their website at www.cacspedsf.org.

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Moby's Perfect Smile

By Dr. Maria de los Reyes

When my son, Moby, was diagnosed with autism 5 years ago, he would not look at me, nor his father and brother. I could not stop crying. I felt like I was mourning for the life I had envisioned for Moby - friends and sleepovers, attending a good university, marriage, children…

And then I had the strangest thought, "His teeth!"

My family and I learned a lot about Moby's autism – his frustrations, compulsions, interests, motivations, and potential – through therapies like ABA, speech, OT, facilitated play, pivotal response training, etc. But I thought, "How many dental offices allow our kids to come in for 10 minutes without treatment, just to let them acclimate?"

I decided to devote a part of my dental practice for our kids to have a chance to learn to sit through a dental visit.

Early intervention
In my experiences, I've found that the teeth of many special needs children and adults are decayed and require extensive restoration. It reaches a point where patients need to undergo full sedation (general anesthesia at the hospital) to do x-rays, exams, cleanings, fillings, and crowns on almost every tooth.

A lot of us may feel anxious if our child does not cooperate with a dentist, that the time and effort is too much, so we postpone taking our child to the dentist. I have tried to create an environment where families don't have to feel these anxieties.

"My clinic is your clinic"
Ever since I've devoted a part of my dental practice for our special needs kids, I've learned a few tips:

• Allow your kids to start out by just sitting on the dental chairs or watching the TV, in privacy and without any anxiety or fear.
• Let them slowly acclimate to the noise of an ultrasonic instrument or a simple rotary toothbrush.
• Perhaps they can touch the air/water syringe, feel the suction tip, and ride the chair up and down.
• At my practice, I can reserve the entire clinic for them so that they can gradually acclimate to the sights and sounds, which I've seen can also help.

Hopefully, they will be able to calmly sit in a dental chair so that we can oversee the maintenance of their oral health.

It took Moby 5 years to get to this point. Today, I can do a filling on him and regularly clean his teeth in my clinic. Seeing Moby's smile makes it all worth it.

Dr. Maria de los Reyes is a dentist and the mother of Moby. She is a supporter of Bay Area Autism Group and SFCD.

Dr. Maria and her team will be with us to answer your questions at the Information and Resource Conference on March 23. She will also conduct a workshop on April 26 on Oral Health Strategies and Insurance.

For more information, please contact Dr. Maria at getperfectsmile@kingstdental.com or call 415-347-3817. King St. Dental is located at 170 King Street, Suite 105, San Francisco, CA 94107.

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PARENT MENTORS: An Important Resource for Families

By Joan E. Selby, Parent Mentor Program Coordinator

For over twenty-six years, our Parent Mentor Program (PMP) has provided families with an additional resource of support and information. Families are connected to Parent Mentors by a referral from their Community Resource Parent ("CRP") at Support for Families when the CRP recognizes the need for extra parent support. The Parent Mentor Coordinator works with the family to match them to a Parent Mentor around specific concerns.

Last year the PMP trained a combined total of 26 parents from the English and Spanish programs. These parents participated in the eight-month Special Education training series and/or the Parent-to-Parent (P2P) training -- a one-day training for English and two half-day trainings for Spanish.

The Special Education series covers various areas, including evaluations and assessments, the IEP Process, and Related Services to help Parent Mentors get a perspective of the Special Education system. The P2P training provides helpful information such as positive listening techniques, coping skills, and understanding resources in order to be an effective Parent Mentor.

Interested in becoming a Parent Mentor?
If you're ready to "pay it forward" and be supportive of other families, consider becoming a Parent Mentor. We are registering parents for the next P2P training in June 2013. In addition, the next eight-month Special Education training series starts September 2013 ending in May 2014. For information or to register, please contact a PMP Coordinator:

Joan E. Selby (English)
Phone: (415) 282-7494, Ext. 113
Email: jselby@supportforfamilies.org

JoAnna Van Brusselen (Spanish)
Phone: (415) 282-7494, Ext. 141
Email: jvanbrusselen@supportforfamilies.org

Note: Registration with Joan (English) or JoAnna (Spanish) is required. Thank you.

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Donor and Volunteer Recognition Event

February 21st was a bit late for Valentine's Day, but the Board of Directors and staff of Support for Families nevertheless wanted to show our love for the many donors and volunteers who contribute so much to the work we do for kids and families.

