You’re probably wondering, “what IS The Family Café?” The Family Café is a conference for families who have a child or other family member who has a disability of any type. According to their website, www.familycafe.net , “The Family Cafe Annual Conference began with a simple idea. Why not bring together individuals with disabilities and their families with state agencies, non-profit organizations and other service providers, so families could network with each other, learn what services are available to them, and find out the best way to go about accessing those services? The conference would provide a unique environment where families could connect with peers, commercial service providers, and public entities. The Family Cafe has always believed that well-informed people make the best possible decisions for themselves and their loved ones. Our Annual Conference provides the opportunity to put that principle into action.” THAT’S what The Family Café IS!!!
But personally, how does that benefit you? There are dozens of breakout sessions covering a multitude of topics that are helpful to families! Topics range from peer groups of families affected by the same disability, to playgroups for preschoolers, to Medicaid information, to Med Waivers information, to Sensory Processing Disorders helps, etc! The list goes on from there….too much to include here! There is also time to relax and enjoy our beautiful Florida weather by the pool, visiting with other Family Café families!
My personal favorites this year were the playgroup that was organized by the Family Resource Specialists from each Early Steps region…including our own Laura Mainor! They had a conference room full of fun things for the kids to do, as well as terrific ideas for playtime for the parents to implement at home! Spiderman and Snow White were there as well! Wyatt and Spiderman became fast friends, they had a blast together, playing “chase,” and Spiderman even read a book to Wyatt! I was also able to attend the session on Sensory Processing Disorder. The room was PACKED OUT. Standing room only! The professionals who led that session shared lots of information about SPD, which also applies to any sensory processing issues, as well as displayed and shared tons of toys/materials/ideas that are easy and inexpensive to put into practice at home.Above all else, Family Café gives you a broadened base of support! It helps you realize that you are not alone in this journey, whatever your journey might be! I have connected with, and stayed in contact with, families across the state since my first visit to Family Café. We are able to share with each other our joys, as well as our difficulties, and also share invaluable lessons we have learned from our own life experiences! You will not regret the decision to attend Family Café!