Join Us At LIFE Conference 2015!

December 16, 2014

Do you have a family member with disabilities or work with persons with disabilities? Would you like to learn more on how you can help family, friends or co-workers with disabilities lead their best lives?

LIFE Conference

Then join Delaware Family Voices and many others on Thursday, January 15th, for the 17th annual Delaware LIFE Conference.

What Is LIFE Conference?

LIFE Conference is Delaware’s largest conference devoted to issues faced by children and adults with disabilities. It’s primary goal is to support persons with disabilities, provide relevant information, and educate conference attendees in each of the following four areas:

Legislation: Join in an interactive panel with federal and state policy makers. Learn more about Delaware’s 2015 Policy priorities, and how DART is working on a Transit redesign

Independence Through Assistive Technology (AT): Learn why pediatric based Movement and Mobility related Assistive Technology (MMAT) is the next step for children with disabilities. Learn how to maximize overall accessibility in the community setting, and why access to assistive technology for young children is vital.

Family: Better understand opioid abuse and its treatment options. Learn how to become an empowered self-advocate. Hear about the STAND – Stop The Abuse Now Delaware – initiative.

Education: Learn about state plans to improve results for children with disabilities. Understand how schools are addressing the impact of childhood trauma in the classrooms. Listen to an overview of the DelAWARE DisABILITY Hub.

This one day event brings together a broad assortment of information designed to serve persons with disabilities and their families, as well as resources and knowledge to further help them live LIFE to the fullest.

LIFE Conference Delaware

LIFE Conference is made possible through a joint effort of many Delaware organizations whose primary purpose is to assist and enhance the lives of persons with disabilities and their families.

The LIFE Conference 2015 Agenda

LIFE Conference 2015 attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • Listen to Keynote Speaker Michael Gamel-McCormick, Associate Executive Director for Research and Policy at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, and the Director of the Promise Grant Technical Assistance project.
  • Attend sessions on relevant topics in Legislation, Independence, Family and Education.
  • Hear from a host of speakers and panel members knowledgeable in a wide variety of disabilities needs.
  • Visit exhibitors dedicated to persons with disabilities and their families.
  • Enjoy a lunch full of networking opportunities.

Disabilities Conference

For complete details, check out the LIFE Conference 2015 Agenda and the detailed session topics.

LIFE Conference 2015 Event Details

LIFE Conference 2015 event and registration details are:

When: Thursday, January 15, 2015

Where: Dover Downs Hotel, 1131 North DuPont Highway, Dover DE

Time: 8:00 am to 3:45 pm

General Registration Fees: $50 by January 1, 2015; $75 after January 1st.

Student/Consumer Registration Fees are $25.

Sponsorships are available for select attendees. See below for details

Complete the LIFE Conference 2015 Registration form to reserve a spot.

Got questions about LIFE Conference 2015? Contact LIFE Conference directly at (302) 691-3187.

Announcing DE Family Voices Parent Sponsorships!

Delaware Family Voices is pleased to announce a limited number of sponsorships for families who want to attend the Life Conference, but can not afford it. Travel reimbursement is also available for recipients from New Castle and Sussex Counties. Please contact Erica Schetter at (302) 669-3033 or for more information.

DE Family Voices At LIFE Conference 2015

We hope to see you at LIFE Conference 2015! Be sure to stop by the Delaware Family Voices exhibit and see how we can help you. Learn about upcoming training sessions and support groups, and how they might benefit you and your family.

Delaware Family Voices

Will you be attending LIFE Conference 2015? Have you attended prior LIFE conferences? Share your experiences with us!

LIFE = Legislation Independence Family Education


Delaware Family Voices is a 501 C3 Non-profit organization. A Donation to our organization helps support Delaware families in need.

Images from LIFE Conference 2015 and Delaware Family Voices.


Partners in Policymaking – Making a Difference For Those With Disabilities

December 2, 2013

Are you the parent of a child with developmental disabilities, or a young adult with developmental disabilities?

