Finding Solutions Conference

Families Together, Inc.

Keynote Speakers

Micah Fialka-Feldman

Dr. Linda Mitchell

Rocky Nichols



Through the

Same Door

Micah Fialka-Feldman will share his triumphant victory in a Federal Lawsuit he was forced to file in order to be allowed to live in the dorms with his other college classmates.


Limited Parent Scholarships are available!


Kansas State Department Of Education logo
Visit Our Sponsor









Visit Our Sponsor





Quick Links...

Finding Solutions Conference Brochure Families Together Website




Join us for a day packed with information, nationally recognized speakers and workshops on issues affecting families and professionals raising and/or teaching children who have speical needs!  This day promises to answer your questions on funding, challenging behaviors, special education law and health and wellness.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Holiday Inn Wichita

549 S Rock Road




Register by October 8 and receive $10 off! Family member of a child with a disability:  $40  NOW $30 Professional:  $50  NOW $40

Youth with a disability or college student with ID:  $30 NOW $20


Workshop Tracks

Health & Wellness Behaviors Special Education Law Funding


Families Together Welcomes the Disability Rights Center of Kansas

Don't miss Special Education Law Track which will include advocates and attorneys from the DRC who will address issues related to Seclusion & Restraint and Supsension & Expulsion.  A panel of parents and professionals will explore Least Restrictive Environment!


Hurry!  Seating is limited!  Register on-line at HERE







Families Together, Inc. Newsletter



How is your school doing?


A Note From the Directors Desk

Dear Parents & Education Advocates:






Where did the summer go?!  I hope yours was restful and energizing as you prepare for another year of school.  At Families Together, Inc., our staff spent the summer working to create events that will encourage, educate and empower each of you to be great advocates for the children and youth in your life. Read More (page 2)




Survey of Parents Critical to OSEP Visit

In November, a team from the Office of Special Education Programs will visit Kansas to verify that the Department of Education is insuring a Free Appropriate Public Education for students with disabilities.  Families Together has been asked to survey parents to gain their input before the visit.  Please visit our website to complete the survey. The survey will be available from September 15th until October 14th. Read More  (page 2) or take the survey




7 Things to Tell the Teacher

What can you tell a teacher that will help him do his job better? You might be surprised. While your child's teacher is the expert in education, no one knows more about your child than you do. Read More  (page 4)








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Fall 2010


Family Engagement





Within MTSS

Requirements for family engagement are found in almost all federal and state education statutes and regulations.  The 2002 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) defines parent involvement as "the participation of parents in regular, two way, and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities; including ensuring that parents play an integral role in assisting the child's learning." 



Read More (page 1)




MTSS Dentro de el Compromiso Familiar



Tomado del folleto titulado "Family Engagement: A Critical Component to Building and Empowering Culture in the Kansas multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS)" que fue desarrollado por  Familias Unidas, el Centro de Recursos de Información para padres y el MTSS Core Team con la fundación para Kansas State Department of Education, State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG). Lea más Página 5




Companionship - Then & Now



Not many people are able to see the people in their lives as blessings.  Usually we go through life taking others for granted and not realizing their profound impact on our lives until it is too late to thank them for their influence.  In a few, very rare cases we get to acknowledge that influence and thank those individuals.  My sister, Julie, is one of those individuals.  Siblings have unique relationships with one another. 




Read More  (page 3)


Start of School Marks Call to Action






The commencement of school means education advocates need to get back to their duties.  It would be a good idea to introduce yourself to your students' teachers, principals, and other school personnel.  E-mail is a great way to communicate-  send a friendly introduction and explain your role and responsibilities in the special education process. 



Read More  (page 3)


2010-2011 FEWs and TECs




Family Enrichment Weekends (FEWs)



FEWs are overnight events for families that include a child, birth through 21, who has a disability, and is still attending school. Parents attend workshops and discussion groups while the kids participate in fun, age-appropriate activities. The kids are matched with a volunteer, usually college students, who assist them throughout their day. Families must submit their application early as these events fill up quickly. Applications will be accepted on a first come, first served basis, with a preference given to families who have not yet attended an overnight event. Please contact the center nearest you for an application.






*NEW* Team Empowerment Conferences (TECs)



TECs are topic-specific mini-conferences for parents and professionals. We will kick off our first TEC on December 4 in Topeka focusing on Positive Behavioral Supports. Please see the calendar of events for all dates and locations. Please contact the center nearest you for an application to these events or register on-line at







Families Together, Inc.    Topeka Center   (785) 233-4777 or (800) 264-6343  Garden City Center   (620) 276-6364or (888) 820-6364 Kansas City Center   (913) 287-1970 or (877) 499-5369 Wichita Center   (316) 945-7747 or (888) 815-6364 Statewide Spanish parent line  (800) 499-9443  Wichita Administrative Center   (316) 945-7747 or (888) 815-6364    (All toll free numbers for Kansas parents & education advocates)





Families Together, Inc.



