Family Support

Family Support


Couple with Chestnut MareIf you are a family caregiver, you are not alone!  Over 65 million Americans care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age.  Whether you are the parent of a child with special needs, or the spouse of a wounded soldier, a young couple dealing with a diagnosis of MS, or an adult child caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease, you owe it to yourself and your loved one to take good care of yourself as well.

Families with members in distress often have a difficult time maintaining unity and success. Conflicts often happen due to the stress of multiple services and finances going to one member. This leaves other family members physically and emotionally exhausted.  Family caregiving is important, challenging, and a role that few of us planned and prepared to take on.  It is vital to the well-being of the entire family and the care recipient for the family caregivers and other family members to be able to rest, rejuvenate, and gain self-care skills.

Besides adult caregivers, siblings of children with special needs often need extra support and respite.  A recent study showed that siblings of children with disabilities are more likely to develop functional problems of their own from household stress. Short article: Medical Daily  -Source: Goudie A, Havercamp S, Jamieson B, et al. Assessing Functional Impairment in Siblings Living With Children With Disability. Pediatrics. 2013.

Horsemanship and Other Supports

Envision offers horsemanship and other supportive and therapeutic activities and classes for siblings, parents and caregivers.

As part of our family and client support, we also provide access to an exclusive, comprehensive referral network of holistic professionals to support healthy, positive transitions and enrichment for clients and their families.

Many families and individuals have found profound benefit by adding alternative support through homeopathy, specialized nutrition, chiropractic care, mental health providers and pastoral or clergy support.

Man Being Nuzzled By Two HorsesCommunity based educational classes for parents, caregivers and families are also offered or referred for support.

Examples include:

  • nutrition for special needs children
  • parental support for children with autism
  • empowerment classes for victims of domestic violence
  • Foster Connections
Stress, Fatigue and Burn Out

• It is not our perceptions of events that cause stress, as many have believed until recently, but our emotional response to those perceptions.

• The solution to the riddle of stress lies in your heart, as the poets and sages through the ages knew intuitively.  In modern times,  researchers and scientists have established it through study.

When you’re stressed – feeling anxiety, anger or other negative emotions – your heart sends your brain disordered heart-rhythm patterns, leaving many of your body’s systems out of sync. This is what medical science calls a state of heart incoherence. But the research shows you can regain and keep heart coherence by intentionally feeling and focusing on positive emotions such as appreciation and caring.

He Knows QuoteScientific studies have shown that horse hearts mirror human hearts – when yours is disordered, the horse experiences it, and when you are calm, the horse’s heart rhythm synchronizes with yours. The horse is primarily an emotional being, and its 8.5 lb. heart is perfectly in touch with its limbic system. So our horses can help the family member or caregiver learn to find peace, relaxation and contentment by working their heart on its emotionally positive rhythms – love, appreciation, and care – which create mind, body and emotional harmony.

Hypertension, (a blood pressure (BP) of 140/90 mm Hg or higher), is one of the biggest U.S. public health issues, affecting about 60 million Americans, or one in four adults. This “Silent Killer” usually causes no symptoms, but hypertension is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and vascular complications. High systolic BP also has been linked with decreased cognitive performance, memory loss and the loss of healthy brain tissue. Clinical trials show that lowering blood pressure significantly reduces morbidity and premature mortality. Evidence suggests that high BP is linked to persistent stress and the way in which people cope. Behavioral interventions that reduce negative emotional arousal and stress have been shown to be effective natural treatments for hypertension, resulting in clinically significant and sustainable BP reductions.

