“Start Here”: A Guide for Parents of Children with Special Needs


When you have a child with special needs, knowing exactly what to do at first can be daunting. The ADAPT Community Network has launched a new website called ‘Start here,’ to try to make things easier for parents and carers.

It’s all in the name. ‘Start here‘ is a launching pad to guide parents and caregivers through everything they need for their child with special needs.

“We’ve spoken with so many parents of children who have said ‘boy, I’d like some advice,'” said ADAPT CEO ED Matthew.

“We thought you knew if we put up…a website that said ‘Start here‘…at least for parents, they would be able to understand the questions they need to ask, the people they need in their life and without being specific to the New York area or part of the country,’ said Matthews, adding “generally these are the people you need, these are the questions you need to ask yourself in the early years of life.

The website is designed to be a one stop shop resource center giving advice on what to do from ‘day one’.

It includes everything from information to help educate parents about specific disorders and disabilities, to how parents should navigate those first doctor visits.

“We think parents should have a way to get knowledge right away and get to know the people in their lives that they will really need in the early years,” Matthews explained, “to be able to negotiate the various systems they are going to have to find…whether medical, educational, or whatever else they need to better help themselves and their child.

One of the other things ‘Start here’ focuses on giving parents tips on how to speak for their child.

“Parents need to learn to be their own advocate. The education system, the medical system, they’re all pretty huge, aren’t they? Matthews explained, “Children with autism can be considered all the same, children with cerebral palsy can be considered all the same, and your child is an individual. This person’s advocate should be you, the parent, or you, the caregiver, to begin with.

Matthews says the site’s goal is to continue to grow, adding more content to help children and their families.

“The world has changed for them,” Matthews said, “and we’re trying to make sure…that we give people all the information they need to take advantage of those changes so that the big picture is that every child can do part of society and not isolated and we want to start here, literally with that.

Click here to visit the ‘Start here’ website and learn more about all that parents and caregivers offer.


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