Family Collaboration Program

Director: Amy Kratchman

Parents and family members have first-hand experiences with the challenges encountered by children with special needs. The aim of the Family Collaboration Program is to enhance the fellows’ understanding of the experiences and perspectives of family members so that they become more effective in their interactions with families and better recognize the role of families as a member of the interdisciplinary team. Fellows select one option from a variety of LEND Family Collaboration Experiences.

Family projects

Option 1: The Family Mentorship option is designed to provide fellows with a better understanding of the impact of a child's illness or disability upon family life. Families living with a child who has a chronic illness or neurodevelopmental disability provide the kind of person-to-person sharing of experiences that no textbook or classroom lecture can offer. Fellows will observe the challenges and triumphs of daily life, the family’s strategies for accessing services, coping with stress, advocating on behalf of their child, incorporating medical and therapeutic interventions into everyday activities, and enjoying recreation or leisure activities. Fellows will be paired with a mentor family at the beginning of the LEND year. Each fellow and mentor family will determine optimal times and places to get together where the fellow can best gain an understanding of how the child’s disability affects the family. Fellows are required to visit with the mentor family on two occasions throughout the year.

Option 2: The Pediatric Stroke Program is part of the Division of Neurology. In addition to addressing the health care needs of patients, the program offers a comprehensive interdisciplinary team of physicians, neuropsychologist, a nurse, a social worker, OT, PT, SPL, and an educational coordinator. The Pediatric Stroke Program also works closely with various CHOP units in the delivery of care for these patients across the continuum, from early diagnosis and acute treatment to ongoing outpatient rehabilitation and community reintegration. Patient and family education and support are integral parts of the program.

LEND fellows will have the opportunity to observe an interdisciplinary stroke team patient visit. They will also attend the pediatric support group that meets monthly at the hospital and be able to interact with the parents through the support group to learn how their lives have been impacted by their child’s stroke.

Option 3: REACH for College
LEND fellows can assist in the development of the parent and family member component of the program. To fulfill the requirements, the LEND fellow will meet with Amy Kratchman, Symme Trachtenberg, and parents from previous REACH for college workshops to establish specific objectives, including participation in at least one of the following activities in conjunction with REACH Leadership:

  • Participate in the parent aspects of REACH for College (program development, planning and implementation)
  • Develop and implement a plan to recruit teens and their parents
  • Assist in developing educational modules and providing training for parents and teens. Topics include but are not limited to: wellness, self-care, self-advocacy, and coordination of healthcare

Option 4: Family Wellness Services: LEND fellows will have an opportunity to work with families of deaf and hard of hearing children under the supervision of the coordinator of the Family Wellness Program of the Center for Childhood Communication (CCC), Louise Montoya, MA, LPC, ACS, CSC. Louise is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a nationally certified sign language interpreter with a lifetime of personal experience with deafness and hearing loss, and over 20 years of professional experience.

  • Fellows may choose from a variety activities including supporting family workshops and events for families and children; training and activities for improving your family interpersonal counseling skills particularly with families experiencing grief; evaluating family and patient satisfaction with CCC family support activities; improving materials/function in the Little Rock Family Resource Room for families with member with hearing loss; or through a LEND fellow-designed family-focused project or activity. Interested fellows will meet with Louise early in the year to discuss, select and plan out your Family-Centered learning activities for the year and meet regularly with Louise over the year to review progress with your self-designed learning plan.