September 28, 2012


Annual Gala and Fundraiser





Our annual "Information and Resource Conference" was held on Saturday,
March 3, 2012.



This year's Access to Adventure held on May 5, 2012 was a great Success!



Download PDF Version

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What Impact Will This Year's Budget Have on Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs?

In January, Governor Brown released a draft budget to resolve California's $9.2 billion deficit. The proposed budget includes another round of severe cuts to health and human services and children's programs as well as another attempt to raise revenue:

  • $4.2 billion in spending reductions, including almost $1 billion in reductions to
    Cal WORKs; potentially major changes to the Medi-Cal program through "program flexibility" in benefits and payment policies and reductions in payments to federally qualified health centers (FQHCs); the transfer of the Healthy Families Program to Medi-Cal; another $200 million cut to the state's developmental services; and the elimination of 62,000 child care slots.
  • $6.9 billion in additional revenues through passage of an initiative on the November 2012 ballot that would temporarily raise taxes on the state's wealthiest earners and increase the state sales tax by ½ cent.
  • $5.4 billion in additional and devastating trigger cuts—primarily to K-12 public
    education—if the revenue initiative doesn't pass.

    Note: All Savings listed are for Fiscal Year 2012-2013

Below is a link to a printable document that lists all the proposed budget cuts
http://www.supportforfamilies.org/legislative/2012 Budget Cuts.html

These proposals are not yet final. If you have something to say, remember to voice your concerns. Legislators need to hear about how these proposals will impact your family. Try visiting them in their home offices, attending a hearing to voice your concerns, providing written input, or even writing an Op Ed piece for your local newspaper.

Following are links that letters or postcards may be sent to regarding the proposed budget cuts.

The targets during the budget process are the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees, especially the subcommittees focused on health,(1) For members of Senate Budget Cte, go to: http://sbud.senate.ca.gov/
Subcommittee No. 3 on Health and Human Services: Senator DeSaulnier (Chair), Senator Alquist and Senator Emmerson (2) For members of Assembly Budget Cte, go to: http://abgt.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff
Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services:

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Dancing the Night Away

By Jacob Lesner-Buxton

It's Saturday Night. I'm in a San Francisco club dancing the night away with a woman named Liz whom I find attractive and fun. But I'm not exactly having fun. My attention is on the clock. I'm thinking about MIDNIGHT, the hour when I would miss the BART train home and, like Cinderella, be stranded in a cold and lonely city.

An hour ago, two of my friends asked Liz if they could stay over in the city at her place. She'd grinned and said, "Sure." Now, my heart is pushing me-Ask her, ask her! But, in my head, the evil stepmother, is saying "This is one ballroom where you will never dance."

I'm a guy with a disability, my hands are hard to control and my muscles tend to jerk in the middle of tasks requiring fine motor skills. So, I can be a messy person, I can leave my belongings everywhere, spill water when I shower, and get the jam from the toast all over my face. Although I try to curtail these behaviors when I am staying with someone, I am always afraid that people will see the reality of how disabled I am in some areas. If I let anyone see my true self, I expect judgment to rear its ugly head. I'm afraid they would never speak to me again.

Am I Cinderella? My friends must think so. They're like people at the palace ball, left staring after that person fleeing down the BART escalator, asking why? I've even made arrangements the day before to stay overnight with someone, only to feel my cold feet, make excuses and run.

The reason I run so much is that I'm scared to ask for help. And, I don't want to let people see me fail at a task that able-bodied people are supposed to be able to do. One time in the dorms at my college, I spilled laundry soap in the hallway, as two females pointed and laughed at me.

I've been asked if I make Origami by store clerks who notice how I stuff my money in my wallet. These experiences from strangers hurt, but the pain would be more extreme if these words came from a friend.

In the past few years, I've noticed I have lost touch with some old friends and I can't help but wonder if they felt uncomfortable with certain aspects of my disability.

There's another thing. I like that my life extends beyond the disability sub-culture, but sometimes I feel like a token disabled person. I'm not a representative for all people with disabilities and I don't want that kind of spotlight.

It gives me so much relief when able-bodied friends talk about their experiences with disabled folks. When they open up about past experiences with disability, I feel comforted knowing that if I drop a pea off my plate or spill a glass of water, it's not the end of the world. One person even flirted me with me on a date, by offering to wipe my face (and that was one sensual napkin!). While having an attractive women wipe my face is cool, just having someone who is understanding and accepts my limitations, ends my Cinderella impulse and allows me to keep dancing the night away.