This year's honorees truly stand out:

Aquarium of the Bay, which has been a valued partner in promoting inclusion of people with disabilities and has hosted many of our family events;
Marriott Hotels & Resorts, which annually organizes a host of enthusiastic volunteers and donates delicious desserts that have made our holiday ice-skating parties such a success for so many years;
Nitro, which has donated hundreds of Nitro PDF licenses for SFCD to sell, bringing in thousands of dollars that we can use for our programs and services;
Sally Brammell, Gabriela Ramirez, and Laurie Strawn — all extraordinary Parent Mentors; and
Soledad Sullon-Cortez, a dedicated volunteer for our many family special events.

Honorees group photo
The honorees: John Frawley, President and CEO, Aquarium of the Bay; Carrie Chen, Director of Education and Conservation, Aquarium of the Bay; Laurie Strawn, SFCD Parent Mentor; Gabriela Ramirez, SFCD Parent Mentor; Lisa Benkowitz, Marriott Santa Clara; Nasser Mobarak, Director of Hotel Operations, JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square


Kat and volunteer
Kat Schlier, Special Events Manager, and Soledad Sullon-Cortez, dedicated special events

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Reviews from the Joan Cassel Memorial Library

Amazing You

Amazing You: Getting Smart about Your Private Parts, A First Guide to Body Awareness for Preschoolers
by Dr. Gail Saltz

This is one of several children’s books about Body Awareness that is new to the library. It is a good introduction for preschoolers to private  body parts by the proper name, care, use and basic sexuality. There is a plan in the book for parents on how to use the book when their children’s curiosity demands explanations. The illustrations, by Lynne Avril Cravath, are lighthearted, cartoony, colorful and easy for children to comprehend. 

Blind Advantage

The Blind Advantage: How Going Blind Made Me a Stronger Principal and How Including Children with Disabilities Made our School Better for Everyone
by Bill Henderson

The author wrote this book not only as his memoir but as a handbook filled with techniques for making an inclusive school. He first had to make his own inclusive environment as a school principal, who happened to be newly blind. This struggle helped him to create an inclusive school for his district. The book tells how with the help of parents, staff and many more people,  O’Hearn School  went on to include 30% of its students as children with various disabilities. It is a very successful school.  The author maps how this all happened and how others can follow the example of his school. It is an easy and inspiring read.

Far from the Tree

Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity 
by Andrew Solomon

This is a book that can be found on almost every must-read list. The author spent 10 years researching and writing it. I found it difficult to put down and a very dense 702 pages filled with stories about real people dealing with a life they had not expected. The author includes his own story about realizing he is gay and how his parents loved him and tried to make his life easier for him. He goes on to interview parents of transgender youth, parents of young adults with Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, prodigies, women who gave birth to children of rape and many more exceptional families. He looks at what good has come from the various situations and would they have cured their child if it were possible. The book really made me think about my feelings toward differences and parenting. The author includes a comprehensive Contents page, extensive notes, bibliographies, acknowledgments, an Index and About the Author – coming to a total of 962 pages. I encourage parents to read the portion about their child’s disability and then try other sections.

Out of Mind

Out of My Mind
by Sharon Draper

This book came recommended by both a teacher and a student. The book is about a fictional 11 year girl, who cannot walk, talk or write. She learns and remembers everything and is unable to express herself. The story reads like a work of non-fiction. It describes the difference assistive technology makes in the life of the main character. The author has received many awards for her writing. She also raised a daughter with developmental disabilities. It is so well-written that adults will also find it a pleasure to read. There is a guide for reading groups at the end of the book.


Parent Foot

The Parents’ Guide to Clubfoot
by Betsy Miller

It is seldom that I read anything about clubfoot. It is a pleasure to find a well-researched, easy to read,  illustrated resource for parents  about this condition. The author makes it easy to read portions of the book as needed by the inclusion of a comprehensive Table of Contents. The little book has photos or drawings of the various braces. There are many patient stories to be found in the text. She also includes appendices and an Index.

