searing-family

Welcome, families!

Family members started Special Olympics and have been at the forefront of every major advancement we have made in our effort to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. We want every member of every family to see SOWA as a support system, a safe place, a resource, and a source of joy and celebration. SOWA is there for our families for a lifetime.
–Dave Lenox, President & CEO, Special Olympics Washington

Upcoming Events:


Advocacy Days-
Hosted by the ARC of Washington. Date: Every Wednesday from February 1st through April 5th. More information contact bean@arcwa.org.
Sensory Friendly Movie Nights- Hosted by the Autism Society of Washington, Spokane Chapter. Dates: Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday and Saturday of the month, 10a.m. at  AMC Theatre, River Park Square, 808 W Main Avenue, Spokane.
Parents 4 Life Support Group— Hosted by the ARC of Spokane. Date: Meets the third Wednesday of the month at 11:00 a.m. at The Arc of Spokane, 320 E. 2nd Ave. F. More Information contact Jennifer Lee.
Disabilities Awareness Film Festival- Hosted by North Idaho College. Running through April. More Information.
Service Animal Public Forum- Hosted by Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan. Date: March 24, 11AM-12PM. Location- South Side Senior Center.
The 38th Annual Duncan Seminar- “The Juggling Act”– Date: March 31
2017 Voices of Children Contest Hosted by the Olympia School District. Date: April 1
Painting with a Twist– Hosted by the Arc of Spokane. Date: April 18. 21+ Over. 
Infant and Early Childhood Conference Hosted by the ARC of Washington. Date: May 3-5
Coeur d’Alene Family Fun Fair- Hosted by the ISAAC Foundation. Date: May 6, 2017
Spokane Family Fun Fair-
Hosted by the ISAAC Foundation. Date: May 13, 2017
Wenatchee 2017 “Impact Our Futures! Hosted by DSHS Developmental Disabilities Administration’s. Date: June 13th-15th, 2017
The WIN Leadership Symposium–  Hosted by the Welcome Inclusion Initiative. Date: June 23
Family Campout Hosted by the Washington Fathers Network

Developmental Disabilities Administration Information:

DDA is transforming lives by providing support and fostering partnerships that empower people to live the lives they want. People with developmental disabilities and their families are valued citizens of the state of Washington. The Developmental Disabilities Administration strives to develop and implement public policies that will promote individual worth, self-respect, and dignity such that each individual is valued as a contributing member of the community.

Individual and Family Services (IFS) Waiver:

The Individual and Family Services Waiver helps support families who have a family member (child or adult) with a developmental disability who is three years or older by providing a choice of services to help maintain and stabilize the family unit. Services Include: Respite care, Nursing, Equipment and Supplies, Assistive Technology, Behavior Support, Community Engagement, Environmental and Vehicular Modifications, Supported Parenting, Peer Mentoring,  and Person Centered Planning. In addition, people enrolled on the IFS Waiver, also qualify for Medicaid services! Easily request services on-line by submitting this form.

IFS Waiver- More Information

What is the Family Support Network?

Real Connections with Real Family Members

Your Area’s Family Support Coordinator will connect you to other parents, siblings, grandparents, and guardians in your area and let you know about family activities and support groups. They’ll keep you up-to-date on SOWA activities, family-related resources from other organizations, and events in the community.

Contact your Area’s Family Support Coordinator

Support for Families

  • Resource tables at SOWA competitions to connect you to helpful organizations
  • Family Lounges at competitions where you can relax, share input, and get helpful information.
  • Receptions and trainings at events and competitions
  • Regular Webinars on a variety of topics; from sibling support to transition/DDA/supported living topics.
  • Resource List connecting you to the state’s leaders in family services. Connect to your local Parent-to-Parent coordinator to help navigate state services and benefits, your nearest Special Healthcare Needs Coordinator to find service providers, or call Within Reach to find out about respite, independent living, trusts, guardianship, and more.

Opportunities to Get Involved
Family members interested in participating in other aspects of SOWA are encouraged to volunteer, coach, participate as Unified Partners, fundraise, or speak on behalf of SOWA at events. Contact your Area’s Family Support Coordinator for more information.
*Family Support Coordinator’s coming soon, please contact Chara McElfish for current information.

Are you the parent or guardian of a SOWA Athlete aged 14-25?
Take our Program Evaluation survey to help improve SOWA training & competition for transition aged athletes.

Click Here to Join the Family Support Network

By joining your Area’s Family Support Network you’ll be connected to your Area’s Family Support Coordinator who will keep you up to date about  SOWA events and opportunities. They will also share helpful resources with you about other needs you may have include referrals for physicians, help signing up for DDA benefits, sibling supports, and more.

You’ll receive a confirmation email after joining where you will be introduced to your Family Support Coordinator. If you have any questions, please email Chara McElfish.

A Chance to Make Your Voice Heard
Area Family Support Coordinators join other volunteers and family members on the statewide Family Support Team which meets regularly to discuss how to best support SOWA families.

Individual family members are also encouraged to share input on SOWA programming through surveys at Family Lounges or online.

Share your input here