Stay Connected Through Events with Iowa Family Support Network


The Iowa Family Support Network would like to keep you posted on upcoming events in your area. Whether you are a parent or a provider, we will do our best to post any workshops, conferences, classes, and kid friendly events that are close to you!

  1. Pier Center for Autism: Open House

    11/19/2019 @ 06:00pm
    1401 Tri View Ave, Sioux City, Iowa 51105

    Navigating Through the Holidays ( 4 week mini session) - How to adapt to change, perspective taking, continuing with the social smarts soft skills instruction and practice.

    Open House: November 19th: 6:00 - 7:00 (cost of program - $90.00)

    Session 1: November 26

    2: December 3

    3: December 10

    4: December 17

    You can register for any or all programs.

    Our Social Smarts Groups focus on improved social skills in a small group setting with groups formed by commonalities (not only by age). In addition to the groups of participants aged 5-13 we have traditionally had, we also have an expanded high school and college aged group. For these groups, participants should already have intermediate-to-strong verbal and academic skills. This will allow us to focus on social conversation and reciprocal language skills during the 50-minute sessions.

    Targets of our groups may vary based on the need of the individuals in the group, but may include:

    • Executive skill development

    • Building Social relationship through play and social interactions

    • Skills to be successful in school

    • Emotional regulation with use of the 5 point scale

    • Thinking and talking bubbles

    • Self advocating

    The cost for Social Smarts is $135.00 for the six-week sessions and $90.00 for the four-week sessions. Payment is to be made by check only, private insurance no longer accepted for Social Smarts. We ask that everyone provide payment in full no later than week 1 of group. To reduce overhead costs, we have discounted the program and eliminated the weekly payment option.

    To sign up, please email Jeremiah Gray at jgray@midstepservices.com/ . Enrollment will be on a first come, first serve basis and we must have at least three enrollees to form a group. After the Open House, we will verify we have enough participants for a group.

  2. Common Sense Parenting Lunch and Learn

    11/21/2019 @ 12:00pm
    600 4th Street Sioux City, IA 51101

    One-hour training related to a parenting topic for professionals/providers who want to build on their existing skills or learn new ways of dealing with children's behaviors. This event is from noon to 1:00 pm on Thursday November 21st 2019. This training will be held at the Boys Town Iowa Office in Sioux City. This training is Free and it is a bring your own lunch.

  3. Autism Browsing Hour

    11/22/2019 @ 05:30pm
    The North Liberty Library 520 West Cherry Street North Liberty

    Join us for an ALL AGES autism-friendly browsing hour at the North Liberty Library! Check out books, make a craft and listen to a special fall story! Video games will also be available in the teen room. This event is a great opportunity for families and individuals to connect. The library will be closed to the general public in order to guarantee a neutral and quiet environment. No registration required!

    When – November 22nd from 5:30pm-6:30pm

    Where – The North Liberty Library, 520 W Cherry St, North Liberty, Iowa 52317

    If you have questions or are in need of additional accommodations, please email Jessie Witherell at jessiewitherell@hotmail.com

  4. Single Parents, Need More Time?

    11/22/2019 @ 06:00pm
    Brubaker Elementary: 2900 E 42nd Street, Des Moines

    Parents are best equipped to pour into their children when they themselves have a full tank; which is why Single Parent Provision began Break Time- a program providing single parents several hours of uninterrupted time to run errands, study, or simply have some down time. While parents take some intentional time to recharge, their kids enjoy a fun evening of activities, games, a meal, and crafts. Break Times are possible because of the generous support of extraordinary volunteers, all of whom undergo background checks and are well equipped and enthusiastic about engaging with the children who attend.

    Registration is required for this free program and happens at singleparentprovision.org. for more information, please visit the website or call 515-868-9252.

    Break Time starts at 6PM and ends at 9PM.

  5. Parent Cafe

    11/26/2019 @ 05:30pm
    Trinity Lutheran Church 1229 Kathy Lane, Webster City

    "You love your kids to the moon and back, but sometimes you need a break. Building Families invites parents and caregivers with children ages 0-18 to come and rejuvenate at their monthly Parent Café events. A new topic is discussed each month, and the events take place from 5:30-8pm at Trinity Lutheran Church (1229 Kathy Lane, Webster City).

