Workshops & Support Groups
Information ~ Connections ~ Support
Vermont Family Network’s workshops can be tailored to fit your group’s needs and time frame. Workshops are grant funded and free for parents. See below for a list of available workshops. Contact Janice Sabett or 1-800-800-4005, x218.
Here are some parent-run support groups in the area. Check with the contact person for dates and times. If you want to start a support group, contact us at 1-800-800-4005.
VFN’s YouTube channel is the place where you can watch our previously recorded webinars.
Springfield: Lunch & Learn for Families: Friday, May 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Springfield Hospital (25 Ridgewood Rd.) Meeting House. Join other families of children who need extra help in school to talk about Special Education ~ Conflict Styles ~ Collaboration. Lunch and a $50 stipend per family will be provided. Space is limited. To register or request special accommodations, please contact Janice.Sabett@vtfn.org 800-800-4005, x218 or Nancy.Richards@vtfn.org 802-353-3277.
* Cancelled * Williston: VFN Families Together Support Group: Wednesday, May 29 from 5:30 to 7 pm is cancelled due to lack of past participation. Please let us know if there is another format or type of support that would meet your needs. Contact Jan Hancock or 876-5315 x215.
Webinar: Constructing a Seat at the Table: VT Parents’ Strategies to Enhance Collaboration with Schools: Thursday, May 30 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Click here to register. Colby Kervick is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Vermont and recently completed a research study exploring the perspectives of VT parents on their experiences collaborating with school professionals. She will share selected results of this research study and offer insights about how families can form effective collaborative relationships with schools. She will explore the different roles parents of children with disabilities assume in the process of raising their children, the key strategies that parents shared as being effective, and advice parents wish to convey to other parents of children with disabilities including suggestions on how to foster collaborative relationiships within special education teams. Presenter: Colby Kervick, Senior Lecturer in UVM’s Special Education Department
Burlington: Final Sibshop of the Season: Saturday, June 1st from 10am to 1pm at the HowardCenter McClure Gymnasium, 1138 Pine Street, Burlington. For ages 6-12 years. Sibshop is a “pedal to the metal” workshop opportunity for siblings to connect with other siblings who “get it.” We share a meal, play games, talk and have a great time. RSVP to Joanne at 1-800-800-4005 x217 or Joanne.Wechsler@vtfn.org.
St. Albans: Let’s Go Fishing! A Summer Family Celebration: Saturday, June 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kill Kare State Park (free admittance to park). Come join us for fishing – no license required for this activity and bait is provided free! Fishing poles will be available or bring your own. Not interested in fishing? That’s okay! Come and enjoy the beautiful park and mingle with other families. Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch! Register for this event by contacting Laura Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (802) 373-3365.
Webinar: Using PBiS at Home to Improve Family Life: Wednesday, June 12 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Click here to register. Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBiS) is a research-based, school-wide system of discipline. Thousands of schools in the U.S. successfully use PBiS including 33% of K-12 schools in Vermont. PBiS is not just for schools! Many parents are using the same ideas to create a better environment for the entire family. If you use positive parenting techniques and want to share your success stories, or want to learn how to get started, please join this webinar to connect with other parents. We encourage you to send us your success stories in advance so we can share some of the highlights with the other participants. Please contact Janice.Sabett@vtfn.org, 800-800-4005, x218, or 876-5315, x218. Presenters from the Vermont Family Network: Janice Sabett, Family Support Consultant and Laurel Sanborn, Family Resource Coordinator
Webinar: What You Need to Know About Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Thursday, June 20 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Click here to register. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning. Often, a person with an FASD has a mix of these problems.” Join this webinar for overall information on the disability of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Topics to be reviewed include general information related to: diagnosis; intervention; and family, educational and community supports. Presenter: Susan Ryan, Executive Director and Professor, College of Education & Social Services, UVM Center on Disability and Community Inclusion
Contact Vermont Family Network to Schedule a Workshop:
Vermont Family Network can provide a wide variety of free training opportunities to your group or organization upon request. To request a workshop or to receive more information about the workshops we offer, email Janice Sabett, or call 1-800-800-4005 ext. 218.
- Parent Volunteers
- Transition to Adulthood
Fostering Parent and Professional Collaboration – Respect, trust, open communication, and shared goals are all indicators of collaborative partnerships. In this fun and interactive workshop, participants will work in groups to identify and discuss what professionals and parents can specifically do to foster collaborative relationships.
Understanding Conflict - Even with the very best communication, conflict is normal and inevitable. The more we recognize and understand the different styles of managing conflict that we and others use, the better we become at responding to it. Join us for this participatory session where the facilitator will guide you through a process of self-discovery and growth which will include identifying your own conflict style.
Advocating for Your Child - This workshop will help parents learn about the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process, tips on how to communicate effectively with your school team and acquire additional problem solving skills and advocacy strategies. Parents will also learn some tips how to be more prepared for school meetings.
Building a Better IEP - Parents are equal partners in the development of their child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Learn about special education evaluations (and re-evaluations), what it takes to qualify for an IEP, how to develop a strong IEP, and tips for successful school meetings. This workshop is for parents or professionals.
