2 Year Anniversary of Special Needs Family Hour

2 Year Anniversary of Special Needs Family HourThis Sunday is Mother’s Day and we have a lot to celebrate. First and foremost we want to celebrate all the moms, dads, teachers, and caregivers who day in and day out support kids with special needs. Raising children with special needs is rewarding but also comes with its own unique challenges. Taking a day to recognize the sacrifice and commitment that goes into taking care of these very special people is important. So if you are supporting a special needs family give yourself a pat on the back, you are doing a great job. If you know someone who is a caregiver for someone with special needs please encourage them and remind them that what they are doing makes a difference.

Julie Ames is proud to be recognized for Excellence in Media at the Mayor’s Alliance Awards Luncheon for People with Disabilities

This Sunday also marks the 2 year anniversary of Special Needs Family Hour Radio Show. Our first show aired on May 10th, Mother’s Day of 2015. It is a weekly show heard every Sunday afternoon 1-2 pm and Saturday 4-5 pm on AM 860 “The Answer”. Our station reaches seven counties with a potential listening audience of 3.2 million people. Our goal is to help and inspire those parents and caregivers who are caring for special people. On the show we cover all things related to special needs to include medical, educational and legal issues. Through these 2 years we have created fifty unique shows featuring advocates, authors, officers, Miss America, Ms. Wheel Chair America, and even a therapy dog. Julie Ames was recognized for Excellence in Media at the Mayor’s Alliance Awards Luncheon for People with Disabilities and officially achieved 501c3 status. We are proud to have achieved these milestones and excited to continue to serve the special needs community by providing the resources and answers that they need to be successful.

If this is your first time visiting this site we are glad you are here! Check out some of our amazing programs listed below. If you are a long time listener thanks for your support and feel free to use this list to listen to your favorites again.

List of Shows:

  1. Julie’s Story/Child Find & Early Childhood Council
  2. Julie’s Story/ Early Steps at USF
  3. Julie’s Story/ Parent Liaison Project
  4.  Individual Education Plan (IEP) for Special Needs Child/Organizational tips
  5.  Guardianship Part 1, Attorney Jay Hemness
  6.  Guardianship Part 2, Pepin Academies Special Needs Nurse
  7.  Special Needs Ministries, One Roof Initiative, Young Life Capernaum
  8. Crisis Center of Tampa Bay Part 1
  9. Artistas Café Training & Employment Program
  10. Crisis Center of Tampa Bay Part 2 – Crises Counselor Answering listeners questions.
  11. Autism Friendly Business Initiative with the Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD) at USF with Dr. Karen Berkman and The Florida Aquarium, as well as The Learning Academy at USF
  12.  Buddy Baseball – a non-competitive recreational league for individuals with special needs.
  13.  Rotary Camp Florida – a camping facility for children and adults with disabilities.
  14.  Special Olympics Florida Healthy Community Tampa Bay & Organizing Your Medical Files
  15. “Working with Your Local School to Get the Help Your Child Needs” by Hillsborough County Schools, Exceptional Student
  16.  Dr. Nicole Johnson (Miss America)Executive Director/ Founder Bringing Science Home to Students with Diabetes
  17.  Transition to Adulthood for Individuals with Development Disabilities.
  18. Vocational Rehabilitation – School to Work Transition Program with Milton Moss
  19. Ms. Wheelchair America 2014, Jennifer Lynn Adams
  20. Shriner’s Hospital – Tampa with Jamie Lynn Santillo
  21. The Pepin Academies with Dr. Craig Butz and Celeste Kellar
  22. Pepin Transitional Job Training Program with Dr. Butz / Pepin Nurse Diane McCurdy
  23. Lawyer’s Autism Awareness Foundation (known for “Sensory Friendly Santa” event for children w/autism) with Luis E. Viera.
  24. Ava’s Law with Anna Bullard – Insurance Coverage for Autism/ Tips on medical record organization!
  25. Social Security Disability Benefits and Supplemental Security Income with Liz Montefu of Montefu Consulting
  26. Success 4 Kids & Families – Services for kids w/problems at school, home, or the law.
  27.  USF’s Parent Child Interaction Therapy and Hot Docs Program – Dr. Kathi Armstrong & Dr. Carrie Adams
  28.  A Special Thanksgiving Message with the award winning author of “I Choose”, Suzin Carr
  29. Benefits of Drama Therapy with Loretta Gallo-Lopez, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor
  30. Equine-Assisted Therapies with Dr. Edie Dopkling, Executive Director of Quantum Leap Farms
  31.  Jack Kosik’s Villages at Noah’s Landing– $15 Million Dollar community for those w/ intellectual disabilities completed 2016.
  32. A Special Christmas Message with the author of Sweetie Pie/ Tips for Holiday Travel with individuals with Special Needs.
  33. Healthy Transitions Program for those 16 to 25 years experiencing Mental Health Challenges.
  34.  Julie Ames with Tips on Raising Children with Special Needs
  35.  Pharmacist Sally DePalma Discusses Tips on Working with Your Family Pharmacist.
  36. MacDonald’s Training Center has Supported Living, Employment, and Community Living.
  37. Discuss Mary Lee’s House, a State of the Art Child Protection and Child Advocacy Center
  38.  Hart’s Travel Trainer Program for Those with Special Needs Who Desire to Ride the Bus Independently.
  39. Hillsborough County’s Public School Training Programs for Adults with Disabilities 18 yrs of age and older w/Keensha Parham
  40. Discuss “Finding Mathew” with Author Donna Kirk. It’s a Story of Hope and Encouragement.
  41. Emma Hemness Attorney at Law Discusses Long Term Care, SSI, Trusts, and ABLE Accounts.
  42. The Founders of Speech and Language Discuss Speech & Language Therapy
  43. Emmy Award Nominated Reality Show “Born This Way” follows seven young adults with Down Syndrome – Interview with Sean’s mother Sandra McElwee
  44. Keeping Your Child Safe-Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division Internet Predator Unit with Detective Heaverin
  45. Quinn Bradlee’s Founder of Friends of Quinn – online Community of those w/Learning Disabilities
  46. Interview with Tahni Cullen about “Josiah’s Fire “
  47. Ric Edelman, NY Times Best Selling Author, discuses planning for your retirement and for your child with special needs.
  48. Chronic-Complex Clinic For Children At St Joseph’s Children’s Hospital
  49. Healthy Sexuality for Adolescents & Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities
  50. Update on Rotary Camp Florida – a camping facility for children and adults with special needs.