Would you like to have an impact on public policies that could impact people with developmental disabilities? The opportunity to work side by side with State public policy makers to impart positive change?

Then you might want to consider the Partners in Policymaking program.

What is Partners in Policymaking?

The Partners in Policymaking is a program designed to give a voice to parents of children with developmental disabilities and young adults with developmental disabilities, empowering them to be a part of state-wide policy changes for people with disabilities. The program’s goal is to teach these parents and self-advocates the power of advocacy, and change the way people with disabilities are supported, viewed, taught, live and work.

Partners in Policy Making

Through the Leadership Training Program, Partners learn to become community leaders, and to work side by side with State public policy makers. Partners are provided with up-to-date information, education, and the skills necessary to help make change in public policy relative to the people who need and use disabilities services.

Check out the Partners in Policymaking Brochure for additional details.

NOTE – Applications to participate in the 2014 Partners in Policymaking are due by Friday, December 20, 2013.

Who are the Partners?

Partners in Policymaking are typically parents of children with developmental disabilities or young adults who have developmental disabilities. Each year Partners are selected to participate in the program through an application process.

Families with Disabilities

There is no fee to become a Partner in Policymaking. Additionally, the program pays for participants’ lodging and meals as well as other related expenses, while attending training sessions.

What Are the Expectations of Partners?

The goal of the Partners in Policymaking program is to learn information, strategies and skills to help further state public policies that affect people with disabilities.

Partners are expected to attend each of the eight two-day training sessions. Sessions are held monthly from February through September, and run from noon Friday until later Saturday afternoon.

Topics of discussion include:

  • History of Disability Movements
  • Inclusive Education
  • Community Supports and Supported Employment
  • Vision for Future and the Planning Process
  • Assistive Technology
  • Local, State and Federal Policy and Legislative Issues
  • How to Meet Public Officials and give Legislative Testimony
  • Community Organizing
  • Working with the Media
  • Holding Effective Meetings

For more information about Partners in Policymaking in Delaware, contact the Developmental Disabilities Council at 302-739-3333.

Delaware DDC

Ready to Be a Partner in Policymaking?

Partners in Policymaking are ready to take a stand and help implement change for those with developmental disabilities.

Are you ready to become a Partner? Download the 2014 Application for Participation and submit your application today.

NOTE – Applications are due by Friday, December 20, 2013.

Brain Injury Across The Lifespan – A BIAD Conference

February 28, 2013

Do you or someone you know, have a brain injury? Would you like to learn more about the latest brain injury information, connect with others experiencing similar situations? Consider attending the 22nd annual Brain Injury Association of Delaware (BIAD) conference, Brain Injury Across The Lifespan, April 4th and 5th, 2013, Wilmington DE.


Doug Smith – Featured Keynote Speaker

Listen to keynote speaker, former NHL player Doug Smith, as he recounts his recovery from a broken neck and spinal cord injury. Learn how he fought back from quadriplegia to walk once again.

All registered attendees will receive a copy of his book, The Trauma Code. Doug will also be hosting the workshop, Internalizing Your Performance, during the conference breakout sessions.

2013 Brain Injury Conference Schedule

The conference will begin the evening of Thursday, April 4th, and will conclude Friday evening, April 5th, with the Diamond Dinner. The specific dates and times of events are:

– Thursday, 7:00pm to 8:00pm – Mix and Meet Reception

– Friday, 8:30am to 4:00pm – Brain Injury Conference

– Friday, 6:00pm to 9:00pm – The Diamond Dinner

NOTE Change of Conference Location: All activities will be held at the Doubletree Hotel, in downtown Wilmington. The exact address is 700 N. King St., Wilmington, DE.


BIAD Conference Breakout Sessions

Choose from the following breakout sessions running through out the conference on Friday:

Child/Teen Track: Sessions on Interactive Metronome, Recreation after a Brain Injury, and Brain Injury and Child Abuse.

Mid-life Track: Sessions on Rational Psychopharmacology, Technological Recovery Tools, and Delaware Rehabilitation Services.

