It is very easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated when trying to find help raising a child with disabilities. The best part, for my family, about Family to Family Network, is being able to speak with other parents who have walked in our shoes. Their own personal experiences and advice they shared with us have been so valuable. We have learned the importance of planning ahead and visualizing what the future will look like for our son and then showing us the steps it takes to get there.
F2F newsletter serves as a lifeline for us. I look forward to receiving it to find out what opportunities are available in our area. As the parents of an autistic individual, we are always searching to gain more knowledge to enable him to reach his full potential. My only conpliant is I wish we had had it sooner.
Family to Family has always been a lifeline to our family. Whenever we have a question, someone is there to help us. Family Friends has been a great program, matching a volunteer who would come spend time with not only our son with autism, but she also made sure to share her time wtih our two other kids as well. The office staff are always friendly and eager to help, and they are all a tremendous source of valuable information!
When I first found F2F, my son was 2 years old and I felt lost. After attending meetings, and meeting other mothers who have children with disabilities, I felt empowered. I learned what I needed to know to have my child included in a regular classroom and receive the services he needed. He is now 16 and a successful high school student in pre-AP classes. If I had listened to my school district when he was 3, he would have been put in a "Special" class with only children with other disabilities and he would have never progressed the way he did by being in a regular classroom. I now serve on the board of directors for F2F because they have given me so much that I felt I needed to give back to them. This is a great organization that helps all people.
Family to Family Network has been an inspiration to me. The staff not only is helpful, but supportive in many areas of the needs of children with disabilities. I feel comfortable calling with questions about school,federal law/programs,or medical needs. These women have helped me help my children throughout their lives. I have made life long friends at F2F by networking with other families with children with disabilities.
I love F2F Network! The Parent Liaisons helped me to learn the law and correct approaches to an ARD. They gave me the tools to present my case for inclusion which allowed my daughter with Down syndrome to attend her neighborhood school rather than be segregated at a different campus. Now, I am helping others due to the training I received. I also participate in a great program called "Family Friends" which paired a volunteer with my family. This volunteer has befriended the family and comes to play with my daughter with Down syndrome. She's like an adopted grandmother and has been quite a blessing.
F2F has helped me tremendously prepare for my child to enter public education. They have helped me to see things differently and to fight for what will be best for my son through valuable training and 1:1 interactions.
Review from Guidestar
When moving to Katy, TX from Virginia, I was quite overwhelmed. The educational process in Texas is very different than in Virginia and Family to Family helped by having many discussions on the phone, meeting in person to go over IEP forms. They send out many e-mails regarding upcoming events that help parents stay in the loop regarding special education in Texas. Wonderful group of people.
I was new to town and overwhelmed with school issues for my child with Asperger's. The staff at F2F were always kind, caring and supportive. They gave me alot of info. and usually had an answer to every question that I had! What an amazing organization.
I am a special education supervisor and arranged for Family to Family to provide a series of free parent trainings for the district. The sessions were extremely well received by the parents who attended. Mary Jane and the rest of her team did a beautiful job of supporting parents, providing valuable (and accurate) information about special education, and encouraging communication/ collaboration between parents and the school.
BEST THING IN TEXAS!!! F2F HELPED ME, A PROFESSIONAL SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER FROM OK., NAVIGATE THE TX SYSTEM TO EVENTUALLY HELP ME TO GET THE APPRPPRIATE SERVICES FOR MY DAUGHTER. SHE HAS SIGNIFICANT LEARNING DIDSABILITIES BUT HAS A GIFT WORKING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN. HER GOAL: WORK AT A DAYCARE CENTER AND SOME DAY OWN HER OWN. THE OUTCOME WAS A SERIES OF CLASSES THAT ENABLED HER TO "WOW" POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS WITH HER RESUME! SHE WAS HIRED BY THE 2ND CHILDCARE COMPANY SHE INTERVIEWED WITH AND, NOW 8 YEARS LATER, 2009, SHE SEES HER DREAM AS A REALITY. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK, F2F!!!!
We have really enjoyed the services of this network although they are limited in our area. We have a wonderful lady who comes each week to spend time with my two autistic sons. She has been a blessing to us. The other services are not available in our area anymore, or I would give a five-star rating. Thank you Family to Family Network!!
I am the adoptive mother of two special needs children and an adoption and foster care professional. When my family moved to the Houston area, I did not know any resources to help me with getting my children's needs met. The discovery of Family to Family has been a great blessing for us. We have benefited from training for me, and from activities for the children. They have the most comprehensive list of activities for children and families with special needs that I have seen in my more than 20 years of working with children and families. I frequently forward the newsletter to other families and they are able to benefit from the information.
As a newcomer to houston and having a son with a disablity, Family to Family Network were a fantastic resource. The information and services they provide are invaluable.