Vaccine cover

Vaccine: The Debate in Modern America
by Mark Largent

The vaccination controversy is still with us though in a different form. Certain vaccines were once considered one of many possible causes for autism. This well-researched book addresses the stormy history of the world of vaccination. Each child in the US by the age of 6 years has received 36 mandated or recommended vaccinations for diseases that are uncommon and for when they are adults.  The author looks at the uses of vaccine and the mandates to be vaccinated that are being relaxed each year. He includes 38 pages of notes, content’s page and index. It is easy to read and many of the facts are equally disturbing and fascinating.



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

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Reprint from Summer 2012 Newsletter: Special Education Services - Assignments and Contact Information

sfusd contacts

Download PDF Version [pdf]

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Support for Families gratefully acknowledges gifts from the following individuals, groups and businesses, received Nov 1, 2012 through Jan 31, 2013. We apologize for any omissions or misspellings; please contact us so we can correct our records.

Businesses, Groups
American Sushi House
Bank of America Matching Gifts
Google Matching Gifts Program
Green Earth Charitable Organization
Microsoft Matching Gifts Program
Physicians at Pacific Professional Building, CPMC
The Junior League of San Francisco, Inc.
Thendara Foundation
Waste Solutions Group, Inc.

Pamela Ball
David Becker
Ruben Becker
Nina & Michael Berg
Maria & Kevin Boden
Lee & John Boerger
Linda Boghrati
Wendy Bolker
Sheila Bost
Victoria & William Bruckner
Tracy Burt
Chiachi Chen
Timothy Chuter
Alexandra & Scott Clifford
Michael Conte
Deborah Daniels-Smith
Andrew Dubin
Lisa & Charles Duncan
Sandy & Donald Feifer
Jill & Joe Feldman
Edwin Ferrari
Marta Figueroa
Jacqueline & Alan Fox
Rose Garcia
Karen Kerner & Joshua
Gail Green
Sandra Handler
Richard Hobbs
Cathy Hong
Linda Hornbostel
Susanne Howard
Roselynn & Steven Itelson
Diane Johnson
Dawn Jones
Margaret Kendrick
Kiai Kim
Marjorie & David Kobe
Stephan Komlos
Marilyn Zoller Koral
Phung Lam
Carol & Gale Larks
Grace Leung
Jodie Louie
Ingrid Lusebrink
Mary Ann Malinak
Maureen McCarthy
Norma & Albert Moisio
Julia & Don Moseman
Patricia Napoliello
Hoai-Dung Nguyen
Ananya Pattanayak
Quyen & Calvin Pon
Erika & Steven Ragland
Tracy Wheeler & Paul
Maria & Jorge Reyes
Jim Riley
Peggy Barbieri & David
Robert Ruth
Pornpilai Sae-tang
Claudia Santuario
Lisa Louis & Hitoshi Shigeta
Tracy Green & Alan Siegel
Richard Sobel
Laurie Soman
Laurie & Lee Strawn
Rita Times
Angie & George Toy
Ruby Tsang
Jeanne Villafuerte
JoAnn & Frederick Wentker
Cindy & Calvin Yee
Tiffany Biyun Yu
Anne Marie Siu Yuan
Trent Zhu

Tributes and Memorials
In honor of Antonio Lucchini
Joyce Goldstein

In honor of Christian, Catherine & Avery Dauer
Susan Krist
Alvin Lipsetz

In honor of Juno Duenas
Nancy Lim-Yee

In honor of the 70th birthday of Robert Schneider
Shelley & Andy Forrest

In memory of Florence (Toots) Krist
Susan Krist

In memory of Frances Elizabeth Piazza
Angela Abbey
Hans & Leonette Eide
Jim & Carole Fogelstrom
Tracy Robinson & Judy King
Janeann & Dave Magnasco
Mary Saad
Virginia Sullivan
Ana Tornini
Lucy Kostos & Karl Waiting
Dorothy Young

In memory of Irving and Gloria Schlossberg
Judy Janec

In memory of Sarah Rosen
Carla & Hank Greenwald

In-Kind Donations
Applied Geomechanics
Aquarium of the Bay
BAR Photography
Sally Brammell
Jane LaPides and Murray
Cathy Corcoran
Glen Park Cleaners
Karen Hagstrom
Harbor House Law Press, Inc.
The Junior League of San
Francisco, Inc.
Josephine Lucchesi
Kathleen Schlier
Sift Cupcakes and Dessert Bar

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