Natural Supports

Contact Us!

Colleen Kurkowski Moss
Natural Supports Project Coordinator
Waisman Center, A107
1500 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
Phone: (608) 890-1687
Fax: (608) 265-3441

Early Childhood Component

Conversations about natural supports can begin very early with families. We know that these supports are most valuable when they can begin early in a child's life and then continue to develop and flourish across the lifespan. We also know that families of children with disabilities often rely more on paid supports than families without disabilities. That is why the project has built in an Early Childhood component. In 2007, we held three focus groups in three communities that also have connections to the middle/high school piece of the project. Service providers (day care providers, Birth to three providers, therapists, program administrators and teachers) and parents of children ages birth to six participated in a dinner conversation that examined how we live the lives we want for our families and children.

The conversations helped us to find out what kinds of supports are available to all families. We also discussed what some parents and providers are thinking about the differences between natural and specialized supports, as well as some of the barriers they face, and the solutions they have found.

The following are comments from the participants in response to the question, Did you learn something about natural supports? What did you learn?

Parent comments:

Provider comments:

The perspectives and ideas that families and providers shared with are shaping trainings and materials we are developing in 2008 to guide families and providers in creating new connections and supports, both beyond the formal service systems and by using support systems in new and innovative ways.

We want to live a good life. We want our children to live a good life, too. What is the CORE of a good life? Community, Opportunity, Reciprocity and Enjoyment.