Medical Home Meeting: January 13, 2016

[FYI, we did not meet in November 2015, and we did not write a blog post for the December 2015 meeting.]

During January introductions, we learned that Centrus Health Care is now Maxim Healthcare Services.

Our first speakers were Talitha Abramsen and Dr. Megan Hudson from Brain Balance Center of West Springfield.   This organization opened in West Springfield, MA about five years ago.  Brain Balance works with children with diagnoses such as sensory processing, ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, and others.  Programs are designed for children age 4-17 years old who have the ability to follow directions.  Brain Balance programs combine physical and sensory motor training to assist in “balancing” the left and right brain functions.  This company does not accept insurance.  The costs are $300 for an assessment, $2,500 for the first month, and after that $2,000 a month.  The program typically runs for 4-6 months.  The program is 1 hr/day, for three days/week.

Our second speaker was Emily Rodriguez, Program Manager of the Family Resource Center at the Springfield Family Support Program.  Emily began by explaining who works at the Family Resource Center: Clinician, Family Partner, 2 Resource Specialists, School Liaison, and Community Liaison.  The Family Resource Center helps families with many different needs, such as housing, food, school, behavior concerns, court issues, and many other situations.  The program helps families acquire school uniforms, and they are looking into opening a food pantry.  The Family Resource Center is open on the weekends, benefiting families if emergencies occur on a Saturday or Sunday.  They have several programs: anger management (child and adult), ESL, 12 steps, domestic violence education, parenting classes, and more that can be found on their facebook page.

Here’s a shout-out to the folks at CHD for posting great pictures on #DayofAcceptance.  January 20th is a day dedicated to the social acceptance of disability.

For more information about this celebration, check out this young woman’s video: 



Medical Home Meeting: October 14, 2015

Our October meeting opened with a reminder about our Winter Wonderland event, scheduled for Tuesday, December 1 from 4:00-7:00pm at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield, MA.  We plan to host over 100 family members.  We are accepting all sizes and types of donations. Every gift helps make the event more inclusive and successful. Because we have no budget, we only offer this event through the dedication and kindness of our volunteers.

Monetary donations can be sent to:  Karen Cassidy at THOM Regional Consultation Program, 1506A Allen St., Springfield, MA 01118.  If you would like to volunteer or set up a table at the program please let Karen know. There are a limited number of tables available on a first come, first serve basis.

Our meeting continued with a description of THOM’s “Let’s Get Organized” strategies for families.  One strategy is to collect business cards from all of the families’ helpers.  Some families are collecting business cards by taking photos with their phones.  Adding a description of the helper (hair color, glasses, etc) helps the family remember who is who.  The reality is that families lose track of who they’ve seen, what agencies have visited their homes, and who they like (or don’t).

Next up, Maria Zygmont and Madeline Johnson shared info about Brightside for Families and Children.  Brightside was founded in 1881 by the Sisters of Providence as Mount Saint Vincent Orphanage in West Springfield.  This institution has evolved from the early days as an orphanage to a temporary residence for children in need.  In 1968, Brightside for Families and Children was chartered as a private, non-profit corporation.  In the last fifteen years, Brightside’s Residential and Day School Program closed, but the Family Support Programs and Services continue through their offices at Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke, MA.

Brightside participates in the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative. Madeline Johnson spoke earnestly about programs that teach children important communication skills, with goals of helping them participate more fully in social contexts.

Our last speaker was Jan Lamberg with The Support Network.  Jan coaches families in how to approach schools when advocating for their children’s needs.  She spoke about the critical need for documenting interactions with the school.  The Support Network offers sample letters for parents requesting educational evaluations.  Please contact Jan through The Support Network for sample letters.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday, Nov 11 (Veteran’s Day!)

To get a little local history, check out this video: