Family Support & Leadership Resources


Within the Family Support and Leadership priority area, the Waisman Center University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) works to promote and strengthen the participation of families that include a person with disabilities in partnerships with professionals and providers, community members, and elected officials. With their participation in family support and leadership-building activities, families are able to assume a role in the improvement of systems of supports and service for people with disabilities and are an invaluable asset to providers and policy makers. Best practice recognizes that family members and individuals with disabilities provide a perspective critical to the successful development of effective policies and practices. Family involvement will increase the likelihood that systems of support and services are helpful, effective, and efficient and provide the greatest possible flexibility regarding the nature and use of services and support and maximize community inclusion and natural supports.

Our Programs

Autism Treatment Programs
The Waisman Center Autism Treatment Programs are provided through a partnership with the University of Wisconsin (UW) Medical Foundation. Starting Together (comprehensive and focused treatment based on Applied Behavior Analysis and the Early Start Denver Model, ages 2-6 at the Waisman Early Childhood Program (WECP)); Growing Together (focused treatment for parent and child to learn positive behavior, ages 6-14); Transitioning Together (focused treatment for parent and teen to support skill, resources and strategies for a successful transition to adult life).

Children And Youth With Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Southern Regional Center
Provides information, referral and follow up services so that all families with children with special health care needs, and providers residing in the service area will have access to complete and accurate information related to the needs of their special needs child.

Developmental Disabilities Community Training and Consultation
Provides service to family members, volunteers, direct care providers, special education teachers, transportation providers, para-professional and professional service providers from all settings providing services in Dane County for people with developmental disabilities.

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND)
The purpose of this program is to provide graduate education to interdisciplinary maternal and child health trainees, to prepare them to assume key leadership positions in education, service, research, administration and advocacy to improve the health and well-being of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) population.

Wisconsin Care Integration Initiative
The Wisconsin Care Integration Initiative (WiCII) project aims to increase family-centered, integrated systems of care for children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities.


A New Beginning for Ana and Her Family (Un Nuevo Amanecer Para Ana Y Su Familia)
Opens in new page


Building a National Agenda for Supporting Families with a Member with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
PDF Document | 28 Pages | 3.3 MB


Finding Your Way cover pageFinding Your Way (English) | Guia De Recursos (Español)
PDF also available
Ordering Information




Family Issues CoverMaking the Case for Supporting Families in Wisconsin
PDF Document


Completed Projects

  • Family Action Network
    The Family Action Network provides information about opportunities for education, training and leadership development to members who would like to contribute their voice to improve systems for people with disabilities and special health care needs in Wisconsin. Members are encouraged to share their ideas as informed, effective and knowledgeable participants in policy and systems change to help achieve family/self-determination, independence, productivity, integration and inclusion in all facets of community life. Systems change happens when family members are partners in the development, implementation and evaluation of policies and systems of supports and services. Information shared on this list does not represent a position or endorsement of specific positions by the listserv host. This listserv is collaboration between the Waisman Center, University Center of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities, Family Voices of Wisconsin, Disability Rights Wisconsin and the Board for People with Developmental Disabilities.
  • Family Network Project
    A Family Network is group of families committed to working together to learn and increase the quality of life for their family members with disabilities. Family Networks facilitate and connect families to do together what no one family can do alone. Well informed and supported family networks can solve challenges by developing creative solutions to shared problems such as transportation, community living, community integration, community employment. The Family Network Project will assist a total of 9 new family-led groups around the state of Wisconsin over the next three years. This is a partnership with Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (BPDD) in which Living Our Visions (LOV) will provide coordination, technical assistance, facilitation and training to these groups.
    The Family Action Network provides information about opportunities for education, training and leadership development to members who would like to contribute their voice to improve systems for people with disabilities and special health care needs in Wisconsin.
  • Family Support 360
    Family Support 360 was a 5-year project funded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities and located at the Harambee Center, in collaboration with the Waisman Center, Exchange Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse, Dane County Human Services, and the Department of Health Services.
  • Systems Change for Children with Disabilities
    For more information on policy with children with disabilities go to Survival Coalition of Wisconsin Disability Organizations.
  • Policy and Systems Change
    The University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) supports a variety of efforts at the state level that provide input to policy makers on a wide range of topics that impact the lives of people with disabilities and their families. We do this primarily through participation on coalitions, advisory committees and state councils.
  • Systems Change for  Children with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs
    The purpose of this project is to document needs that individuals with disabilities and families experience as they navigate health and community-based long-term support services (LTSS).
  • Wisconsin Family Leadership Institute (WiFLI)
    Wisconsin Family Leadership Institute (WiFLI) is an opportunity for Wisconsin families to participate in an intensive leadership development experience.
  • Wisconsin PROMISE Grant
    The PROMISE (Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security) initiative is intended to improve services for youth SSI (Social Security Supplemental Security Income) recipients and their families to help youth recipients achieve better outcomes, including graduating from high school ready for college and a career, completing postsecondary education and job training, and obtaining competitive employment in an integrated setting.