Workshops & Consultation Services

Who are we?

Vermont Family Network (VFN) is the statewide non-profit which assists families whose children have special health and educational needs. We are the federally-designated Parent Training and Information Center and the Family-to-Family Health Information Center. We are also the Vermont Chapter of both Family Voices and Parent-to-Parent USA. We have been serving Vermont families, and the professionals who work with them, with health, developmental and educational concerns for more than 30 years. Our mission is to empower and support all Vermont families of children with special needs.

What do we offer?

We offer workshops which last approximately 2 hours and include both a presentation and interaction among participants. Customized workshops are also available. Our consultation services are based on the client’s needs and can be delivered in-person, by email, or over-the-phone.

How can I learn more?

Please contact Janice Sabett, Family Support Consultant/Training Specialist at Janice [email protected] or 1-800-800-4005 / 802-876-5315 x 218.

What topics do workshops cover?

Parents and professionals who we work with daily ask questions that we address in the workshops. Here are some examples of workshops we offer:

  • Advocating for Your Child
  • Building a Medical Home for Your Child
  • Bullying & Harassment
  • Caring for the Caregiver
  • Communication & Collaboration within the IEP Process
  • Community Resources for Families
  • Demystifying Individualized Education Program (IEP) Eligibility
  • Discipline in School: Restraint, Seclusion, Suspension, and Expulsion
  • Family-Centered Thinking & Planning
  • Finding & Keeping a Job for Youth with Disabilities
  • IEP Evaluations & Re-Evaluations
  • Legislative Advocacy
  • Navigating Special Education and the IEP
  • Parents Rights in Special Education
  • Partnering with Families
  • School Services & Supports for Children with Challenging Behaviors
  • Section 504 Plans from the Rehabilitation Act
  • Six Skills for Effective Parent Advocacy
  • Teaching Self-Advocacy Skills to Your Child
  • Transition to Adulthood for Youth with Disabilities & Transition from Pediatric to Adult Health Care
  • Transition to Kindergarten for Children with Special Needs
  • Understanding Your Conflict Styles to Help Achieve Your Goals
  • VFN Awareness: How We Can Help

Who are the trainers?

Trainers are long-time Family Support staff members, most of whom have more than 10 years of experience. We are parent professionals with subject-matter expertise and a “lived experience” of parenting a child with special needs. We understand the challenges and the gifts our children offer. We combine technical knowledge with practical experience and suggestions. VFN employees are not attorneys and do not provide legal advice. Our ultimate goal is to empower families through education and support, thereby increasing their capacity to be engaged and effective in every aspect of their child’s life.

What type of consultation services do you offer?

We offer a variety of consultation services based on the client’s needs and preferences. We are in a unique position in that we hear from many families about how the various parts of the system which are frequently not coordinated are working for them overall. As such, here are some examples of what we can provide:

  • Help develop and/or finalize communications (emails, procedures, website content, etc.) for families and provide input on how to make the information more family-friendly.
  • Visit your staff meeting and provide a comprehensive overview of VFN services, supports, and resources. We bring resources to share!
  • Arrange for Family Support staff or parents from our Family Faculty program to share their stories as part of an in-service training. People remember stories!
  • Train the family members on your Advisory Council, Board, Committee, etc. to be more effective members of your group. For example, an agency could sponsor a parent’s attendance at the Vermont Leadership Series.
  • Conduct focus groups or listening sessions with the families your organization services to get input and improvement ideas.
  • Coach your organization in creating your own parent match or parent-to-parent support program.

What are the fees?

Each year, grants enable us to provide a limited number of free workshops open to all. Due to fiscal constraints, fees are charged to school districts, agencies and service providers sponsoring additional parent or professional workshops. Please contact us to discuss your needs and for information about our fees.

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