Angelica Lara was first introduced to RSK when her oldest son Andres was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at just a year and a half. At the time, she was nine months pregnant with her second son Diego. Two years later, her third son Alejandro was born. Now all three boys are teens with diagnoses for which Angelica uses her training and expertise as a family support specialist to help them learn to be effective self-advocates.
Although much more personal, it’s very similar to what Angelica has been doing for nearly eight years assisting families since she began working for RSK—she helps them build collaborative teams and develop and strengthen their self-advocacy skills.
Angelica’s role at RSK shifted somewhat a few years ago when she joined the Positive Family Coaching Team at RSK. Through the PFC program, families receiving behavioral health services through some AHCCCS plans receive enhanced support including education, systems navigation, and strategies for positive behavior support.
When she works with families, Angelica said that she likes to think of her approach as similar to that of Glinda, the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz. “I don’t tell people what they should do. I try to provide the best guidance and information I can so that they can find their own way. Families always have the power; they just have to learn it for themselves.”
To better serve families, Angelica is continuing her education. After she completes her associate’s degree next spring, she plans to continue at ASU to pursue her bachelor’s in social work.
Things may have changed since Angelica Lara first started working at Raising Special Kids almost eight years ago but one of them is not her optimistic, diligent and creative approach to helping families – including her own.