Individual and Family Support Project
The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) will expand social work support for families trying to navigate the complicated and confusing world of services and supports. In hospitals and medical clinics, families frequently meet with a team of providers, including a social worker who provides psychosocial assessments, brief counseling, and information and referrals. Families often report that when they receive a diagnosis of a syndrome that could or does result in a family member having developmental disabilities, they feel overwhelmed emotionally and do not know where to start in finding medical and education services. Families are often stressed to juggle family life, careers, financial stress, and medical appointments and these challenges are faced by families across cultures and economic status.
The VKC is implementing a specifically designed follow-up procedure. This additional support will be provided by the VKC licensed social worker and social work trainees from the UT School of Social Work. Follow-up and support phone calls are expected to result in more families connecting with needed resources that will promote optimum development for the individual with the disability and improved coping abilities for family members. Research shows that if children with disabilities and their families can connect to interventions, supports, and services early, they can lead productive lives.