As a parent of a child with special needs, it is important to have access to community resources that provide support to your family. It can be empowering to have emotional support and resources that you know you can rely on. There are many systems in place at the national, state, and local levels to assist families of children with special needs. Here are some examples of the resources and support available for preschoolers with special needs.
PARENT TRAINING AND INFORMATION CENTERS
As a parent of a child with special needs, you are your child’s first and most important advocate. To be an effective advocate though you will need information on your child’s particular special needs, early interventions, school services, transportation, and more. In each state there are parent training and information centers just for this purpose. You can find a list of parent training and information centers by state through the Center for Parent Information and Resources.
EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES
In each state there are services for even the littlest ones with special needs. These services begin at birth and typically go until the child turns three years old, when they would transition to preschool special education services. Through these services your child will receive the most appropriate interventions for their specific needs. These services may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or social therapy. A list of early intervention services information by state can be found through the CDC.
PARENT TO PARENT
It really does take a village. When you are raising a child with special needs, this phrase holds even greater importance. As important as it is for you to advocate for your child and find them resources, it is just as important for you to have support. Parent to parent is an organization that matches parents with experienced support parents that provide emotional support for families of children with special healthcare needs.
BEST BUDDIES FRIENDSHIP PROGRAMS
Best buddies is an organization that values the importance of lasting friendships and inclusive environments in schools. When your child participates in the Best Buddies program they will form meaningful connections and gain self confidence while participating in activities with their peers.
For many families, there are significant medical bills involved in taking care of children with special needs. Private health insurance unfortunately only provides limited coverage for services that are essential to children with special needs. This is why Medicaid is such an important resource to these families. Medicaid helps cover a variety of healthcare services that help children with special medical needs stay at home with their families. Here is a list of services covered by Medicaid.
- Doctor visits
- Behavioral health services
- Hearing and vision care
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech and language therapy
- Medical equipment and supplies
- Long-term care services
- Non-emergency medical transportation
Having a supportive community is essential when raising children, and especially when your child has special needs. Finding the resources that will help you find the services that will most benefit your child and that will help you be a strong advocate for your preschooler is the best way to set your child, and your family, up for success.