    Individuals can choose to attend one, two, or even all of the Cafés. Dates with themes are tentatively set for the fourth Tuesday of the month, with the exception of December (Tuesdays September 24, October 22, November 26, Monday December 9, and Tuesdays January 28, February 25, March 24, April 28, May 26, and June 23). The whole family will be fed, and child care is provided to those that register. Best of all, it’s ALL totally FREE! That’s correct, a FREE fun night out for the family! The Parent Cafés are a great opportunity to relax, de-stress and connect with other great parents and caregivers.

    Parent Cafés are structured get-togethers that help parents and other caregivers to engage in meaningful conversations about what matters most, and how to strengthen families by building five protective factors. Participants are able to share strengths and challenges, celebrate successes, learn from one another, and build positive social connections with others helping to raise children in the surrounding counties.

    Building Families is a non-profit organization that’s mission is developing healthy, successful and independent children and families in Hamilton, Humboldt, and Wright Counties. They offer funding to a continuum of supports, programs and services that embrace families with children ages 0-18. Building Families is providing the Parent Cafés in partnership with the Family & Community Action Team (FCAT) for the tri-county area, through funding from Community Partnerships for Protecting Children (CPPC).

    For more information on the Parent Cafés or to reserve your spot, contact McKinley at 515.602.6371 (ext. 1) or mbailey@co.wright.ia.us. For updates on Building Families programming and events, check us out at buildingfamilies.net, Facebook, or Instagram."

  6. Positive Solutions for Families

    11/27/2019 @ 04:30pm
    Cedar Rapids Downtown Public Library at 450 5th Ave SE

    There will be a 6 session series designed to help foster positive and effective parenting techniques in order to promote children's social and emotional development and address challenging behaviors. This is for for parents with children age 5 and younger who are experiencing behavior struggles at home, daycare, community, or school. These sessions will be every Tuesday and Thursday December 3rd through December 19th 2019 from 11:30am to 12:30pm. For more information or to sign up please call 319-558-4861 or email sara.nightingale@unitypoint.org by November 27th.

  7. Sensory Friendly Holiday Workshop

    11/30/2019 @ 01:00pm
    Shenandoah Historical Society: 800 W. Sheridan Ave. Shenandoah, IA

    Shenandoah Historical Society is having a sensory friendly Santa, a free picture to take home of your child with Santa, cookie decorating, crafts, and fun holiday games that will all be sensory friendly. There will also be parent resources available. Free to families supporting someone with a Sensory Processing Disorder or Autism Spectrum Disorder. For more information email swiautism@gmail.com

  8. Learn & PlayGroup

    12/06/2019 @ 09:30am
    Waukee Public Library

    Learn & Playgroup is a parent/child playgroup designed for parents and their children ages birth – five. Through stories and structured activities, both you and your child will learn as you play! You will also have the opportunity to meet other parents and learn about community resources. Our fall sessions (Sept-Dec 2019) will have the theme of COLORS and our spring sessions (Jan-May 2020) will have the theme of ANIMALS. Did we mention. . . this event series is FREE?

  9. Autism Friendly Santa

    12/08/2019 @ 08:30am
    Coral Ridge Mall: 1451 Coral Ridge Avenue, Coralville, IA 52241

    From 8:30 AM- 10:30 AM on November 24th and December 8th Santa welcomes all ages and abilities! Santa Cares is a sensory-friendly holiday event which allows families with all spectrum of special needs to experience the time-honored tradition of a visit with Santa, in a comforting environment prior to public hours. Accommodations are made to support the sensory, physical, and developmental needs of this special audience.

    While visits with Santa are welcome and always free, Santa photo packages will be available for purchase. Space is limited. To locate and reserve a time to attend visit www.AutismSpeaks.org/Santa

  10. Holiday fun at the Community Recreation Centers

    12/12/2019 @ 06:00pm
    Pioneer Columbus Community Recreation Center: 2100 SE Fifth St. Des Moines, IA

    Ring in the holidays at the 2019 Jingle Bell Parties on December 12th from 6-7:30PM! These events are for children 14 and under and their families, are free and full of fun activities. Participants can enjoy a visit with Santa, treats from Hy-Vee and Target, and a Toys for Tots gift. This event is free, but registration is required by December 12/3/2019.

  11. Mobile Pantry

    12/14/2019 @ 11:00am
    Cowboy Cafe, Sidney Elementary

    A mobile pantry is a traveling food pantry that delivers food directly to families in need for a one-day distribution.

    The goal is to provide food where there is a high need but limited resources.

    The mobile pantry is available to you free of charge!

