I've been connected to Support for Families since my daughter, who has Down syndrome, was born over 25 years ago. Even longer, actually--knowing of the existence of SFCD helped me know, even before she was born, that my family would not be alone raising her. For the first few years, it was the parent support group that helped immensely, as well as various workshops on different topics. Then I became a parent mentor and developed relationships with other families who were new to the world of raising a child who had Down syndrome. More recently, Support for Families has helped my now-adult daughter recruit students for a dance class that she teaches, by letting us set up information tables at their annual Information and Resource Conference and the annual Access to Adventure in Golden Gate Park. Both of these events offer a wealth of information to families and professionals looking for opportunities and activities for their loved ones or clients. And the workshops I mentioned earlier continue, on topics like IEP's, special needs trusts, housing, health care, etc. Support for Families is an incredible organization that I can't even imagine having lived the past 26 years without.
Support for Families is a fantastic resource for families, their children, and for professionals. When I began my career in special education, my employer provided absolutely no training for working with students with disabilities. I went to several workshops at Support for Families that discussed interventions and approaches to working with students with disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome. They had translators for attendees who did not speak English. Their speakers were occupational therapists, physical therapists, and other professionals.
They are great at providing information about special education in public schools and have been such a wonderful source of support for the families in my classroom. I tell my families to turn to Support for Families when they have concerns or problems that are out of my control. Their monthly CAC meetings have become a hub for concerned families to speak with representatives from the local school district.
San Francisco families and professionals are fortunate to have a Support For Families. Now if only all counties and districts had something like this in their communities, we could have many more empowered families of all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds!
I have been volunteering as a Violinist at Support For Families events for years and have had the opportunity to speak with multiple people who work for the organization as well as other people who volunteer for it and to donors. I have gotten a good sense of their values in our conversations and feel that they serve a much-needed function for a group of people who have a particularly difficult time finding the keys to success in our complex society.
As an employee of a non-profit organization that gives support to adults with disabilities and an adult with special needs myself, I feel privileged to have the continued opportunity to volunteer for this organization.
I have been volunteering with the kids and assisting with events at Support for Families for over a year. The care and sensitivity to social needs is incredibly accentuated by the compassion and devotion of the workers here. Families from diverse cultural backgrounds and physical needs present during every meeting an assured smile and state feelings of security by the warmth this organization provides to them during their events, such as movie nights, storytelling circle times, picnics, and parent-caregivers educational meetings. I highly recommend this organization and will continue to support their worthy cause.
I learn how to help this organization because my son. He was 9 years old and ready to help others. I always said to him that is better give than receive, so we decide to help in this amazing organization, Support for families is a hardworking organization that care for every single kids. All the staff are nice, welcoming every time that you help, it has a good environment that makes you feels that you know them for a long time.
I recommend other to come and help them, here you always will be busy and kids will thank you always with their smile and when you see them having fun.
I am glad Support for Families was created because in this world we need orgs such as this. The community we live in is very diverse which includes race, age, and people that have disabilities. Most people shy away from someone or something that is different with a face of disgust. So, when I hear about orgs that help those in need, I feel that they are helping the world and the unknown (diversity's). I was born with a mild syndrome that has affected me throughout my 15 years of age. My mother started talking to SFCD and later, was able to acquire a great job in this organization helping with inclusion of children with disabilities. All of the people who work at SFCD are hard-working and care about what they are doing. That passion of helping someone is a very good feeling to have. All of the diverse perspectives create a well-rounded community. Even though I am young, I am still passionate about helping people with disabilities and making sure they are able to do the things that they want to do and CAN do. I am proud to know and be apart of the SFCD community and I hope more parents and other organizations will collaborate and work with this community for years to come.
This organization is incredibilly dedicated to serving Students with Disabilities. The knowledge they pocess and provide to parents is invaluable. I am expecailly impressed with Joan Selby. Her professionalism and dedication continues to be of optimum value.
Linda McNulty Paralegal
We are the parents of an autistic 15 year old. Over the years, Support for Families has been a great resource. They hold useful free seminars (with translation services provided too) and have organized many interesting activities for this community of children to participate in and enjoy.
I only wish that I had more time during the business day to get away from work and attend and get involved with more of the many benefits that they offer and have time to help volunteer there.
Support for Families (as most of us call it) has helped me navigate the complex network that is the special education system. Between schools, health care providers, regional center, outside therapists and consultants, sometimes it's very overwhelming and confusing to get the info that I need to help my child. The staff and volunteers at Support for Families are always friendly and responsive. They treat you like family and know where you're coming from because most of them also have children with disabilities. They know the frustration and rewards for sticking with it and seeing things through. They provide trainings, support, childcare and fun family events all for free. I know my life has been made a lot simpler because of their help. I can't say enough how great they are. That's why I also volunteers for them when I can.