Elderly Track: Sessions on Vision, Concussion, and TBI.

Quality of Life Track: Sessions on Harnessing Your Passion after Brain Injury, Internalizing Your Performance, and Sibling Life.


BIAD Conference Registration Details

There is a fee to attend the conference. If registering by March 31st, survivor, family member and student fees are $40 for BIAD members and $65 for non-members. The BIAD member professionals fee is $75, $100 for non-members. After March 31st, registration fees increase to $90 for survivors, family and students, $125 for professionals.

Need assistance with the registration fee? A limited number of scholarships are available for individuals with brain injuries and family members. Contact BIAD for details at 1-800-411-0505.

Need a hotel room? Reserve a room at the Doubletree Hotel by March 1st to receive the discounted conference rate of $109. Call the hotel directly at 302-655-0400.

Learn more about the conference and how to register in this flyer.

Conference Questions? Call BIAD at  1-800-411-0505.


A Healthy Life Without Limits

Don’t forget to also attend the Healthy Life Without Limits health fair on Saturday, April 6th, for families and children with special health care needs. More details about this partner event can be found at A Healthy Life Without Limits.


Delaware Family Voices is a 501 C3 Non-profit organization. Consider donating to our organization via United Way #12691.

Apply Now For Delaware Junior Partners in Policymaking 2013 Program

January 23, 2013

Are you or someone you know between the ages of 15 and 22, with a developmental disability, or is an advocate for another person with a developmental disability? If so, then consider joining the 2013 Delaware Junior Partners in Policymaking summer program!

What is Junior Partners in Policymaking?

This exciting week-long summer program is designed to meet the changing needs of young adults with, and without disabilities, as they move towards independence. Participants in the program are a diverse group of young adults between the ages of 15 and 22, all sharing a common interest in the rights of people with disabilities.


Throughout this week-long program, participants attend a wide variety of classes on a vast array of topics, including:

  • The importance of self-determination
  • How to advocate for yourself
  • Your rights in and out of school
  • Laws that affect the treatment of individuals with disabilities
  • How you can impact public policy
  • How to plan for the future that you want

The week concludes with a trip to Legislative Hall, where participants are given the opportunity to put into practice the wealth of information and skills they have learned throughout the week. Many state legislators will be available for participants to meet with and discuss issues important to them. This is a great time for participants to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

Participant who complete the program will be awarded a Certificate of Participation, great for resumes and college applications.

Junior Partners in Policymaking Program Details:

The Junior Partners in Policymaking was created by the Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council and is presented by the Center for Disabilities Studies at the University of Delaware. The week-long session will be held as follows:

When: Sunday June 16 to Friday, June 21st, 2013

Where: University of Delaware Newark campus

Participants will live on campus for the duration of the program. All classes are held on the University of Delaware campus, and the program ends with the trip to Legislative Hall, in Dover.


Young adults interested in attending the program shall meet the following criteria:

  • Be between the ages of 15 and 22
  • Want to know more about disability advocacy
  • Live in Delaware now and at the time of the program

The Application Process:

Prospective participants need to complete the 2013 Junior Partners in Policymaking Application form and mail it to:

The Center for Disabilities Studies
Attention: Jr. Partners
461 Wyoming Road
Newark DE 19716

All applications must have an actual signature on the application form. Electronic submissions cannot be accepted.

If you have any questions about the program or the application process, please call Grace Wesley at 302-722-7066 or email her at

NOTE: Applications must be submitted by February 14th.


Does the Junior Partners in Policymaking sound like something you or someone you know would like to participate in? Download the following information for additional details and dates for upcoming informational meetings.

2013 Junior Partners in Policymaking Course Description

2013 Junior Partners in Policymaking Brochure

2013 Junior Partners in Policymaking Informational Meetings

Don’t forget – applications are due February 14th!

Have you, or someone you know, participated in previous Junior Partners in Policymaking programs? Share your experiences with us!


All images from The Center for Disabilities. University of Delaware.