    Please bring boxes or bags to carry food.

    Call: 712-374-2647

  12. Single Moms Christmas Dinner

    12/14/2019 @ 05:00pm
    Community Choice Credit Unition Convention Center at the Iowa Events center in downtown Des Moines, 833 5th Ave

    Single mothers throughout central Iowa are invited to attend a special Christmas dinner being held in their honor. With the help of many community supporters, Single Parent Provision would like to treat single mothers to a special evening including a catered dinner, program, laughter, and love all in the great company of other single moms. Programming and activities for children and youth age 0-18 provided, so while moms enjoy this memorable, uplifting evening, their children will enjoy a fun evening complete with activities, games, and a meal of their own.

    When: 5PM, Saturday, December 14 2019

    Check-in begins at 5:00; program begins at 5:30.

    Location: Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines-833 5th Ave in Des Moines. Free parking provided exclusively for the single mothers attending- details provided upon registering.

    Registration: This event is FREE, but registration is required. To do so, visit singleparentprovision.org. Registration deadline is December 4th, however those registered by November 4th will be entered to win one of three $100 gift cards given during the program.

    For more event information or table sponsor inquiries, please contact us: www.singleparentprovision.org, info@singleparentprovision.org, 515-868-9252.

  13. ART SPECTRUMS

    12/15/2019
    Des Moines Art Center

    Art Spectrums is a free program for children and teens (ages 11-16 years old) on the autism spectrum. Art Spectrums students are introduced to the unique environments of the museum and art studio. Participants look at artwork and discuss observations. Museum artwork serves as the inspiration for a related activity in the studio. These sensory experiences can aid in the development of cognition, communication, and motor skills.

    UPCOMING ART SPECTRUMS DATES: SESSION I

    Sunday, October 20

    Sunday, November 17

    Sunday, December 15

    UPCOMING ART SPECTRUMS DATES: SESSION II

    Sunday, October 20

    Sunday, November 17

    Sunday, December 15

    Questions? Contact the Studio Education department via email or by phone at 515.271.0316.

  14. Learn & PlayGroup

    01/03/2020 @ 09:30am
    Waukee Public Library

    Learn & Playgroup is a parent/child playgroup designed for parents and their children ages birth – five. Through stories and structured activities, both you and your child will learn as you play! You will also have the opportunity to meet other parents and learn about community resources. Our fall sessions (Sept-Dec 2019) will have the theme of COLORS and our spring sessions (Jan-May 2020) will have the theme of ANIMALS. Did we mention. . . this event series is FREE?

  15. Spectrum Stories at the DSM Community Playhouse (Winter Session)

    01/04/2020 @ 09:00am
    831 42nd St, Des Moines, IA 50312

    Join us for an fun hour of drama! Come to one session or come to all! Open to any student, Spectrum Stories is a theatre class experience designed for the unique interests and needs of students on the autism spectrum. Through storytelling, creative play, social interaction and non-verbal communication, your student can work on social skills, flexible thinking, self-expression, empathy for others and self-confidence. Siblings and friends are welcome as well. Pre-registration online at www.dmplayhouse.com is encouraged but drop-ins are also welcome!

    An additional emergency contact form is available at the door specifically for those who tend to elope. Parents are asked to remain in the building during class time and may accompany their child into class if they wish.

    • Cost: $5.00 per session (payable by check or cash at the door each session)

    • When: Sat Jan 4, 2020 to Feb 29, 2020 from 9am – 10am

    • Where: Des Moines Community Playhouse, 831 42nd St, Des Moines, IA 50312

  16. Iowa Family Leadership Training Institute

    01/17/2020 @ 04:30pm

    Parents and primary caregiver of children ages 3 to 19 with special health care needs are invited to participate in a special leadership training. The cost is $100 dollars and there are scholarships available. Applications are due January 17th 2020. For more information visit chsciowa.org/iflti. For the application https://uiowa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_e8z1cOx3Y2Lnqfj

  17. Single Parents, Need More Time?

    01/17/2020 @ 06:00pm
    Fellowship Comm. Church: 225 North Ave in Norwalk

    Parents are best equipped to pour into their children when they themselves have a full tank; which is why Single Parent Provision began Break Time- a program providing single parents several hours of uninterrupted time to run errands, study, or simply have some down time. While parents take some intentional time to recharge, their kids enjoy a fun evening of activities, games, a meal, and crafts. Break Times are possible because of the generous support of extraordinary volunteers, all of whom undergo background checks and are well equipped and enthusiastic about engaging with the children who attend.