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Essential Best Practices for Inclusive Schools

by Deidre Hayden, Director, Special Needs Inclusion Project (SNIP)

The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire has published "Essential Best Practices for Inclusive Schools." It includes 12 statements and 109 indicators of inclusive practice, which help answer the question "What is Inclusion?" by providing observable – and do-able – actions. The practices, based on their research as well as conversations with educators, youth and families around the country, contribute to the "creation of classrooms and schools in which all students are valued members, full participants, and active learners." An excerpt follows; the entire document can be viewed at

Social Relationships and Natural Supports
The first essential condition for friendship is full inclusion. When students with disabilities are kept apart from the mainstream of school life there are few opportunities for friendships to develop between students with and without disabilities. Going to recess, eating in the cafeteria, and access to extracurricular activities are recognized as key ingredients to the formation of friendships. Students who experience significant disabilities participate on sports teams, perform in band and choral groups, perform in school plays, and so forth. Accessible transportation and staff support are provided when necessary to enable students to participate successfully.

  • The student with disabilities has the same variety of social networks as students without disabilities: close friends, acquaintances, kids they share activities with, and so forth.
  • The student with disabilities participates in the same variety of inclusive and typical extracurricular activities as students without disabilities.
  • When needed, adults facilitate the building of social networks for the student.
  • Whenever possible, physical, emotional, and instructional supports are provided by non- special educators, including classroom teachers, librarians, classmates, office personnel, and volunteers.
  • The student has the opportunity to provide support and assistance to others as
    well as to receive it.

The entire compendium of "Essential Best Practices" can be used by parents, teachers and others in the community to help improve inclusive practices in the schools. It includes an action plan in addition to suggestions for various groups, including teachers, school boards, parents and youth to use it as a guide for school improvement efforts.

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A Big Congratulations to Our New Mentors!

by JoAnna Van Brusselen, Parent Mentor Program Coordinator

Support for Families is happy to announce that during this past school year, the Parent Mentor Program hosted an eight month training session for both the English and Spanish speaking parents seeking to improve their Special Education knowledge and self-advocacy skills. Our twenty-two newly trained mentors received training on what Special Education is and is not, who is eligible, the types of services that can be provided, timelines, the six principles of IDEA, placement, procedural safeguards, least restrictive environment, inclusion, etc.

Congratulations mentors, you're a wonderful group of parents and we appreciate your enthusiasm, energy, knowledge and time. Your participation in this program allows our agency to help serve a number of families in need. We can't do it without your help!

Interested in becoming a mentor…

We encourage you to participate in our upcoming Special Education Series scheduled to begin in September. This training offers English and Spanish speaking parents the opportunity to learn about their rights and responsibilities under the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) and to learn how to navigate this system with the support and knowledge of other parent mentor volunteers.

The Parent Mentor trainings are FREE. Limited childcare is available with pre-registration.To learn more about the Parent Mentor Programs, please call Joan or JoAnna at 415.920.5040 and/or via email: Joan Selby jselby@supportforfamilies.org or JoAnna Van Brusselen jvanbrusselen@supportforfamilies.org.

Note: Registration with Joan Selby or JoAnna Van Brusselen is required. Thank you.

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SWEET: Assistive Technology for Young Children and Their Families

Dr. Nancy Robinson, Program Director of the Communicative Disorders Program at San Francisco State University, presented a workshop at the annual Information and Resource Conference on "Supporting Your Child's Communication with Easy-to-Use Tools." She shared information and resources from the SEEDS* Workgroup on Early Education Technology (SWEET).

The purpose of SWEET is to support families and early intervention program staff in learning about and accessing assistive technology (AT) resources for young children with disabilities. SWEET has seven guiding principles that strongly focus on the involvement of families. The SWEET website includes sections focusing on infants/toddlers and preschoolers as well as training modules and an AT Toolkit.

In the workshop, Dr. Robinson provided information about the SWEET Assistive Technology Toolkit and Toolkit Guide. The purpose of the toolkit is stated in the Toolkit Guide: "The SWEET AT Toolkit was developed to meet the needs for access to low-tech, inexpensive tools designed to assist young children with disabilities to learn, play, grow, and participate with peers and family members." The Toolkit Guide includes a list of materials, supplies, and equipment; handouts on individual components of the Toolkit; and a resource list. The AT Toolkit, AT Toolkit Guide, and many of the handouts can be downloaded from the SWEET website in PDF form. The handouts have detailed instructions for making the items as well as goals, activities, and additional resources for using each item.

