Michelle is Mom to Joshua, a 10 year-old boy who was diagnosed at the age of three weeks with 1p36 deletion syndrome. With her course of life set toward another direction with his diagnosis, Michelle has become an advocate for children with special needs, self-taught in the world of IEP’s and has a long-term desire to open a non-profit school for children with special needs.
Guest Blogger: Michelle Finn
We currently live in North Carolina where state services are not up-to-par for children with special needs. I have had several people ask me where their children can get help for a myriad of special needs issues, and although I am no expert, I certainly am trying to be.
First, I would like to offer a few resources that may help you in your quest for special need services:
- 2012 State Medicaid Rankings
- Top Pediatric Hospital Rankings by Specialty
- Court System Phone Numbers
Secondly, when seeking the necessary services for your child, there are many questions you need to ask yourself prior to making any decisions:
- Are you seeking public or private school for your child?
- Will you be able to receive affordable childcare in the area where you reside?
- What do you ultimately want to achieve for your child?
- How do therapy centers compare with each other?
- What are you looking for in a pediatrician?
- Are there any large hospitals in the area and/or training hospitals?
- Are the physicians you work with familiar with your child’s disability?
If you are considering moving (such as we are due to the difficulties we face in North Carolina), here are some questions to consider:
- Are there jobs in the new area?
- Is the new area affordable to live?
- Are there special needs activities in the area? (baseball, special equipped parks, swimming classes, hippotherapy, etc.)?
- Do you have a support system, or know anyone in the area that is willing to help during times of need?
- Are there parent support sites in the area you are looking to move to?
Moving is a significant life change. You must make sure it is the right decision for the entire family. We have moved several times and we still have not been satisfied with the help that is required for our son. Unfortunately, the school system we work with has not met my son’s needs, to the point I have been reticent to send him to school. I will save that discussion for another post.
I must admit we made our last move to North Carolina in haste. Although I did check the area, the funding for special needs services literally fell apart weeks before we moved. Since I am unable to work and due to the lack of affordable childcare facilities, we have been stuck living in a county that is not designed for children like Josh.
Every child and family has different needs, and I highly recommend making sure the area has what is best for your family.
Please feel free to comment and ask questions. If I haven’t addressed something in this article, I will be willing to try and find you an answer.