    Registration is required for this free program and happens at singleparentprovision.org. for more information, please visit the website or call 515-868-9252.

    Break Time starts at 6PM and ends at 9PM.

  18. Infant Massage Certification Training

    01/20/2020
    Drake University: Occupational Therapy Department: 3003 Forest Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50311

    About the Training

    This program presented by Infant Massage USAbrings research into practice. It is the only infant massage program in the US that is recognized by health and child development experts as the highest quality program of its kind (Underdown & Barlow 2011).

    Certified Educators of Infant Massage (CEIM), help parents use nurturing touch to feel closer to their babies, reduce their gas and fussing, help them become healthier, happier and help parents become more confident. Teaching parents infant massage is a great way to help them recognize and understand their babies’ cues and cycles, reduce parental depression, help babies learn, improve sleep patterns, and increase resistance to illness. Infant Massage is an easy, fun tool to bring to families in their homes or community that will reinforce the work being done to increase parental sensitivity and resilience.

    Certification Process

    This four day training, followed by a take home exam and practicum, leads to becoming a Certified Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM).

    The program is approved to provide continuing education for; Massage Therapist, OT’s, Nurses, PT’s, Social Workers, and Lactation Consultants. Our training is also recognized by DONA, CAPPA, the Child Life Council and holds an Infant Mental Health Endorsement.

    Please visit, www.infantmassageusa.org for complete details.

    Core Curriculum

    The course core curriculum is an agreed upon structure and mandated by Infant Massage USA Trainers. The purpose is to provide a standard of education and unity within the International Association.

    The 15 core curriculum points are:

    -History of Infant Massage and Infant Massage USA

    -Demonstration of strokes and gentle activities

    -Three day practicum class with parents and babies

    -Teaching the benefits of Infant Massage

    -Infant crying

    -Infant behavioral states, cues and reflexes

    -Bonding and attachment

    -Self awareness of emotional elements and support

    -Communication skills

    -Group facilitation skills

    -The growing child

    -Special situations and adaptations

    -Touch and massage research

    -Public relations and marketing

    -Teaching skills

    Registration Fee - $650 ($585, for all Drake University students, staff and community partners, or teams of 3 or more, registering from the same agency).

    Price includes: 4-day training, all books and training materials, exam review and certification, plus a one year membership with Infant Massage USA.

    To register:

    Send contact information and a short essay (one paragraph) explaining, “Why you would like to become a CEIM?” to:

    donna.anderson@infantmassageusa.org

    For more information, contact Donna at:

    Phone (715)-459-1159 donna.anderson@infantmassageusa.org

  19. Infant Massage Class for Parents and Babies

    01/23/2020 @ 11:00am
    Drake University: Occupational Therapy Department: 3003 Forest Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311

    Learn to nurture your baby with Infant Massage.

    Benefits:

    -Bonding- enhances communication as it encourages positive interaction.

    -Relief-from stress and for baby discomforts of teething, congestion, and gas.

    -Relaxation-helps baby sleep deeper and longer.

    -Empowers-helps parents feel more competent and confident in their parenting role.

    Date: January 21, 22, 23, 2020

    Time: 11:00 AM-12:00 PM

    Location: Infant Massage USA-Educator Training. Drake University-Occupational Therapy Department: 3003 Forest Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311

    Cost: Free.

    For more information and to register, Please contact Kelsey Finn at, Kelsey.finn@drake.edu.

    Parents/primary caregivers with their infants (age 8 weeks- pre crawling) are welcome to join us for, one, two, or all three sessions. You will receive illustrated descriptions of the infant massage processes and ideas for continuing nurturing touch as your children grow.

    Class is based on the work of Vimala McClure, founder of the International Association of Infant Massage and author of Infant Massage; A Handbook for loving Parents.

    Infant Massage... Communicating Love through touch.

  20. FREE Thursday Family Activity at the Center for Disabilities and Development

    01/30/2020 @ 05:00pm
    The Center for Disabilities and Development 100 Hawkins Dr. Iowa City IA 52242

    Every Thursday of the month, the Center for Disabilities and Developmenthosts a FREE family activity! Please join us from 5-7pm to participate. These events are open to the public.

    1st Thursday: Game Day

    2nd Thursday Arts and Craft Day

    3rd Thursday Lego Day

    4th Thursday Special Event

    5th Thursday Free Activity Day

    For questions, please contact Mitchell Defauw at mitchell-defauw@uiowa.edu or 319-356-1315.