Dr. Robinson also demonstrated several tools from the Toolkit — things that parents and teachers could make from affordable, easy-to-find materials and then use with very young children at home and at school. Examples included several ways to increase children's access to books. One suggestion is to take apart a child's favorite book, put each page in a clear page protector, and place all the pages in a binder. This makes the book lie flat and allows the child to more easily turn the pages. For children who have difficulty turning pages, page fluffers or page turners can be used with any book. Page fluffers are items attached to each page to create extra space between the pages, thus making it easier for children to get their fingers between the pages. Page turners are items attached to each page that extend beyond the page. Children can then grasp the turner to turn the page. Making homemade books such as a baggie book is a way to create inexpensive books with high interest for children. An object, photograph, picture, or page from a book can be placed in a baggie. The baggie pages are then bound together to create a book.

Please check out the SWEET website for detailed information on making these tools as well as many other ideas for supporting young children's learning and development with assistive technology.

*SEEDS is a project funded by the California Department of Education, Special Education Division, and the Sacramento County Office of Education. SEEDS provides free training and technical assistance to early childhood special education program staff and families.

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Volunteers Honored at Volunteer/Donor Appreciation Event

By Rachael Moore, Care Services and Volunteer Manager

On April 19th Support for Families held its annual Donor and Volunteer Appreciation Event. Volunteers, donors, board members and families all came out to meet one another and to celebrate another successful year for our Volunteer Program. The SFCD Board of Directors provided food and beverages; and "New Arrival" from the School of the Arts entertained the guests with their delightful jazz music.

This year we honored 7 very special and unique individuals for their extraordinary commitment and dedication to Support for Families:

  • Queenie Wilwayco - Benmour and Simple Kindness
  • Catalina Ramirez - Volunteer Parent Mentor
  • Deborah Lynn - Dalton- Volunteer Parent Mentor
  • Veronika Gulchin - See My World Photography
  • Rob Martinez- Development Volunteer
  • Lisa Moniz - PG&E, Woman's Network Volunteer Group
  • Jesse Romero - Volunteer Handyman Extraordinaire


Last year alone hundreds of volunteers donated more than 3,700 hours of service to Support for Families. On behalf of Support for Families, and the communities we serve, we would like to express our deepest appreciation to all of our volunteers who dedicated their time, energy and skills over this past year. You are a vital part of our organization and we simply could not do the work that we do without you!

If you are interested in volunteering with Support for Families, please contact Rachael Moore, Volunteer Manager via telephone (415) 282-7494 or email rmoore@supportforfamilies.org

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For many parents, putting the kids to bed is a daily nightmare. In theory, bedtime may be nine o'clock, but at 10:30 the children are still wandering around the house, asking for drinks, or going to the bathroom for the twentieth time. This routine may be accompanied by a good deal of arguing and screaming. With a little thought this kind of evening can be avoided.


First and foremost, set a bedtime for the kids and stick to it as much as possible. This time may vary, of course, depending on whether it's a school night or a weekend, or whether it's during the school year or summertime. Let's assume that you have a nine-year-old, and you decide that nine o'clock will be the time to go to bed. At 8:30 you set a timer for 30 minutes and tell the child that it's time to get ready for bed. This means that the youngster must do everything required to prepare for bed—on her own—and report to you. (If the child is two or three, you'll have to help him get ready.) If the child has completed all the necessary tasks you give her some praise and encouragement for a job well done. The time that is left between 8:30 and nine allows you to read a story or to simply sit and talk.


This approach serves three purposes. It is an immediate reinforcer for the child's doing a good job of getting ready for bed. It is also a good opportunity for you to spend a little quiet time together, which most kids value quite a bit. And finally, these moments with you help the kids relax and get more in the mood for going to sleep. You certainly wouldn't want them running around and yelling right before they're supposed to hit the sack. When nine o'clock rolls around, tuck the child in, kiss her goodnight, and leave the room. At this point some parents say, "How naïve you are; the kid is right behind me!"


