WHAT WE DO…
Families Together’s programs are designed to build and sustain strong, healthy, informed, and actively involved family members who can work together to improve the lifelong outcomes for their child or sibling with a disability.
OUTREACH AND SUPPORT:
Families Together staff provide online as well as telephone support to families who call in with difficult situations. Support at IEP/504 meetings is also available.
PARENT TRAINING FOR CHILDREN WITH CHALLENGING BEHAVIORS:
These trainings are very informative and taught by Ruth Garfield. They are free to parents and child care is provided. It is a class taught in a series of two sessions. Parents learn why their children have difficult behaviors, how to prevent unwanted behaviors, and lastly, how to teach replacement behaviors.
FAMILY UNITY RECREATION ACTIVITIES:
FURA ‘s are held 3-4 times each year and provide families an opportunity to have a structured recreation activity with other families who have children with disabilities. Parent’s network and exchange information. Children renew friendships. A good time is had by all.
THEATRE ACTING CLASSES
Families Together has partnered with Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP) to provide free theatre acting classes for children with disabilities. Particular features of theatre-based strategies make them especially useful when working with individuals with disabilities:
-The theatre is a safe place for individuals to try new things/make mistakes
-Theatre activities allow for repeated practice of specific skills i.e. appropriate responses in conversation, recognizing nonverbal facial expressions of others, both positive and negative, suitable greetings and farewells, initiating friendships and conversations with others, introducing others, conversational tones and appropriate voice volume, manners and conversational etiquette, accepting help and giving and receiving compliments
-Theatre is inherently fun and motivating
Denise Wetzel is the parent of two children who have Autism. She is the Development Director and Bookkeeper for Families Together. Denise also enjoys being an advocate for families and individuals with disabilities. She is also responsible for coordinating Families Together Professional Development Webinar Trainings. Individuals from all over the United States attend the webinars to learn about including children with disabilities and challenging behaviors into their Head Start programs. She currently serves on the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities (ICDD) and is part of the Inclusive Education Network supported by ICDD. Denise is a Support Broker for the Department of Health and Welfare Family Direction program. Denise and her son, Mark, have a blog about their supported typing journey www.remarkablecommunication.blogspot.com
Karen Nelson has been serving children and families in a variety of ways for eighteen years. Karen has recently graduated with her Master’s degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from the University of Idaho. The focus of her degree was parent education, raising a child with special needs, and the parent-child relationship. Karen has four children, one of which has learning disabilities and another child who was born extremely premature with a long stay in the NICU. Karen is so grateful for the opportunity to provide support, resources and educational classes to parents and community members who are raising or working with a child with special needs. Karen is grateful to be a part of the support Families Together provides to families on the Palouse and beyond.
Becki McFarland joined the Families Together team in 2016 after working with children and families in volunteer positions for the last 10 years. She graduated from the University of Idaho with her degree in Family and Consumer Sciences with an emphasis in child development and family relations in 2005. Since graduating, she has been spending her time volunteering and raising her 4 children, one of which has been addressing speech disabilities. She is excited to be a part of Families Together team and get to reach out to other families from around our area.