Conference will focus on respite care issues

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By Hillary Wundrow

Daily News staff writer

JANESVILLE - Family Respite Care Services will train those interested in providing for the disabled, including autistic people.

The respite care conference will be held 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Janesville Holiday Inn Express Convention Center, 3100 Wellington Place.

At the conference, presenters will instruct attendees on the proper way to provide respite service for individuals with extreme behavior challenges. The training also will include information on bathing and toileting those with special needs.

“The need for respite care is great, said Rose Helms, co-director of Family Respite Care Services, 205 N. Main St., Janesville. “We need more experienced individuals to provide consistent respite care for families who care for an individual with special needs.

With an autistic son of her own, Helms knows the importance of getting a break. She has relied on her 14-year-old daughter to help out, but said some families don't have the same luxury.

“Some families have kids with emotional and behavior disorders, Helms said. “They really need someone skilled who knows about their disability.

At the conference, Mark Sweet, a representative of Disability Rights Wisconsin, will instruct children on being assertive. Jeanne Lee-Daskam, a program manager for the Epilepsy Foundation of Southern Wisconsin will show how to recognize different types of seizures and the best responses.

Leslie Kountz, a coordinator for Family Support at Lutheran Social Services, will discuss the purpose of the Family Support program and guidelines for using its funds. Family Support helps families provide care for disabled children in their homes.

Harriet Redman, executive director for the Fox Valley Sibling Support Network, will discuss how a disabled family member impacts siblings.

Family Respite Care Services receives funding from United Way of North Rock County and from the Rock County Disabilities Board. Family Respite Care Services has programs to help both parents and siblings. The organization also refers families to 10 experienced respite care workers.

In 2005 Family Respite Care Services' respite program served 23 families.

On the Rock County Family Support coordinator's list there were more than 100 people waiting for assistance in 2005.

The upcoming conference is open to anyone in Wisconsin. For a parent it costs $25, for an adult 18-years-old and over it costs $30, and for providers and professionals it costs $40. Anyone who is on the respite registry will get in for free.

For more information on the conference contact Rose Helms at (608)758-0956.

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