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:
Below is a link to a printable document that lists all the proposed budget cuts
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/
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."
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.
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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or JoAnna Van Brusselen email@example.com.
Note: Registration with Joan Selby or JoAnna Van Brusselen is required. Thank you.
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.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
SET A BEDTIME AND STICK TO IT
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!"
WHAT IF SHE WON'T STAY IN BED?
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.
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 follow-up surveys, families told us about the impact of Support for Families on their lives:
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.