Sunday, March 1, 2015

Introducing Our Newest Specialists!

Our team is growing! We've excited to be part of a new project, CareShare for Kids: Better Screening, Evaluation and Coordination in Indiana. Our specialists will be supporting families who get a new diagnosis of developmental delay and/or autism. We're all family
members, too, and we know how overwhelming it can be to get a new diagnosis. We hope to be able to support these parents and connect them with the resources to give their child the best possible opportunities and outcomes. If you, or someone you know, needs help navigating systems and services in Indiana, please contact us: 317 944 8982 We are supported by grants and donations, so our services are FREE. 

Melody Holmes is our specialist for the South Bend/St. Joseph County area.  Melody and her husband are the parents to Stephen18, and Natalie, 13.  Stephen had hearing loss and other unique idiosyncrasies early in his life but overcame many of them through First Steps intervention and theatre.  Natalie has experienced multiple medical challenges from infancy, many of which were not diagnosed until she was five years old and some as late as February 2015. Natalie’s primary health challenges include neuromuscular disease with mitochondrial dysfunction, Chiari malformation 1.5, connective tissue disorder and high intracranial pressure.  Natalie courageously faces every challenge and sets an example of how to adapt to life to reach her goals.
Melody has worked in the not-for-profit sector for 15 years. She has largely focused on child abuse/neglect prevention, parent education and child development.  She also volunteers as a child advocate and support group leader.  Melody loves to support families by connecting them with local, state and national resources. Additionally, she hopes to encourage families to develop a strong and consistent medical home as well as practice clear, gentle, and effective communication as they navigate through the medical and special needs maze.

Emily McKinley is our Electronic Communication Specialist. She previously served as a Health Information Specialist for Family Voices. Emily and her husband have three beautiful sons, who are preschool and elementary age. One of her sons received services through First Steps and from other providers. His hard work and early intervention have put him on the road to success! Emily and her family are tremendously grateful for the compassionate, caring providers who they have encountered on their journey and wish to bring comfort and resources to others.
Emily’s interests include assisting families who are beginning their journey after receiving a special needs diagnosis, health care reform, maintaining special diets on a budget, sensory processing, and assisting military families.
Emily has enjoyed an interesting and varied professional career, which has included experiences as a medical writer, volunteer program manager, and freelance writer and editor. Emily has been a lifelong volunteer and is proud to have advocated on behalf of many individuals and for many organizations, including Easter Seals, military spouses and families, children in foster care, Toys for Tots, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, animal shelters, and others.

Aura Roblero is one of our bilingual specialists serving the Indianapolis/Marion County area. She is the mother of three beautiful children: two boys, 16 and 14 years old, and a little girl, 8, with Down syndrome whom she absolutely adores.
Being a mother of two healthy and happy boys gave her the most satisfying experience in life, but what she did not know was that life was preparing her to raise a little girl with special health care needs. The situation was challenging for her and her family as this new world unfolded for them.
During this process, Aura learned how to successfully manage the many challenges that one encounters when raising a child with special needs. She also learned that there were support groups to help her manage and solve problems as well as strengthen her ability to advocate for her daughter. Finding her path was very confusing and painful. However, Aura considers herself lucky to find people and organizations like Family Voices Indiana. They helped her become more confident and positive. She is excited to have the opportunity to be a helping hand to other families who are facing difficult times. She will use the knowledge and skills she has in order to educate and teach others how they can be the best advocate for their own child. 

Kaitlin Thompson is one of our specialists for Evansville/Vanderburgh County. Since she was a child, Kaitlin has been advocating for Hoosiers with disabilities and special health care needs, including speaking in front of local elected officials and state legislators. She has volunteered with young children and families facing crisis situations and has provided input to health care facilities and service providers to improve the quality of care for pediatric patients and their loved ones. She and her two adult siblings have special health care needs, giving her a unique perspective on the issues families seeking assistance from Family Voices Indiana face.
In addition to her personal experience, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Professional Certificate in Patient Advocacy, and is currently enrolled in a Master of Science in Developmental Disabilities program.
Kaitlin is thrilled to be a part of the Family Voices Indiana team. She is excited to bring her passion for helping families navigate the sometimes challenging and ever-changing systems of health care and disability support services to the team. She believes every family has a unique culture and set of strengths they bring to raising their families and interacting with professionals.

Stacey Webb is our specialist for the Jeffersonville/Clark County area. She is the mother of three children, Thomas, Lucas and Presley. Both Thomas and Lucas were born with a rare genetic disorder, Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD).
Stacey currently works as an LPN in the pediatric home health setting as well as in the pediatric long -term care setting.
Stacey believes that with shared knowledge, guidance, respect and support we can produce improved and enriched outcomes and opportunities for children with special needs. She is looking forward to connecting families to resources while also providing support and advocacy.

Erica Walker is one of our specialists for Fort Wayne/Allen County. She has two children, aged three and five. Mallory was born with a rare brain malformation called Hemimegalencephaly that resulted in catastrophic epilepsy. Carter has multiple diagnoses including ADHD and speech delay. After learning how to navigate the many programs and services available, she began volunteering as a champion for About Special Kids. She is also a Service Coordinator for First Steps. She absolutely loves working side by side with families to assist and encourage them on their special health care needs journey. She is eager to work with Family Voices and expand her knowledge base to others in the community. With her personal and professional experience she hopes to empower others to advocate for their special needs family member. It truly does take a village to raise a child!

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