Tag: community resources

Visions of Community | Saturday, March 8, 2014 – Seaport World Trade Center – Boston

guest speakers Michael K. Yudin. Dana Yarbrough, and Brooke Yarbrough, at the visions of community conference 2014
Visions of Community 2014

The Federation for Children with Special Needs held its annual statewide conference “Visions of Community, a Conference for Parents of Children with Special Needs and the Professionals Who Serve Them” on Saturday, March 8 at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. It was a wonderful day! Energy and inspiration, and hope and expectation were felt throughout the day by the 900 people who attended the event.

Two keynote presentations for Visions of Community were Michael K. Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services for the US Department of Education and Dana and Brooke Yarbrough. Dana is the Executive Director of Parent to Parent of Virginia. Her daughter Brooke operates Brooke’s Happy Tails Dog Boarding, a microenterprise she started in 2012. Michael Yudin’s message centered around three key principles: inclusion, equity and opportunity. His message was down to earth and resonated with parents and professionals. Yudin believes that we are to change the culture of expectations and truly believes that “parents are the change agents.” Dana Yarbrough and her daughter Dana spoke about transition to adulthood and again the issue of expectation was brought forth.  Dana expressed that in her experience as a parent she values having progressed from advocating for her daughter to learning to advocate with her daughter.

Breakout workshops at Visions of Community included topics on special education advocacy, managing challenging behaviors, transition to adulthood for students with disabilities, inclusion, policy initiatives, assistive technology, healthcare, bullying, parent leadership opportunities, early childhood, autism and more. In addition to approximately 30 sessions in English, a full conference strand of many of these topics was offered in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Somali, and Vietnamese and also ASL interpretation. The conference Exhibit Hall featured about 84 vendors and resources for families.

The conference offered a wonderful opportunity for families and professionals to network and learn about important resources.  Just to illustrate this point, a staff member related his experience in passing two parents in the hallway outside of the Waterfront Ballroom as they were leaving the session on the Emotional Journey of discovering your child has special needs. They were exchanging the types of benefits they had so far been able to acquire for their children of similar ages. What impressed the staff member was that even in the most remote crevices of the World Trade Center, parents were helping parents find the support they desperately needed, and the Federation conference is a major contributor to facilitating and initiating those interactions and relationships. That reflection exemplifies the mission of the Federation, which is the commitment to listening to and learning from families, and encouraging full participation in community life by all people, especially those with disabilities. The Federation places a tremendous value on parents because of the contributions they make as the leaders of families toward supporting the health, education, and development of their children at home and in society.

It was a day filled with information, hope, inspiration, support and the opportunity to establish links and relationships for parents and professionals. We only have to wait until March 7, 2015 for the next year’s conference to feel that energizing wave again.  In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the Federation and its projects, please visit www.fcsn.org.

To see past keynotes speakers and award recipients go to fcsn videos

Exploring Complementary & Alternative Therapies

YogaThere are many types of alternative therapies available that support natural self-healing and encourage sense of overall well-being.  Alternative therapies can reduce stress, pain and fatigue.  Where does one begin?   Do your research and decide what is important to you when considering CAM.

The National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is a great starting point to gather basic, reliable information. The following fact sheets were particularly helpful:

What is Complementary or Alternative Medicine (CAM)?
CAM is defined as a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine or standard care.  Standard care is what medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy and allied health professionals, such as registered nurses and physical therapists, practice. Examples of CAM therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic, meditation and yoga.

Alternative medicine means treatments that you use in place of standard ones.

Complementary medicine includes nonstandard treatments that you use together with standard ones.

Are You Considering Using CAM?

Tell Your Health Care Provider About Your Use of Complementary Health Practices
Selecting A CAM Practitioner

For Additional Information:

Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine Acupuncture Unit
Massachusetts Board of Registrations of Chiropractors
American Message Therapy Association
American Music Therapy Association, Inc

Check out our website at Disabilityinfo.org, to search for various alternative therapies.

Alternative Medicine, Acupuncture, Holistic Health, Music therapy,  and Art therapy.

