Student and Postdoctoral Opportunities

Family Members

Formal training programs provide a unique opportunity for family members of a child or adult with a developmental disability or special health care need to develop their knowledge and leadership skills, as well as form relationships with others working to support individuals with special health care needs and developmental disabilities.

  • WI LEND Program (Wisconsin Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) is an academic year program that provides leadership training to family members, students, and professionals with the aim of improving systems of care and assuring access to services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The “Family Support” discipline recruits family members of a child with a developmental disability or special health care need. The program requires a 300+ hour commitment over the training year. A $5,000 stipend is available.
  • If your child is over 6 years old, you may be interested in the program funded by the Wisconsin Statewide Parent-Educator Initiative (WSPEI) and offered through the Department for Public Instruction (DPI). Parents in Partnership (PIP) is offered to caregivers of children aged 6-14 and Youth in Partnership with Parents for Empowerment (YIPPE) is offered to caregivers and youth aged 14–21. YIPPE is also supported by a grant from the Southern Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, housed at the Waisman Resource Center.

Family members can also take advantage of less formal opportunities to help teach others about the family perspective.

  • Families serve as Family Mentors to Waisman Trainees or UW Hospital pediatric residents. In this role, families enhance trainees' sensitivity to the strengths, concerns, joys, and challenges of raising a child or youth with a developmental disability or special health care need by sharing time and family experiences with a Trainee or resident. Families are compensated for offering this mentoring relationship with an honorarium. Contact the Family Mentor coordinator, Barbara Wagner, bwagner@waisman.wisc.edu to learn more about this opportunity.
  • The Parent Consultant Directory is a state‐wide directory of families who are interested in acting as “consultants” – experts who give advice – to pre‐professionals (university/college students) and professionals (e.g. therapists, medical personnel, teachers, service coordinators, child care professionals) on topics related to children with special needs. Contact Lynn Havemann, havemann@waisman.wisc.edu for more information.

Various learning opportunities are also available through the Waisman Center. Some examples include:

  • The Wiley Seminar Series, a series of research seminars on current research related to neurodevelopment and developmental disabilities.  Everyone is welcome. See the Waisman Center events listing for dates, times, and seminar topics.
  • Community trainings provide a variety of learning opportunities for community members. Trainings include “Did You Know, Now You Know” about health care coverage and community supports for children and youth with disabilities or special health care needs; “Transition to Adult Health Care;” and “Integrating Health Goals into the IEP.” See the Community Calendar for a listing of upcoming trainings.
  • A Day with the Experts at the Waisman Center is a community conference sponsored by and benefiting the Autism Society of Greater Madison (ASGM) that is held at the Waisman Center each year in November. This community conference introduces family members to the latest autism research being conducted at the Waisman Center. See the ASGM online events listing for further details.
  • The Waisman Resource Center, which houses the Southern Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, provides free and confidential information and assistance in identifying and accessing resources for children, youth and adults with disabilities and/or special health care needs, their families and the professionals within their community. Families can visit (room 102) or call (1-800-532-3321) the Waisman Resource Center to learn more about services, resources, organizations and information specific to their questions and concerns.

Information about resources for families can also be found on Family Resources: Early Intervention Information.