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Supporting Families with Children Who Have Special Needs
Program Coordinators, Family Support Network of North Carolina TM Affiliated Regional Programs

Tuesday March 13, 2018 12-2pm(arrive at 11:30 a.m. to sign in and for “meet and greet” reception catered by Vimala’s CurryBlossom Cafe)


Having a child who has special needs can have a profound impact on the entire family. Families may become overwhelmed, and find it difficult to navigate the service system for their child, and to find social and emotional support for themselves. Research shows a positive association between family supports and the families’ ability to foster resilience, maintain the health of the caregiver, reduce stress, and overcome the effect of stress. This presentation will show ways that the Family Support Network™ of North Carolina (FSNNC) enhances the lives of children who have special needs by providing support, education, and caring connections to their families.


Carol Cranford is the Executive Director for Family Support Network™ of Southern Piedmont. As a parent of a child with Angelman Syndrome, Carol has a great passion for families with children who have special needs. Her years of volunteering on various disability related committees lead her to a career with Family Support Network™ where she has worked since 1998.

Chris Gentry is the Director of the Family Support Network™ of Greater Forsyth. This program offers a multitude of support services to families with children who have special needs, including onsite hospital/NICU support, parent-to-parent matching, sibling programs and information and referral services. Chris has over 30 years of experience serving families of young children with a focus on quality early childhood experiences and environments.

Nancy Micca is the Executive Director of Family Support Network™ of Central Carolina. She has served in a leadership capacity with the program since 1993 where she helped to develop a strong NICU support program, parent mentor program and ran a successful Sibshops program for 19 years. Nancy has served on many committees including the Perinatal Quality Collaborative of North Carolina, the Parent to Parent Study, and the Sibshops Standards of Excellence team.

 Learning Objectives:

At the completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss four challenges of raising children who have special needs from the perspective of families.
  2. Define “Family Support” as used by FSNNC
  3. Describe five core services provided by FSNNC to support the social, emotional and informational needs of families with children who have special needs in North Carolina communities.
  4. Explain two ways to access FSNNC services 


  • Cantwell, J., Muldoon, O.T. & Gallagher, S. (2014). Social support and mastery influence the association between stress and poor physical health in parents caring for children with developmental disabilities, Research in Developmental Disabilities 35 2215–2223.
  • Kyzar, K.B., Turnbull, A.P., Summers, J.A. & Gómez, V.A. (2012). The relationship of family support to family outcomes: A synthesis of key findings from research on severe disability. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities 37, 31-44, 2012.
  • Migerode, F., Maes, B., Buysse, A. & Brondeel, R. (2012). Quality of life in adolescents with a disability and their parents: The mediating role of social support and resilience, Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities 24 487–503.

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