Main content

Alert message

Summer 99 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

By Kate Moss, Family Support Specialist, Texas Deafblind Outreach

Frequently, I need to get information about a specific condition or syndrome for myself or for a family I am working with, or I want to find some resource about disability issues. One of my favorite resources has become Family Village, a website sponsored in part by The Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation and The Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation that brings together a wide range of information for families and individuals with disabilities.

When you first arrive at Family Village, by opening the location <>, you will see twelve icons or pictures that represent the website's different sections. The sections at this site and what is found in each, are describe in the table below:

Section What You Can Find There
Library Information is available about specific syndromes and conditions with links to other websites and resources. General information includes topics on general disability issues such as Adults with Disabilities, Advocacy & Public Policy, Air Travel Rights and Regulations for People with Disabilities, Auditory Integration Therapy, Conferences, Ketogenic Diet Resources, Siblings of Persons with Disabilities, Ventilator Use, and much, much more.
Coffee Shop Here you can learn how to make connections with other individuals or families. Information is also available about several avenues you can explore to make these connections: chat rooms, Internet relay channels, and traditional parent to parent matching programs.
Hospital Information is included about medical, health, transportation, therapeutic, and supportive resources. Topics include, among others, Alternative/Complementary Health Links, Charitable Transportation Resources, Cooking and Nutrition, Dental Information, Health Care Advocacy and Financing, Managed Care, Pharmacology & Drug Information, and Supports for Seriously Ill Children and Their Families.
Shopping Mall This Mall lists resources for adaptive products and assistive technology. Topics include Adaptive Clothing & Shoes, Adaptive Daily Living Products, Adaptive Driving/Riding Products & Vehicles, Adaptive Switches, Adaptive Toys, Canes and Walkers, Communication Aids (sensory disabilities included), Equipment Loan or Exchange Resources, Funding for Assistive Technology, Incontinence, Seating and Positioning Products, and Wheelchairs and Equipment, etc.
House of Worship This section includes religious/faith/spiritual resources for those who have disabilities.
Post Office If you are a parent of a child with a disability or an adult with a disability and would like to talk with someone else who has "been there", you can post a message.
School This School includes educationally-related resources for families with a child who has disabilities, plus additional resources "JUST FOR KIDS!!" In this section you will find information on such topics as Advocacy and Public Policy, "Disability Awareness" Educational Resources, Early Intervention Resources, Government Agencies, IDEA and Other Education Related Laws, Inclusive/Special Education Resources, Individual Education Plan Resources, Parent Training and Information Centers, and Transition.
Recreation and Leisure Topics in this section include Art, Music, and Theatre, Camps, Comprehensive Sports Resources and Programs, Cycling and Mobility Resources, Dance, Fitness and Exercise, Gardening, Golf, Horseback Riding and Hippotherapy, Hunting, Internet Discussion Groups, Radio and Television , Sailing, Sled(ge) Hockey and Picking, Snow Skiing, Special Sporting Events, Special Olympics, Travel, Water Sports (fishing included), and Wheelchair Sports.
Community Center This Center includes resources for persons with disabilities, their families, and those that provide them services and support. Topics in this section include: Adoption Resources, African American Resources, Father Resources, Foster Care Resources, Grandparent Resources, Military Family Resources, Native American Resources, Public Transportation, Regional Resources in Other Countries, the United States and in U.S. Territories, Single Parent Resources, and Wish Granting Organizations.
Bookstore The Bookstore includes reading, audio, video, and musical resources related to disabilities.
Information This section contains the Family Village Search Engine and other information such as a terrific Guide to Using the Internet For Parents of Children with Disabilities or Chronic Health Conditions and Internet Relay Chat.
University The University section includes links to disability research programs and projects, statistics and surveys.

This website is very easy to use, even if you have never spent much time on the Internet. The design is one that I find to be very user-friendly. People using screenreader software will find it very accessible. Family Village is always a good first place to go if you are not sure how to locate a resource or information related to disability. The other thing I like about this site is the inclusion of electronic bulletin boards, a good search engine, and abundant links to other great websites.

If you are just beginning to use the Internet, your first stop should be the "Information" section for a quick read-through of the "Guide to Using the Internet for Parents of Children with Disabilities or Chronic Health Conditions." You'll feel like a pro in no time. If you do not have Internet access at home, you may find this reason enough to take a trip to the public library to access the Internet there. You might also contact your school about making computers accessible to parents. If you would like to contact the folks at Family Village, you may write to them at: The Family Village, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1500 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705-2280; or e-mail: .