  21. Learn & PlayGroup

    02/07/2020 @ 09:30am
    Waukee Public Library

    Learn & Playgroup is a parent/child playgroup designed for parents and their children ages birth – five. Through stories and structured activities, both you and your child will learn as you play! You will also have the opportunity to meet other parents and learn about community resources. Our fall sessions (Sept-Dec 2019) will have the theme of COLORS and our spring sessions (Jan-May 2020) will have the theme of ANIMALS. Did we mention. . . this event series is FREE?

  22. Family Fun Nights

    02/21/2020 @ 05:00pm
    Pioneer Columbus Community Recreation Center: 2100 SE Fifth St

    Family Fun Night occurs every third Friday of the month November - February and great for the entire family. It cost $1 for adults aged 18-59 and is free for all other ages.

    November 15th-There will be three clowns making balloons animals, face painting, open gym and imagination toys.

    December 20th-Make and Take

    January 17th-Game Night, you will have the opportunity to win a free game or puzzle

    February 28th-Experiments

    For more information call: 515-248-6316

  23. Learn & PlayGroup

    03/06/2020 @ 09:30am
    Waukee Public Library

    Learn & Playgroup is a parent/child playgroup designed for parents and their children ages birth – five. Through stories and structured activities, both you and your child will learn as you play! You will also have the opportunity to meet other parents and learn about community resources. Our fall sessions (Sept-Dec 2019) will have the theme of COLORS and our spring sessions (Jan-May 2020) will have the theme of ANIMALS. Did we mention. . . this event series is FREE?

  24. Spectrum Stories at the DSM Community Playhouse (Spring Session)

    03/28/2020 @ 09:00am
    831 42nd St, Des Moines, IA 50312

    Join us for an fun hour of drama! Come to one session or come to all! Open to any student, Spectrum Stories is a theatre class experience designed for the unique interests and needs of students on the autism spectrum. Through storytelling, creative play, social interaction and non-verbal communication, your student can work on social skills, flexible thinking, self-expression, empathy for others and self-confidence. Siblings and friends are welcome as well. Pre-registration online at www.dmplayhouse.com is encouraged but drop-ins are also welcome!

    An additional emergency contact form is available at the door specifically for those who tend to elope. Parents are asked to remain in the building during class time and may accompany their child into class if they wish.

    • Cost: $5.00 per session (payable by check or cash at the door each session)

    • When: Sat March 28, 2020 to April 25, 2020 from 9am – 10am

    • Where: Des Moines Community Playhouse, 831 42nd St, Des Moines, IA 50312

  25. Learn & PlayGroup

    04/03/2020 @ 09:30am
    Waukee Public Library

    Learn & Playgroup is a parent/child playgroup designed for parents and their children ages birth – five. Through stories and structured activities, both you and your child will learn as you play! You will also have the opportunity to meet other parents and learn about community resources. Our fall sessions (Sept-Dec 2019) will have the theme of COLORS and our spring sessions (Jan-May 2020) will have the theme of ANIMALS. Did we mention. . . this event series is FREE?

  26. Learn & PlayGroup

    05/01/2020 @ 09:30am
    Waukee Public Library

    Learn & Playgroup is a parent/child playgroup designed for parents and their children ages birth – five. Through stories and structured activities, both you and your child will learn as you play! You will also have the opportunity to meet other parents and learn about community resources. Our fall sessions (Sept-Dec 2019) will have the theme of COLORS and our spring sessions (Jan-May 2020) will have the theme of ANIMALS. Did we mention. . . this event series is FREE?

  27. Sensory-Friendly Hours

    05/02/2020 @ 08:30am
    Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines

    Sensory-Friendly Hours provide a quieter, less crowded SCI experience for families with children on the autism spectrum.

    The Science Center of Iowa is an exciting place, bustling with sights and sounds... but one Saturday morning each month, we provide a quieter, less crowded visit for Sensory-Friendly Hours!

    Families with children on the autism spectrum or children with sensory processing disorders will enjoy exploring the Science Center of Iowa with the help of Sensory Guide signage, which indicates audio, visual and activity stimuli.

    Sensory-Friendly Hours are the first Saturday of the month from 8:30–10:00 am, October through May. Admission is free, and no advance tickets are required. Simply check in at the Box Office when you arrive!