Moving On Up - Discuss steps for planning the transition from Essential Early Education (EEE) to kindergarten. This workshop is for parents or professionals.
Navigating Special Education - Learn about the special education process, commonly used language by special educators, and what your rights as a parent are under IDEA. This workshop is for parents or professionals.
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBiS) -Vermont Family Network (VFN) is working in partnership with the Vermont Department of Education, through the BEST team and the State Improvement Grant, to reach out and connect with families around the VTPBiS initiatives happening in their schools. VFN is available, and would love an opportunity to present a VTPBiS workshop for parents at your school. VFN’s presentations are free-of-charge, information-packed, and family-friendly!
Stepping Stones – Discuss steps for planning the transition from Children’s Integrated Services (CIS) (formerly FITP) to Essential Early Education (EEE). This workshop is for parents or professionals.
Let’s Get Organized! – The focus of this workshop/roundtable conversation is assisting families in organizing their child’s records and important paperwork, like IEP’s, evaluations, medical information, etc. It is a great way to start out the school year being prepared. When we have held this workshop in other areas of the state, it has served as a nice opportunity for families to connect with each other, bring their records and put them all in a tabbed binder (which we provide) and ask questions around IEP’s, 504’s, communication techniques, and available resources.
Let’s Get Organized! – See description in previous section.
Children with Special Needs in Your Care - What might this mean for you? – A workshop for childcare providers - This interactive workshop will look at childcare providers and the role they play for children with special needs in their care. Sample topics include: What is a special need?; Tips for voicing concerns about a child’s development with his parents; The grief cycle of parents of children with special needs; and What’s out there for support for you, the child in your care and their parents?
Is It a Journey Or a Destination? Cultural & Linguistic Competency and Family-Centered Care & Support for Families of Children, Youth and Adults with Special Health Care Needs – We have all heard of family-centered care and cultural competency but how do they relate to one another? Can we have one without the other? Join us for this interactive exploration of these two powerful topics. Discover what you are already doing well and ways that you can improve yourself, your work and workplace toward cultural and family-centered care. Is it a journey or a destination? Let’s talk.
Finding Your Way in the Health Care Maze – Are you lost in the “fog” of the health care maze? Want to learn some resources and tips on “finding your way around”? Join us as we learn and discuss: Finding a doctor (Primary Care Provider), what your Primary Care Provider does for you, talking with your Primary Care Provider, basics of Health Care Financing, Green Mountain Care.
Health Care and Your Child with a focus on families who have a child with special needs – Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask…Join us as we learn and discuss: Health Care Reform/Affordable care Act in Vermont, Medical Home, Health/Medical Insurance,Green Mountain Care, Six Ways to Access Medicaid, Your Child’s IEP and Health Related Services.
Laying the Foundation: Building a Medical Home for your Child – Learn about the new buzz word “medical home” and how your family fits into this way of delivering health care. Learn what the benefits are, how to know if your child has special health care needs, how to organize medical paperwork, and much more! Every child deserves a medical home — does your child have one?
Prepare Yourself: Preparing for emergencies for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions - To be better prepared as a community, we all must do our part to plan for disasters. Individuals with or without disabilities can decrease the impact of a disaster by taking steps to prepare BEFORE an event occurs. Join us as we discuss emergency/disaster readiness tips for families with children or adults with disabilities/special needs. But the tips can work for any family! Each registered participant receives a free bag and emergency binder.
Community Resource Parent Training – By becoming a Community Resource Parent, you can help Vermont Family Network support other parents. You will receive training in advocacy, peer support, communication skills, navigating the education system and accessing resources. Use these skills to help your own child or support other parents.
Support Parent Training - Parents who have just learned about their child’s diagnosis often feel helpless and alone. Talking with another parent who has experienced a similar situation can help parents feel less alone and more hopeful. In this workshop, participants who would like to serve in this role of “Supporting Parent” learn how to support other parents by using listening skills, emotional understanding, information and resources, and shared experiences. Parents will learn to understand and support in a non-judgmental manner, individuals and families with differences in thinking and perceptions, culture, family structure, socio-economic status, education, and heritage. Parents will learn to inform families of available options for advocacy, education and community access involvement.
Transition to Adulthood:
In the Driver’s Seat: Strategies for Engaging Students with Disabilities in Self Advocacy and Transition Planning - Learn about the In the Driver’s Seat curriculum, which offers a unique approach to transition planning for students with disabilities. Developed several years ago through funding from Voc-Rehab Vermont, this curriculum has been used successfully statewide to help students with disabilities take an active role in their own transition planning as they explore new friendships with others students, find their voice, and express their creativity.
Transition to Adulthood for Youth with Special Needs: What Parents Need to Know - Your child with special needs is becoming an adult and you want to help. In this workshop, we will discuss: transition planning as part of the IEP process, transition services, transfer of rights, an overview of guardianship, tips on self-advocacy and tips for parents, and resources.
What Every Parent Needs to Know as Their Child Approaches Adulthood – Take a deep breath. Your child with special needs is becoming an adult and you need to know where to start planning for the future. Please join us as we break down the to-do list into 10 digestible bits of information.