Monday Memo












Back to School Fairs



2010 Community Action, Inc's Annual Back-to-School Fair Saturday, August 7, 2010 - 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Kansas Expocentre Topeka, KS






Eligibility for free school supplies is set at or below 200% of Federal Income Guidelines. Additionally, interested persons will need to provide a photo ID, proof of household income, and Social Security or ITIN Numbers for all household members. For more information, please contact Community Action's Jaime Gonzalez-Vallejo at 785-235-9296 or 






Tenth Annual Wyandotte County Back to School Fair Saturday, August 7, 2010 - 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Indian Springs Marketplace Kansas City, Kansas






Wyandotte County students and parents of both private and public schools are invited.



  • health screenings
  • sports physicals
  • Identi-Kid cards
  • school supplies (families must show proof of residency)

First serve basis attendees are urged to come early. 



2010 Ninth Annual Saline County Back to School Fair Friday, August 6, 2010 - 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Lakewood Middle School Salina, Kansas






Distribution of free basic school supplies to 1,850 Saline County K-12 pre-registered students eligible for free/reduced school lunches Free student health screenings



  • School physicals conducted by health professionals
  • Dental screenings and dental varnishes applied by health professionals
  • Depression screenings conducted by Central Kansas Mental Health Center
  • Car seat safety checks
  • Student hair trims
  • Professional photographs
  • Free books distributed to K-8 students
  • Free entertainment and refreshments

School supplies pre-registration: Trinity Lutheran Church at 9th & Crawford, August 2, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eligibility based on free/reduced meal proof. Marcia Demuth, St. John's Military School, 785-823-7231 Brenda Gutierrez, Salina Area United Way, 785-827-1312 






United Services Community Action Agency Clay County Back to School Fair Thursday, August 5, 2010 - 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Shoal Creek Community Church 6816 S. Church Rd. Pleasant Valley



Registration is required by calling 361-630-0037 or 316-459-9615, or by visiting The deadline to register is Thursday, July 15.  There is no charge.  






Kansas ADA Anniversary Celebrations



July 16, 2010






Wichita, KS - ADA BBQ



5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. The Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC), 3033 W. 2nd St., Wichita For more information or to RSVP contact TracyAnn at 316.942.6300 ext. 220






July 23, 2010






Garden City, KS - Celebrate 20 Years of the ADA



9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.



Center for Independent Living for Southwest Kansas, Inc., 1802 East Spruce Street, Garden City, KS,



Free food and drink 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  



Employment Fair, Community Resources, Assistive Technology demonstrations, Workshops (see the new "Getting and Keeping the First Job" presented by Families Together, Inc.), Awards, Jumping Balloons and the Zoo Mobile.  For more information go to or call toll free 1-800-736-9443 or 620-276-1900.



July 26, 2010






Kansas City, MO - ADA at the K! The Coalition for Independence (CFI) is teaming up with the Kansas City Royals to invite you to Kauffman Stadium celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act with CFI at The K! Tickets will be offered at a special rate with the option of purchasing a t-shirt. For more information go to WWW.CFI-KC.COM or call Coalition for Independence at 816-231-7166 Lawrence, KS - ADA Anniversary Celebration South Park - Lawrence, Kansas 66044 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - Free Event Contact: Dot Nary - 785-864-1318 -   Hays, KS - ADA Celebration 20th Anniversary of the ADA with Moive and DJ 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Free Event Mall at Hays - 2925 Vine Street Hays, KS 67601 -



Contact: (785) 346-5865   July 29, 2010






Topeka, KS - Topeka Independent Living Resource Center & ADA Birthday Party 12:30-3:30, Agency Open House at 501 Southwest Jackson Street, Suite 100 4:30-6:30, Reception at the Ramada Inn Conference Center, 420 SE 6th St from 4:30pm to 6:30pm RSVP for the Reception is required, so please make your reservations early by calling Jeannine at 233-4572






Dentists donate services to provide FREE dental care for Kansans!



The Kansas Donated Dental Services (DDS) is project of the National Foundation for Dentistry for the Handicapped and the Kansas Dental Association. It was created to provide free, comprehensive dental care for people who are permanently disabled, elderly and medically compromised who are unable to afford dental care. The Kansas dentists volunteering for this program donate these services in their own offices as well as some dental laboratories have donated services.






Transition Back to School Tips



Here are some parent-tested tips to ease the transition back to school for you and your child.






Prepare your child.



