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Family connections Session 1: Charting the LifeCourse

Charting the LifeCourse is a framework to help individuals and their families develop a vision for a good life.

A graphic depicts important resources around a family.

The New England Consortium on Deafblindness is hosting a virtual learning opportunity for parents called Family Connections. The Family Connections Series consists of monthly calls on the third Wednesday of each month, and each call features a different educational topic and an open discussion for parents. If you are interested in learning more about the series, click here, and for updates and reminders about NEC events, you can subscribe to our newsletter, here.  This past week, we hosted our October Family Connections Call, where we discussed a Framework called Charting the LifeCourse. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Charting the LifeCourse?

Charting the LifeCourse is a framework that was created to help individuals and their families develop a vision for a good life by encouraging families to think about what they need to know and do and by identifying supports. While Charting the LifeCourse has many different activities and tools that can be utilized, we focused specifically on a tool called the Integrated Support Star. 

What is an Integrated Support Start and who can use it?

One of the most important (and fantastic) things about the Integrated Support Star is that it is a tool that can be used by anybody! This includes individuals with and without disabilities, family members, or professionals. The goal of the Integrated Support Star is to assist you as a parent in mapping out the current supports that your child has. With this information, you will be better able to problem solve around a specific need and create a plan. 

Is it hard to fill out? What will I need to do?

Integrated Support Stars are divided into five key sections: personal strengths and assets, relationships, technology, community based, and eligibility specific. To complete the star, all you need to do is fill in the five sections! Continue reading for more information about each of the five sections. 

A Guide to the Integrated Support Star

Strengths and Assets

The strengths and assets section is one of the most important sections of the Integrated Support Star. When filling this section in, you should be answering the following key ideas:

  • What is your child good at?
  • What do people like and admire about your child? What do you like and admire about your child?
  • What are skills that your child has or could have in the future that can help them?


Next, you are going to think about the relationships that your child has in his or her life. 

  • What kinds of relationships do they have in their life? 
  • Who does your child spend time with or do things that they enjoy with? Who do they have fun with? 
  • And Finally, who are the people that your child sees when they go out and about? Think about the people who play small roles in the lives of others. 


After you have identified the relationships that your child has in his or her life, you are going to think about technology. The current climate has truly changed the way in which technology is integrated into our lives. Technology is not only being used for school, work, or entertainment, but it is also the way we connect and interact with our family and friends. Think about the following questions when filling this section of the Integrated Support Star out. 

  • What type of technology does your child use in his or her day to day life? 
  • Remember that this can include low tech items such as fidget tools or high tech items like an ipad or computer. 
  • When you’re done filling this out, think about what you wrote. Do you feel that your child has enough access to technology in their life? Do you feel that your child needs more? These are important considerations for the future. 


  • Next we are going to talk about the community that your child participates in. Where does your child go on a daily basis? Who are the people that your child sees?
  • Are there activities or groups that they could belong to?
  • Are there resources in the community that anybody can use? (i.e. a bus system, an activity center, local park, etc.)


Finally, we are going to talk about eligibility or the programs that your child is eligible for. Before we start this section, think about the vision or idea that you have of your child’s future. Where do you see them ending up? 

  • Next, think about what social programs your child may be eligible for. Remember that these can be disability or non disability specific.
  • Finally, what supports and programs is your child currently enrolled in?

If you would like to access individualized consultation around the Integrated Support Star or another topic, please fill out our Request Form and email it to [email protected]

A child sits on the floor, sorting a variety of socks.

Creating a daily schedule for your child

A student reads a tactile schedule with the help of an adult.

Home-based routines for children with disabilities