Benefits of Reducing Stress

• Lower risk of fatigue and burnout, better health

• More energy

• Lower risk of heart attack

• Greater clarity

• More rewarding life

Benefits of Reducing Fatigue and Burnout

• Improved health and well-being

• More resiliency and adaptability in life

• Increased vitality and energy, less tiredness

• Clear thinking and decisiveness

• More get-up-and-go, liveliness

I have a family member using Envision Equine Assisted Coaching or Therapeutic Riding services and would like to get information on Family Respite Services

Family Support Self-Help Tools

Resiliency and Positive Skill Building

Envision offers families the Devereux Center for Resilient Children Assessment Tool to screen, assess, and plan outcomes. Complete nationally standardized, strengths-based screening and assessment tools developed by the Devereux Center for Resilient Children for children ranging from infancy through 5 years online. Visit DECA2 to learn more.

Search Institute’s The Developmental Assets® are 40 research-based, positive qualities that influence young people’s development. These qualities help them become caring, responsible, and productive adults. Based in youth development, resiliency, and prevention research, the Developmental Assets framework has proven to be effective.  It has become the most widely used approach to positive youth development in the United States and, increasingly, around the world. The framework is developmentally relevant from early childhood through adolescence.

Parent resources at the Search Institute Discovering What Kids Need to Succeed are very useful. They also offer resources for families to find their strengths, build resilience, enjoy time together, and deal with high risk behaviors on their sister website

ParentFurther’s10-Minutes-for-Keeping-Sanity-in-the-Familyhas 9 great ideas that enable parents, family caregivers, and yes – entire families to relax, come together, and be refreshed.

Autism Spectrum Specific Resources

Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders -Resources

Child Abuse Prevention Resources

Darkness to Light logo  Darkness to Light – Tools and Training for Parents and Individuals to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

Our partner h.e.l.p.s for kids, LLC has a great tool for teaching children how to set safe personal boundaries. body-safety-box

Caregiver Support Resources

Caregiver Action Network

KS Pope Caregiver Resources

Hallmark CaringBridge Greeting Cards 20% Off Promotion through 12/31/14

Additional tools to use to reduce stress when not near the horses are coming soon.

Physical Communication Resources


BrowseAloud_logoBrowseAloud adds speech and reading support to online content to extend the reach of websites for up to 40% of the  population who require reading support. This includes those with dyslexia, learning difficulties, mild visual impairments and those with English as a second language.

BrowseAloud is free to use and works with all major browsers.


Toys and Gifts for Children with Special Needs Resource

AblePlayTM is a toy rating system and website that provides comprehensive information on toys for children with special needs. AblePlay was created so parents, special educators, therapists and others can make the best decisions when purchasing products for children in their lives with disabilities.

Pediatric Consumer Health Library

The Emily Center

The Emily Center at Phoenix Children's HospitalFounded in 1990, the Emily Center is named after Emily Anderson. Emily fought a rare form of leukemia for four years, before losing her battle a few days before her seventh birthday. Frustrated by the lack of easy to understand information about Emily’s illness, her parents founded The Emily Center so that families of sick children would always have access to pediatric health information that is accurate, easy to understand and free of charge.

How We can help

The whole family is affected when a child is injured or diagnosed with a serious illness. Parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, and even member’s of the child’s health care team need answers to many questions.

You can get answers to those questions at The Emily Center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Materials are available to everyone in the community and FREE OF CHARGE.


The Emily Center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital

1919 E. Thomas Road

Phoenix, AZ 85016-7710

Phone: (602) 933-1400

Outside Metro Phoenix: (866) 933-6459



Hours of Operation:

Monday – Friday 9:00am – 7:00pm

Saturday – Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm

The Emily Center is open to the public and is the largest pediatric consumer health library in the southwest. In it you will find:
•Highly skilled nurses to conduct individualized research for families and professionals.
•Thousands of books, videotapes, CD-ROMs, pamphlets, and recent articles on children’s health in both English and Spanish.
•Resources on all children’s health issues as common as bed wetting or as rare as Rett Syndrome.
•Computers to access online medical information from the nation’s most reliable sources of pediatric health information.
•Lists of local, national, and online support groups.

The Emily Center provides additional resources:
•A section for kids ~ Children can learn about their own health issues or about an illness of a sibling, friend or parent.
•Online access to our catalog ~ Find out what books & videos we have from




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