I have been a member of Family to Family Network since the beginning when we had meeting in our homes. Without the support, guidance, and collaboration of everyone in this organization my daughter would not have become the community member and productive citizen that she is today. When others were telling me "she cannot" they were saying "yes she can" no matter what the situation. We understood and identified with one another and our kids could be friends in an accepting environment. We, including our kids, have all moved on with the course of life but without this orginization in the early years I know I would not have had the strength, determination and knowledge to advocate for my child in all areas and improve the quality of her life. T
During a time when I had lost all hope of finding a source for help, Family to Family became a buzz-word among people I would meet moving through the maze of bureacacy and service providers. I met individuals with whom I had a lot in common. I was no longer an island. For more than twelve years I looked for someone who would care enough to listen to my woes. Following a lead to Disability Leadership Network, an advocacy training course through Family to Family, I gained a strength I never knew I had. I became the force my son needed to help him rise to a plateau many had said was unattainable. He is now nineteen and I am a relentless advocate, inspired to work on local, state and national issues involving individuals with developmental disabilities. I could not and would never have ventured to serve my community without the inspiration, resources and association with Family to Family. So, impressed and motivated by what I received, I wanted to give back to the institution that rescued me from the pit of desperation, I became a board member.
Family to family is absolutely an inspirational organization. The rewards of working with the kids and sharing time and knowledge with them is immeasurable. This quite a satisfaction that surfaces each time I leave after a visit. I truly thankgod for the opportunityto serve.
Dear Family to Family, Five years ago we moved to Houston after living in the Kansas City area for more than 7 years. We lived in a small community, were active in a small church, and I worked at a small bank, so moving to the Houston area was a huge adjustment. Four years ago I found myself not having enough to do with my time, and lacking in friends. Our 2 daughters both live out of state and I was feeling the need to do something that would connect me in some way with a family with children. I saw an ad in a local publication that Family to Family needed volunteers to be matched with a family who happened to have a child with a disability. Having had a friend in Kansas with a child in that category, I decided to give F2F a call. I soon found myself at their training where I met several other women similar to myself - looking for a place to volunteer but also feel needed. In Oct. of 2005 I was matched with my family and met with them for the first time. I must say, F2F did a fantastic job with matching us! They have 3 wonderful children - 2 with disabilities. The youngest, who just turned 4, is an adorable little girl (who I'm wildly in love with) who happens to have Down syndrome. The middle son, is their "typical" child of 5 and 1/2 and a most delightful little boy. The oldest son, now 13 and 1/2 has OCD, ADHD and just last year was also diagnosed with Aspergers......quite a plate full for anyone to handle. He can be quite a handful but he has a way of getting under your skin and before you know it you love him! I have grown to love these children and their parents like they ARE my family - not just as friends. They are the missing piece in my life - I now not only have 2 daughters, a son-in-law and 2 grandsons living in other states, I have a family here in Houston. Something that would probably never happened if I hadn't picked up the phone and called Family to Family. I love spending time with each of these special children and their mother - dad is usually at work! I've taken them shopping, to doctor appointments, to movies, to the park, out to eat and even had the oldest and youngest on sleep-overs at different times. I can laugh with them, or cry with them, tell them jokes or scold them - they know me and love me right back. I cannot imagine how my life would be if they would move from this area - it would be empty and sad and I'd have to start over again with a new family. So, I guess I could say that Family to Family has had a profound affect on my life and I am greatful to everyone there for giving me the training and the necessary tools to begin a new relationship that has blossomed into such a special flower.
We have received great guidance from Family to Family in learning how to advocate for our child. Leslie has always been patient and is a wealth of information.
Our son, and family as a whole, would not be where we are today had it not been for Family to Family Network. F2F validated our vision that our son would have a life filled with the same opportunites and choices that everyone else has, and then gave us the information, tools and resources we needed to be effective advocates on his behalf. The connections we've made with other families of children with disabilities through F2F have been a tremendous source of support and inspiration, and have turned into life-long friendships. Our family will forever be greatful to Family to Family Network for all that they've done for our family, so many other families, and our community at large!
I just wanted to take a minute to let people know what a valuable help and resource Family to Family has been to my family. I have a Autistic son who is now 17 years of age and we are facing the transition years where we are trying to prepare for life after high school. As many parents I talk with we have been through Ard meetings and EIP's since our son first entered school.I felt that with my prior ARD experience and having gone to many seminars, that I had a pretty good knowlegde and grasp on the process and had done well getting services and being an advocate for my child. Because I did not have a great deal of experience with "transition issues" I asked the folks at Family to Family to look over last years IEP and make any suggestions they felt were appropriate or helpful. I was truly amazed at how many mistakes they found with my sons prior IEP and how many suggestions they gave me. I was able to go into this years ARD meeting with a 4 type written pages of suggestions and proposed changes that were so helpful in positioning my son for a better future. I am by no means an expert in dealing with IEP's or special education law, so it is so important to have resources available to us to help us protect our children and give them the best opportuities they can have. The folks at Family to Family were happy to devote their time and expertise to help my son. I will continue to use this valuable resource in the future and would recommend that anyone reading this should as well. Thanks, Mike