Some kids just can't seem to stay in bed after you tuck them in. You put them down and they get up. You try to go about your business. They are always coming up with some new reason for getting out of bed. What you should do about the problem is based on a basic principle: if a child gets out of bed, the longer she is out of bed and/or the longer she stays up, the more reinforcement she gets for this behavior. The only conclusion, therefore, is that you have to cut her off at the pass. It is no fun, but this is no time for wishful thinking—or ridiculous conversations about why she should stay in bed. What you do is park yourself in a chair in the doorway to her bedroom. Bring a good book if you want. Sit with your back to her and don't talk no matter what she says. If she gets out of bed and comes to you, take her gently by the arm or pick her up and put her back. If this routine keeps up, let her just sleep on the floor. After a few days or so, your child should stay in bed without much fuss.

1-2-3 Magic Newsletter by Dr. Thomas Phelan © 2012 Simple, straightforward parenting advice and helpful tips from Dr. Phelan's award-winning, best-selling 1-2-3 Magic Parenting Program. To learn more visit 123magic.com

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Reviews from the Joan Cassel Memorial Library


Carly’s Voice, Breaking Through Autism,
by Arthur Fleischmann with Carly Fleischmann

I have read many personal stories by and about people living with autism. This book is different. First it is written by a professional writer, her father and by Carly herself. Carly is nonverbal and has autism. She does have a lot to say and expresses herself beautifully. She has a fraternal twin sister, who does not have autism and an older brother. Carly’s autism brought chaos to an otherwise quiet home. Once she learned to express her needs through use of a computer, everyone was surprised by all Carly wanted to express. Like her dad, she is an excellent writer and advocate. I found the interview given by Carly fascinating. A printed copy of her participation is included in the book. It is a pleasure to read her continuing story.

top 100

Social Rules for Kids, The Top 100 Social Rules Kids Need to Succeed,
by Susan Diamond, MA, CCC

The author is a licensed speech-language pathologist, with a practice in Alameda, California. She felt the need to help her students by compiling a list of 100 most useful  rule to use in communication. The rules came from her students. An example is Rule# 76: Use Eye Contact. Using eye contact shows people that we want to interact with them. The rule is supported with strategies to achieve the desired result. The page for rule #76 ends with: ”Remember I use eye contact both when talking and listening.” Social skills are learned and a person with a developmental disability like autism needs help with this learning process. It is a helpful resource for young adults.

full life

A Full Life with Autism, From Learning to Forming Relationships to Achieving Independence,
by Chantal Sicile-Kira and Jeremy Sicile-Kira

We have two books written by Chantal. This is her first book on transitioning to adulthood that is written with her son, Jeremy. Her words are in standard print and Jeremy’s are italicized and use a different font. Jeremy is “nonverbal” and has autism and has graduated high school with a regular diploma and a 3.7 GPA. The book is written as a guide for parents and their transitioning children. Each chapter has a defining title as in, Creating Lifelong Community and Personal Supports, with a quote by Jeremy. Each chapter ends with Jeremy’s 10 Helpful Hints for Parents and College Students. The book also has a bibliography and Index. I think it is an excellent resource that parents and their children should read together to prepare for transition to adulthood.

silent  star

(Children's Book)

Silent Star, The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy,
by Bill Wise, with beautiful drawings by Adam Gustavson

This is an inspiring biography of a baseball star of long ago. He played as a major leaguer for Oshkosh, Wisconsin in the late 1880s. He retired as the best major league outfielder in 1903. He was the first deaf player and was followed by other players , who are deaf or hard of hearing. I feel this book is an excellent book to use to introduce disability awareness and history. His story didn’t end with his baseball career  as he continued to built a full life with determination and courage.


(Children's Book)

ACC and Me,
by Kathryn Schilmoeller and Lynn Paul

One of our parents had this book donated to our library. I asked myself, what is ACC? Dexter, age 10 explains it all using age appropriate language. It is a perfect read aloud book for a family or teacher, with a child with ACC. What is ACC? It is Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. Still don’t know – read the book.



Reviews by Elaine Butler, Librarian

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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Special Education Services - Assignments and Contact Information

sfusd contacts

Download PDF Version

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Support for Families Annual Report Summary

The Support for Families Annual Report for 2011 is now available on our website and at the Support for Families offices!