Register Now For LIFE Conference XV

December 6, 2012

Would you like to learn more about available services and assistance programs for persons with disabilities? Perhaps you’d like to learn about new and innovative assistive technology that could possibly enhance their lives?


Do you have a family member with disabilities or work with persons with disabilities, and would like to learn more about how to help them lead their best lives?

Then join Delaware Family Voices and many others this January at the fifteenth annual Delaware LIFE Conference.

What is LIFE Conference XV?

LIFE Conference XV is a joint effort of many Delaware organizations whose primary purpose is to assist and enhance the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Their definition of LIFE says it all:

LIFE = Liberty and Independence For Everyone.

LIFE = Legislation, Independence, Families and Education

LIFE Conference XV brings together a broad assortment of information designed to serve persons with disabilities and their families, and to provide resources and knowledge to further help them live LIFE to the fullest.

The LIFE Conference XV Agenda:

The conference’s goal is to support, provide information, and educate it’s attendees in each of the following four areas:

  • Legislation – Learn more about state legislation and how advocacy can implement change, as well as how to access community-based long-term care services.
  • Independence through Assistive Technology (AT) –  Explore the latest applications and mobile devices, methods to increase accessibility in the home, and how to access and secure AT services.
  • Family – Find out how to better access medical services, why emergency preparedness is important, and about employment challenges and issues.
  • Education – Learn more about student to adult transition options, how to address bullying issues, and developing better behavioral assessment and intervention plans.

While at the conference, you will be able to:

  • Visit exhibitors dedicated to persons with disabilities and their families.
  • Listen to keynote speaker Aaron Bishop, Executive Director of the National Council on Disability.
  • Attend three different workshops from each of the four conference topics – Legislation, Independence Through AT, Family and Education.

For complete details of LIFE Conference XV, click on LIFE Conference XV agenda.


LIFE Conference XV Event Details:

LIFE Conference XV event and registration details are as follows:

When: Thursday, January 13, 2013

Where: Sheraton Dover Hotel

Time: 8:00am to 3:45pm

Registration Fee: $45 through January 2nd; $75 after this date.

How to Register for LIFE XV: Online at LIFE Event Registration or via hard copy (paper) Event Registration form. Note that you will need to mail a paper registration form to event organizers if you choose the paper registration method.

Don’t forget! Early bird registration rates end on January 2, 2013. After January 2nd, the registration fee increases to $75.

Questions: Contact Leslie Kosek at Best Buddies, 302-691-3187, or at

Delaware Family Voices At LIFE Conference XV

We hope to see you there! Stop by the Delaware Family Voices exhibit and learn more about how we can help you.

Listen to Delaware Family Voices director, Ann Phillips, as she shares her wealth of knowledge. She will be a member of The Diamond State Health Plan Plus (DSHP Plus) panel, which will focus on program improvements, direct consumer impacts and common issues identified since the implementation of DSHP Plus, a Medicaid initiative.


Will you be attending LIFE Conference XV? Have you attended prior LIFE conferences? Share your experiences in the Comments section below.

Images from LIFE Conference XV website.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Differently Abled Kids

November 20, 2012

The holiday season is rapidly approaching. Black Friday is right around the corner, and before you know it, it’ll be December. Have you started your Holiday shopping yet? Do you have someone on your shopping list that might be differently abled?

Shopping for a special child, one who is differently abled, can sometimes be a challenge. How do you identify just the right gift? How do you know that toy will meet the child’s special needs?

Perhaps one of these toy guides can help. Each guide is a treasure trove of gift ideas for children who are differently abled, and can help you shop with confidence for a special toy for that special someone.


Toys-R-Us has put together a very comprehensive Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids that can help guide you to that perfect gift for your someone special.

The Toys-R-Us toy guide helps pinpoint toys to enhance a specific developmental skill. Sort toys within each skill set by age, gender, brand, character theme, and price. Searchable developmental skill categories include – Auditory SkillsCreativity SkillsFine Motor SkillsGross Motor SkillsLanguage SkillsSelf Esteem SkillsSocial Skills SkillsTactile SkillsThinking Skills, and Visual Skills.