As a parent, I have learned so much about how to effectively advocate for my child with special needs through their trainings, workshops and community resource parents. The staff is always friendly and helpful. The community resource parents are parents with special needs children themselves. They understand a lot of what I go through. The workshops are interesting and full of useful information. They range from the special ed basics like What's an IEP, to self empowerment workshop like KidPower, to specific parenting issues like Behavior Intervention with Yoga. What I find most useful are the parent mentors who can speak to me about their personal experience and how to approach difficult issues. My children love their monthly "Movie Nights" where they get to watch a movie, or not, have dinner, play in the playroom with other children. The BEST part about all of their services is that they are FREE! They even provide FREE child care for most of their events.
As we were being discharged from a 3 month long hospital stay after my toddler suffered a severe brain injury a social worker handed me the contact information for SFF. They were the first people I reached out to in the midst of the turmoil that surrounded us. They continue to be an invaluable resource as we navigate our way through life raising a child with a severe disability. Whenever I meet a family in similar circumstances looking for support, the first thing I do is recommend that they reach out to SFF.
When my son was diagnosed with Autism , I thought my whole world had crumbled . A friend referred me to Support for for families and they help us with finding help and getting the support he needs to thrive in school. Right now, my son is in the 5th grade and is doing great . Support for families made me realize that my sons diagnosis was not the end but a beginning . They also provide a lot of activities that my family can participate . Support for Families is a blessing .
My daughter is 26 now and on the Autism Spectrum. WHen she was newly diagnosed at age 3, I was lost, freaked, had no idea where t start for therapies - and my pediatrician was NO help. However, I lucked upon Support for Families, and for the past 23 years that amazing organizaion has been a guide/provides education and support for me and my daughter, and provides hope and sustenance. Amazing!!
The staff and resources provided made all the difference for my daughter and for me!
This organization has been very supportive, informative and generous to my family in our journey with autism. I have attended workshops that have help me understand my sons' disabilities. It is an organization that is always informing us about events to which our kids and families can attend. Staff & volunteers are extraordinary people who have been through the same journeys themselves which helps us embrace our sons and daughters and enjoy who they are!
An amazing organization run by a bunch of SAINTS! Our daughter was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsey at 10 months of age & we didn't know where to turn or what questions to ask. SFCD was there with help from caring parents & loving friends who had been down the road before us. They have been a great support for 11 years, and they continue to be invaluable to us. Their services are FREE and are open to anyone with a need. Language translation and child care are available (must be arranged in advance) for those who need them.
We have learned so much that we needed to know to raise our daughter with special needs from the kind people at Support for Families. It can feel very isolating to have a child who is very different, but here you can get peer support, playgroups where it is expected your child will be different, advice and the information that you need. I have learned how to understand my child's IEP, found out about a therapeutic horseback riding program, picked up some parenting skills and learned how to help my pre-verbal child get started using an iPad to talk. Looking forward to what will come next.
Support for Families of Children With Disabilities is a Parent Training and Information Center in San Francisco. Parents who have children with disabilities need information and training in order to better understand their child’s developmental, educational and transitional needs; the range, type and quality of services available; their rights and responsibilities under IDEA; and to communicate effectively, participate fully and work collaboratively with school personnel to ensure their children receive appropriate educational services.
Support For Families of Children With Disabilities (SFCD), through their library, their seminars, and conferences, helped me learn how to get the knowledge I needed to advocate for my son. Unfortunately, services received at schools are mostly dependent upon a parent's ability to advocate for their child and knowledge of the laws. SFCD’s support groups and telephone counseling have done so much to give my family the strength and encouragement and information we needed to keep helping and believing in our son, and SFCD is a great resource for parents.
San Francisco families are very very lucky to have a resource like Support for Families. They provide tools and support for parents of kids with special needs. Their advocacy knowledge and support is top notch and has helped to ensure that our son received all of the respect and services he deserved. We'd be lost without them!
This organization is a mainstay for parents and children who have special needs. They have done such great work, not just supporting families but staying alive. Let's help them continue!
I am the mother of 3 years old autism boy. I've been in USA only 5 months. I don't have any friend here. Suuport for families give me a lot if information and support. Also i meet new friends from SFf as well.
I am so grateful to Support for Families. When my son was diagnosed with autism 5 years ago, I was totally confused and overwhelmed. I came to them for assistance and met with a social worker who gave me the information I needed and was able to start lining up services for my son. I was amazed at the caring, high quality service that was provided to me for free! It was so wonderful to have assistance and know that, at any time, I could come to them for help with issues regarding my son's disability.
Since that time, I go to Support for Families regularly for their free workshops and support groups. I have greatly benefited from the things I've learned, but mostly from the sense of community and belonging that I feel when I am there. There is a feeling of love, support and community that is very healing to parents with special kids.