This report summarizes the major activities of the past year and the impact of SFCD's programs and services on families. Some highlights:

  • In 2011 Community Resource Parents (CRPs) provided individualized
    information and support to 735 families and 216 professionals, making more than 5,000 phone, e-mail or in-person contacts.
  • Support for Families provided 328 workshops, trainings, and clinics in 2011 on a wide variety of topics based on needs expressed by families.
  • 126 active volunteer Parent Mentor volunteers provided individualized
    assistance in English and /or Spanish.
  • 295 (unduplicated) family members and professionals attended one of our 16 Support Groups.
  • Volunteers provided more than 3,700 hours of service in support of programs and at our events in 2011.

In follow-up surveys, families told us about the impact of Support for Families on their lives:

  • 96% reported that they felt less isolated, less stressed and/or better
    prepared to solve problems.
  • 94% obtained appropriate information about options, services, laws or resource.
  • 97% felt better prepared to advocate for their child's needs using
    positive parent-professional collaboration.
  • 88% believe their child received more appropriate services because of the information or help they received at Support for Families.

This year, our report includes some wonderful family photos taken by Veronika Gulchin and Jessica Hobbs, and quotes from families about how Support for Families has helped them. Our Annual Report also summarizes the agency's finances. (The complete annual audited financial statement is available at our offices). And we are honored to list the names of more than 500 individuals, couples, groups and businesses who made gifts to Support for Families in 2011 to sustain our work!

Please visit the SFCD website, stop by the Family Resource Center, or call the office to request a copy of the 2011 Annual Report.

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Donations received February 1, 2012 through April 30, 2012. Support for Families gratefully acknowledges gifts from the following individuals, groups and businesses.

Businesses, Groups:

Ara & Edma Dumanian Foundation
Harold L. Wyman Foundation
PEO Chapter OX

Michelle Foosaner
Francoise Herrmann
Diane Johnson
Susan Monson
Calvin Pon
Rachel Simon
Ryan Sims
Linda Stevens
Ben Trotzer

Workplace Gifts:
Anonymous, Allstate Giving Campaign
Nersi Boussina, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
William Breck, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
Jeffrey Garrison, United Airlines Employees
Todd Gemmer, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
Therese Merrill, United Way Silicon Valley
Angela Wong, Chevron Humankind
Cara Zeller, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

For the Information & Resource

Kaaren Alvarado
Janessa Clary
Gregory Cutcher
Georgette Guerra
Martha Guzman
Demetra Hillman
Yury Hurtado
Lillian Lim
Wayne, Melanie, and Irene Lok
Darlene Rutkowski

For the Family Voices of
California Health Summit

Judy Bachman
Melissa Burke
Gregory Cutcher
Irene DeCredico
Amelia Delome
Erin Givans
Tina Greco
Dave Kramer-Urner
Chris Perrone
Edward Schor, M.D.
Barbara Sheehy
Alexa Silva
Laurie Soman
J. Leticia Valencia

Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital
Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health
Miller Children's Hospital Long Beach
Patient & Family Centered Care Partners
Shield Health Care
State Council on Developmental Disabilities


Tributes and Memorials:

For Michelle Foosaner's
Birthday "Friend-Raiser":

Stephanie Boyd
Marla Diamond
Anne Diamond
Saleema Fazal
Michelle Foosaner
Debra Foosaner
Lauren Foosaner
Jennifer Howe
Angelita Hsieh
Caitlin Lanctot
Megan Montague
Scott Teger
WISH Bar & Lounge
Jovan Yglecias

In Honor of Jake Gamboa:
Crista and Chad Martin

In Honor of Lisa Muniz:
PG&E Corporation Foundation

In-Kind Donations:
18 Rabbits
Aidell's Sausages
Aquarium of the Bay
Nina Boyle
Jane LaPides and Murray Cahen
Children's Creativity Museum
Jennifer Crayton
Louis Goodman
Veronika Gulchin, See My World Photography
Gymboree Corp.
On the Level SF Walking Tours
Kelly Outis Reine
Simple Kindness
Sports Basement
Trader Joe's

For Access to

AAA Insurance
Rainbow Grocery

Performers & volunteers:
Emcee – Chuck Poling
Sound Engineer – Martin Brenneis
Band - Jeanie and Chuck's Country Round-up
Band - Windy Hill
Drumming - Performing Arts Workshop
Dance Performance: - Angela Durantes and Stepp'in Out Dance Studio
Roving Magic Tricks - Magic Jeanne
PG&E Volunteers
The Junior League SF Volunteers
Graphic Designer – Amanda Sargisson
All of our individual Volunteers

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