Alternative Healing Provides Support for All

Guest Blogger, Kathleen Kopitsky, MS, MDivThis month I am pleased to introduce a friend and colleague, Kathy Kopitsky, Director of Adult Foster Care and Shared Living, who is returning as a guest blogger. While Kathy is a professional in the field of disabilities, this month she shares her personal experience in becoming aware of the value of alternative healing.

Facing a life challenge

My Neurologist finished reading the test results, took off his glasses, looked at me and shrugged, “There is nothing more I can do for you.”

“Really?” Tears were welling in my eyes.

I had been living with a left facial palsy as the result of a viral infection for months. It seemed that everything from my speech to my eating was affected. I wanted this to go away. I had plans for my life, my career. Plans that did not include smiling like Shrek; plans that did not include spitting while I sang in the choir on Sunday morning; plans that had no room for facial palsy.

He put his glasses on and reread part of the report. He looked at me over his glasses and said, “Perhaps you could try acupuncture.”


Acupuncture as an optionReservoir Family Wellness Center

I was totally skeptical. I did not know much about acupuncture as a method of healing. And I had no idea if it could be of use to me. Who would willingly want needles inserted into their body?

After weeks of researching, I decided to visit with a practitioner who was opening a new office near my work place. I set up an appointment after work so that I could stop on my way home.

I chose the Reservoir Family Wellness clinic in West Concord. I made this choice because of the founder of the clinic, Dr. Maria Broderick. According to their website, Dr. Broderick could help me with the pain associated with my facial palsy.

Alternative therapies for people with disabilities

I was also interested to read about how Dr. Broderick has dedicated her practice and her life to working with families, specializing in children with developmental delays including autism. I was not sure what exactly that could mean. However, I have spent my life working in the human services field and wanted to support someone else who did too.
In the waiting room of Dr. Broderick’s new office, among other books and magazines on healing, was a copy of Autism Advocate with an article written by Dr. Broderick. I was warmly welcomed and my treatments began.

In the 6 months of my own treatment —which has gone well— I have had a chance to speak to Dr. Broderick about her work with families dealing with autism.

I want to share what I found with you, dear reader. In the coming weeks I will do just that.

Finding Your Strengths – Locating a Massachusetts Time Bank Near You

In this month’s blog, we were introduced to Lynn Kilcoyne and Michael Doherty of the Time Exchange of the North Shore.  Time exchanges, also referred to as time banks, are an innovative option for people who want to give and receive services that can make a difference in each other’s lives.

How It Works

For every hour of service you perform for the time bank community, you receive one time dollar towards any service you need in exchange. Services may include child care, housekeeping, home repairs, cooking or simply providing transportation. No service is too small, as time exchanges offer the basic supports people need to get through the day.

Time Banks in Your Area

The following information will help you learn more about six time banks in your community within Massachusetts. Sign up and list what you would like to offer other community members. ..And if you’re not sure what you can give, coordinators will help you find your strengths and abilities.

Time Trade Circle
2 Corliss Place, Cambridge, MA
(617) 299-0882
Carol@timetradecircle.org, Louisa@timetrade.org (email preferred)
Serves Greater Boston area

Cape Cod Time Bank
5 Stage Coach Road, Harwich, MA
(508) 470-8587
John Bangert, capecodtimebank@gmail.com
Serves Cape Cod and Nantucket

Time Exchange of the North Shore
52 Andrew St, Lynn, MA
(781) 479-8407
Lauren Kilcoyne, lauren@timeexchangenorthshore.org
Serves North Shore area

Valley Time Trade
126 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Northampton, MA
(413) 585-0373
Jenny Ladd, vtt@commonwealthcenter.org
Serves Pioneer Valley

Cape Ann Time Bank
12 Calebs Lane, Rockport, MA
(978) 546-9551
Nancy Goodman, ngoodman52@yahoo.com
Serves Cape Ann area

Co-Act Timebank of Berkshire County
17 Cone Hill Road, West Stockbridge
(413) 232-7937
Michael Costerisan, michaelcosterisan@yahoo.com
Serves Berkshire County

For additional information go to www.timebanks.org