  • If your child is used to sleeping later in the summer, start to prepare for an earlier morning by waking your child a bit earlier each day. (This did not make me the most popular parent on the planet!)
  • If possible, arrange to visit the teacher or the school a week or two before the first day. Your child can start the first day with a mental image of the setting. The teacher may be able to show your child his desk or locker or other "home base." (Don't do this if the room is still being re-arranged. You don't want any first day of school surprises.)
  • If this isn't practical, you can at least visit the school building, and perhaps spend some time on the playground.
  • School supplies-get them well in advance so that you child can get used to them. Keep any favorite items from last year. Even if you were rewarded as a child by all new supplies, your child may prefer the "old friend" items.
  • Color code notebooks and materials (including making text book covers) for different classes. Blue equals math, red equals English, etc. Color coding will help your child identify and keep their materials together and can be integrated with a picture schedule.
  • Get school clothes, uniforms, and shoes early, too. And wash them many times. Cut off the labels, if your child is used to this.
  • For preteens and teens, you may want to help them select a "cool" first day outfit ahead of time. First impressions are important to peers at this age.
  • Create a social story or picture schedule for school routines. Start reviewing and practicing early.

read more






Step By Step Walks






"Helping kids with disabilities and



 their families is a walk in the park...."



One in five Kansas households includes a child who has some form of disability.  The purpose of the Step By Step Walk is to raise community awareness about the importance of services and resources for the families of children who have disabilities and special health care needs.  Funds raised will be used to support the mission of Families Together, Inc. in the host communities.Step by Step Walk Logo






August 28, 2010



Sedgwick County Park



Sunrise Boundless Playscape






Registration starts at 9:00 a.m.



For more information contact Michael at 316-945-7747 or



September 18, 2010



West Flanders Park






Registration starts at 9:00 a.m.



For more information contact Michael at 316-945-7747 or



September 25, 2010
Rice Park






Registration starts at 9:00 a.m.



For more information contact Francine at 620-728-1602 or 












Families Together, Inc. 






Topeka Center (785) 233-4777 or (800) 264-6343 



Garden City Center  (620) 276-6364or (888) 820-6364



Kansas City Center (913) 287-1970 or (877) 499-5369



Wichita Center (316) 945-7747 or (888) 815-6364



Statewide Spanish parent line (800) 499-9443 



Wichita Administrative Center (316) 945-7747 or (888) 815-6364






(All toll free numbers for Kansas parents & education advocates)








Quick Links 



Our Website 






Upcoming Events












In This Issue



Kansas ADA Anniversary Celebrations



FREE Dental Care for Kansans



Step By Step Walks



Who Are We?






Achieving a Better Life Experience



DEADLINE for Family Stipend



National Family Support Survey






Who Are We?



Families Together, Inc. is the statewide organization that assists parents and their sons and daughters with disabilities.  Our program's missions is to encourage, educate, and empower families to be effective advocates for their own children.
Families Together, Inc. is dedicated to a society that includes and values all people.  We offer families the security of belonging to a support network of other parents that face similar goals, challenges and needs.












Family Voices 



Children With Special Health Care Need






iPod Touch/iPhone App Round Up for Users with Significant Disabilities






The Affordable Care Act: Immediate Benefits for Kansas






Cognitive Development Booklet written for Families now Available






Free Behaviorial Charts






Special Needs Planning For Parents of Children with Special Needs



Thursday, July 29th



6:00 p.m.  -7:30 p.m.



Johnson County Library Blue Valley Branch 9000 West 151st



 Overland Park, KS



to RSVP please leave a message at 816-741-1100 , EXT 10 OR email






These workshops are free of charge and open to the public






Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Bill



The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) bill will help parents of children with disabilities or family members of disabled individuals to invest through a tax-deferred savings account that could be drawn from for these future expenses. Read an important article by Respresentative Crenshaw and contact your legislators today to encourage them to support this bill.









  DEADLINE for Family Stipend Applications is August 10th!



The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) is excited to announce an opportunity for families of children with disabilities and other special needs!  This conference provides a unique opportunity to hear from leading experts in early intervention and early childhood special education, become exposed to cutting edge research and ideas, learn about intervention strategies that are being used throughout the world, and see the latest resources. DEC will offer 25 stipends covering the cost of registration for the 26th Annual International Conference for Young Children with Special Needs and their Families which will be held in Kansas City, Missouri from October 14-17, 2010. The stipend covers full conference registration (a value of more than $275) as well as optional participation in full-day workshops offered on Thursday October 14 and/or half-day workshops offered Sunday October 17. Go to  and click the "Conference" link to learn more.  Once approved for the DEC Family Stipend, Kansas families can apply for an additional scholarship from Families Together, Inc. to cover hotel and parking costs.  






  National Family Support Survey






You are invited to be in a national research study of supports for families of youth with disabilities. This National Survey is for the parent or primary caregiver of a young person with disabilities between 12 and 22 years old. If you qualify please click on the above heading to partake in this research study.