Special Needs Family Hour Granted 501(c)(3) Non-Profit status

Official 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Status


Special Needs Family Hour is proud to announce that we have been approved for 501(c)(3) non-profit status. Our mission has always been dedicated to helping special needs families and educate the public and this non-profit status makes it easier for our donors and sponsors to give with confidence knowing that their gifts and support are tax deductible. Contributions donated to Special Needs Family Hour are fully tax-deductible retroactive to the founding of the organization. Special Needs Family Hour is also now eligible to apply for government and foundation grants, which will further broaden its access to resources and strengthen its ability to serve families with special needs in the Tampa Bay area.

New Opportunities to Continue Our Mission

We’ve worked hard over the last year and a half to provide all the proper documentation and set it up properly. We are excited that our non-profit status is now official. Obtaining 501(c)(3) status is a major milestone for Special Needs Family Hour. This opens many doors for us to expand fundraising activities and fully realize our goal as a charitable organization to provide a place where special needs families can find the answers they need to be successful.

Special Needs Family hour has produced radio shows and podcast broadcasts that educate listeners on resources and development opportunities available to special needs families. Guests on the show include attorneys, authors, advocates, job placement specialists, educators, and more. Being a non-profit helps us to continue to provide these valuable shows to our listeners.


How you can Help:

Thanks for your continued support as listeners, donors, and sponsors. Your continued patronage is what makes it possible to continue to provide educational material for Tampa and beyond to special needs families. 100% of donations received will go toward providing quality programming and helping other special needs families in Florida.

The IRS letter granting Special Needs Family Hour its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status is available upon request. Contact us to see how to donate or sponsor Special Needs Family Hour.

Mother of special-needs kids takes to airwaves

Excited to have the first article about our show launch in the Carrollwood news of the Tampa Tribune. Read the full article here.

special-needs mom Carrollwood

Julie Ames — seen here with her husband, Jeff, and their daughters, from left, Anna, Christina and Maria during a trip to Stone Mountain — will host “The Special Needs Family Hour,” a weekly Sunday program on radio station AM 860. It will be broadcast from 1 to 2 p.m. beginning May 10. JULIE AMES

Like most moms, Julie Ames is willing to do whatever it takes for the good of her children.

But unlike the majority of mothers, two of her three daughters have autism coupled with intellectual disabilities.

“Her girls have multiple needs, so she’s really had to navigate the systems as an advocate for her girls,” said Diane McCurly, a nurse at Pepin Academy in Tampa where Ames’ two elder daughters — Maria, 19, and Christina, 17 — were once students.

McCurly added that while unrelenting in her quest to learn about and access all available resources for her special-needs children, Ames’ demeanor is always one of kindness and patience in dealing with every person she encounters.

Ames also is a master at researching new findings and techniques that relate to and could be beneficial for her girls, said longtime friend Karen Namyak.

“Julie is a pretty amazing person to deal with all the things she’s been through and her attitude is tremendous,” Namyak said. “The girls couldn’t ask for a better mother.”

It comes as no surprise to either woman that Ames plans to host “The Special Needs Family Hour,” a weekly program on radio station AM 860 from 1 to 2 p.m. every Sunday, beginning May 10.

“Our goal is to help and inspire those parents and caregivers who are caring for special people,” Ames said. “On the show, I will cover all things related to special needs to include medical, educational and legal issues.”

Dr. Kathi Armstrong, director of pediatric psychology at the University of South Florida, knows the Ames family well. She’s treated Maria and Christina, who’ve both had myriad challenges, including the inability to eat solid food as small children and disturbing behaviors stemming from anxiety issues.

“Julie has such a positive and optimistic approach to the whole thing, and she also has developed quite a network of people who’ve dealt with children with disabilities,” Armstrong said.

Ames is a Georgia Tech graduate and had a successful career as an industrial engineer prior to starting her family. Her plans to get back into the workforce were foiled due to the full-time caregiving responsibilities of raising Maria and Christina, who now attend Focus Academy in Temple Terrace. Ames’ 14-year-old daughter, Anna, attends nearby Corpus Christi Catholic School.

Log on to www.specialneedsfamilyhour.comto learn more about the program or email Julie Ames at julie@specialneedsfamilyhour.com.

Special Correspondent
Published: April 29, 2015