Fat Brain Toys

The Fat Brain Toys for Special Needs Children is chock full of gift ideas, including exclusive listings of toys recommended by industry experts.

Not only does Fat Brain provide suggestions by specific diagnosis (brain injury, autism, dyslexia), it also breaks toys down by specific developmental goals (auditory comprehension, writing skills). It’s a veritable A to Z list of toy ideas for special needs. Need a few more gift ideas? Check out Fat Brain’s Awarding Winning Toys list.

Save with these three special offers for Fat Brain shoppers:

  • Free standard shipping on orders over $99.
  • Use Coupon Code NG-7857 to receive an additional 10% off your order, now through the end of November.
  • Register for a $250 give-away now through December 14th.

Beyond Play

Beyond Play offers an extensive selection of products for infants, toddlers, and children in the early elementary grades. Find gift ideas for kids of differing abilities, including fun and educational games as well as specialized products for early intervention and special needs. Find just the right gift with Beyond Play’s different search options, where you can search by key word, by category, or by product feature to find exactly what you want.

Beyond Play works with a team of consultants who are experienced in child development and special needs. Know that you have the insight and experience of childhood development specialists guiding your gift selection.

Fun And Function

Fun and Function‘s mission is to help children achieve their best with skill building toys and therapy equipment for special needs. Find a wide range of toys and products to enhance a wide range of developmental skills.

National Autism Resources

Looking for gift ideas for that someone special who has autism? Check out the Toy and Gift guide for Children and Teens with Autism, Asperger’s, and PDD-NOS, from National Autism Resources. has ten inspiring recommendations of fun stuff for kids with Down Syndrome, autism, juvenile arthritis, cerebral palsy and sensory integration. Check out their 10 Toys Great for Kids with Special Needs.

Are you shopping for a differently abled child? Do you have any tips or recommendations you’d like to share? Let us know  in the Comments section below.

An Apple Event for Kids With Autism

November 11, 2012

Do you or someone you know have a child or adolescent on the autism spectrum? Would you like to explore how an Apple touch screen device might benefit someone with autism?

Do you already own an Apple iPad or iPod? Would you like to learn more about applications that could help a child or adolescent with autism?

Are you confused by the number of Apple products and apps that can assist someone with autism? Would you like to talk directly with an expert who can help guide you to what might best fit you and your child’s needs?

Are you a teacher or therapist working with children on the autism spectrum? Would you like to learn more about how Apple devices and apps could benefit your classroom or therapy sessions?

Is your child on the autism spectrum easily overwhelmed by crowds? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could bring your child into the Apple store when it was closed to the general public?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, perhaps we can help!

Join Delaware Family Voices, Autism Delaware and The Apple Store for a Special Event

Delaware Family Voices and Autism Delaware have partnered with the Apple Store in Christiana Mall to create a store event dedicated to children and youth on the Autism Spectrum.

During this special event:

  • The Apple Store will be open exclusively to children with autism and their parents.
  • The store will be closed to the general public for the duration of the event.
  • Only those who have pre-registered for the event will be in the store.
  • Trained Apple Experts will be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate products and apps.
  • You and your child will be able to explore Apple products in a safe and quiet environment, no crowds, minimal noise.

Learn how Apple touch screen devices and apps can benefit children on the autism spectrum, including meeting communication, sequencing, social skills and other autism spectrum needs.

Teachers and therapists are also invited to the event. Explore how Apple devices may be viable tools in the academic environment.

Event Details:

Where: The Apple Store, Christiana Mall, Delaware

When: Tuesday, November 20th

Time: 8:00am-9:30am,

Note: Pre-registration is required.

This is a sensory friendly event. Pre-registration is required and space is limited.  Please contact Delaware Family Voices at 302-221-5362 or to register or to learn more about this event.

Come join us Tuesday, Nov. 20th. Learn how an Apple touch screen device can benefit a child or adolescent on the autism spectrum.


Apple iPad images from