Your answers to the questions on the National Family Support Survey are confidential and will help the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, parent centers, and researchers understand the information and supports families need to prepare for moving into adulthood. 






The information you share is extremely valuable and may help to inform program development for youth with disabilities in the future. We encourage you to participate and greatly appreciate your time.































Families Together, Inc. Events






























Saturday, Feb. 6, '10 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The University of Kansas-Edwards Campus Regnier Hall 12600 Quivira Rd. ,


Overland Park, KS  



"Working Together to Build Real Life Transition Plans"
Dr. Ann Turnbull, Founder & Co-Director of the Beach Center on Disabilities, University of Kansas
"Outside the Box:
 Transition Planning for Students with Various Needs"

Dr. Wendy Parent, Research Associate Professor and Assistant Director, Lawrence Site, University of Kansas Center on Developmental Disabilities
"All About Me" Student Session & Resource Panel for Parents























Parent Networking Conferences 




Parent Networking Conferences are fun get-aways for parents only.  Leave the kids at home and enjoy an educational overnight stay at a hotel.  You will participate in workshops and discussion groups, gaining lots of good information and getting the support you need from other families and Families Together staff.


























Family Enrichment Weekends 




Family Enrichment Weekends are overnight events for families that include a child, birth through 21, who has a disability, and is still attending school.  Parents attend workshops and discussion groups while the kids participate in fun, age-appropriate activities.  The kids are matched with a volunteer, usually college students, to assist them throughout their day.  Families must submit their application early as these events fill up quickly. 












Parent Networking  Conferences & Family Enrichment Weekends























Upcoming 2010 Events


Space is still available






Family Enrichment Weekend Feb. 20-21 - Garden City




Parent Networking Conference


 March 19-20 - Hays




Family Enrichment Weekend March 26-27 - Wichita




Family Enrichment Weekend April 23-24 - Manhattan


 (2 spaces available) 

























Administrative Center


(316) 945-7747


Wichita Center






Topeka Center






Garden City Center






Kansas City Center






Statewide Spanish


 parent line 




 (All toll free numbers for Kansas parents & education advocates)


























Restraint and Seclusion Legislation Introduced in US Senate




Legislative Updates











Join Our Mailing List!










Early Bird Ends Feb 5




Experts including John Maag, professor at the University of NE , Lincoln , will discuss best practices on including special education students. Maag will share cutting edge strategies for supporting students who have behavioral challenges. 




Participants will take part in sessions on autism, behaviors, medical homes and technology as part of the conference.




Thirty-five years ago Least Restrictive Environment was added to the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (today known as IDEA) emphasizing the importance of integrating special education students with general education students.  To end the day, Rud and Ann Turnbull, founders of the Beach Center at KU, will share their son, JT's journey as an inclusion pioneer. 




Printable Registration


On-line Registration




(785) 233-4777
























Great Resource


 Here's a great funding resource  for children who need durable equipment. The adaptive items appear to be priced lower than many other vendors.


But in addition to having better prices, they have something called the "Kiddie Pool". You upload the child's photo (release of info, of course), and give some basic information. They set up a web site for you to send to friends, relatives, etc. who may donate in increments of $25.00, till your goal is achieved, then they have therapists who make sure the item fits properly, and the order is filled. If you receive more than your goal, it can be used for other items on Adaptivemall.


 Submitted by  Karen Watson Yates Center  


 Have a resources to share?
























Capitol Push Week




Join fellow autism advocates from across Kansas during Capitol Push Week for Kate's Law and ask your legislators to support Senate Bill 12 (House Bill 2367).  If enacted, this legislation would require that health insurance cover the diagnosis and medically necessary treatment for autism spectrum disorders.   Click on the link below for more information.































Enough is Enough - Kansas Day Event


Friday, January 29, 2010, 10 a.m.


Bank of America Center


Lower Level - 100 N. Broadway, Wichita




     You, your family, your neighbors and your friends are invited to be a part of raising awareness of community Developmental Disability funding cuts and the negative impact to Kansas families.


      As Kansans celebrate Kansas Day, let us remember the most vulnerable Kansans who are in crisis due to elimination of services and reduction of funds: those children and individuals, along with their families, who live daily with disabilities.


     Hear stories of impact and make a video for that shares your story relating to the DD funding crisis.


     Without this funding, our entire community suffers, not just those with disabilities.


     It is up to us to remind legislators and our community of the real impact of current and potential cuts and to make it clear Enough is Enough.


     To find out more visit ACT of South Central Kansas on Facebook or email or






















Families Together, Inc. founded in 1982, serves as the Parent Training and Information Center for Kansas and provides opportunities for families to come together and meet other families who are navigating the special education and disability services maze.