Fact Oregon empowers families dealing with disabilities


By Sue Cody


FACTOregonFact Oregon has a Special Education Regional Conference Feb. 13 at the Seaside Civic & Convention Center. Fact Oregon Parent Training and Information Center empowers families experiencing disabilities.


The all-day conference for families, educators and community partners runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is free for family members and caregivers and includes meals. The conference offers training in understanding IEP (Individual Education Plan), transitions to kindergarten and adulthood, understanding special education rights, and more. The cost for medical and education professionals is $25. To register, visit www.factoregon.org/calendar.


Emily Braman, Fact Oregon family network lead program coordinator, spoke at the January CHART (Community Health Advocacy and Resource Team) meeting in Warrenton. She says Fact Oregon forms regional family networks with parents in support of children with special needs. The Columbia and Coastal Communities branch serves Columbia, Clatsop, Tillamook and Lincoln counties.


Disabilities can include physical, mental and learning disabilities, including those caused by illness or injury, Braman says.


“Instead of focusing on what a kid cannot do, we focus on strength – what the child can do,” she says. “We ask parents to tell us everything that is amazing about your child.


“Once the parents make a brain shift, the child’s future changes.


“We want everyone to see the child in positive light. They are used to getting beat up by negatives,” Braman says of parents.


Fact Oregon offers training for parents and caregivers, webinars, family-to-family support and a website with helpful information, such as positive parenting strategies.


Braman suggests, “Don’t internalize stress. Call someone, decrease isolation and advocate for your kid.” It is important to meet other families to create bonds and relationships because the extended family can get burned out. She encourages parents to engage in the community and participate in events, such as Special Olympics and fun runs.


To learn more about Fact Oregon, visit the website: www.factoregon.org.


The Seaside Civic & Convention Center is located at 415 First St., in Seaside. For information on the Feb. 13 conference, call 888-988-3228 or email registration@factoregon.org.