• Getting Started

    Parents often feel overwhelmed when they first hear their child has special health care needs. There are so many questions and knowing where to begin is confusing. The Special Needs Resource Directory can help by connecting you to the information and support you need at each stage along the way.

  • Organize your information so it is easy to share with family, healthcare providers and teachers. Download or obtain a Parent Notebook and organize important medical records from hospitals, pediatricians and specialists in one place. Use the All About Me Form to communicate your child's likes and dislikes as well as suggestions to put your child at ease. Find these resources and other useful medical forms to help you organize and inform in the Record Keeping and Forms section.
    The Health Insurance and Financial Assistance sections will link you to programs to help pay for the specialized care and equipment your child needs. You may qualify for a Medicaid waiver to help with expenses. The Assistive Technology, Home Care and Durable Medical Equipment sections provide additional funding options. The Estate and Future Planning section will let you know how to protect your child's eligibility for government assistance programs through a special needs trust. Professionals can use the Social Assessment form to help families obtain the resources they will need.
    The more you understand, the more confident you will feel in seeking the supports you need from your healthcare providers, family and community. The Condition-Specific Web Resources section will link you to local and national websites that provide an explanation of the condition and suggested resources. You should also ask your doctors and other health providers for additional websites and resources that they recommend.
    Read about educational programs and supports for your child, from birth through adulthood. The Early Intervention section will let you know about special programs for children, ages 0 through 3 years old. The Education section can tell you about the school system's responsibility to provide educational supports from preschool through adulthood, ages 3 through 21 years old. Students with disabilities have several options to continue their education in postsecondary schools and programs, including vocational schools, job training programs, transition programs, colleges and universities. Read more about these resources in the College / Vocational / Postsecondary Options and Transition to Adulthood sections.
    It is very empowering to share your questions, frustrations, tears and celebrations with those facing similar challenges. Realize that you are not alone, and that it often does take a village to raise a child. The Support and Networking section is a good place to begin.
    The Recreation and Travel section can connect you with day and overnight camps, after school activities, sports, accessible playgrounds and toys developed for special needs.
    Give yourself permission to be pampered and have time to do the things you enjoy. The Child Care section can help you find day care and respite.