Community Corner

Here are just a few resources for parents of children with special needs
Local Assistance

IMG_8377Partnership for Children of Cumberland County: The Partnership for Children (PFC) of Cumberland County is a nonprofit organization with a successful record of improving school readiness and success for children —whether through raising childcare quality, strengthening families, and building strong communities.

Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center: ECAC is a private non-profit parent organization committed to improving the lives and education of ALL children through a special emphasis on children with disabilities.
ECAC affirms the right of all individuals, from all backgrounds and cultures, with or without disabilities, to an appropriate education and other needed services. They seek to make that right a reality by providing information, education, outreach, and support to and for families with children across the state of North Carolina.

Exceptional Children’s Services: The mission of special education in Cumberland County Schools is to provide high quality educational services to students with disabilities by implementing Individualized Education Programs (IEP), utilizing research and standards-based interventions, instruction, and assessments in the least restrictive environment with the goal of preparing students to become productive, responsible members of their community.

Autism Society of North Carolina: The Autism Society of North Carolina’s mission is to provide support and promote opportunities that enhance the lives of individuals within the autism spectrum and their families.

Autism Society of Cumberland County: The Autism Society of Cumberland County is a 501(c)(3) non-profit incorporated organization for families of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). An affiliate of the Autism Society of North Carolina, they provide family support through a wide array of services

Cumberland First In Family:  Cumberland First in Family provides family support to people in Cumberland County who have Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries. Their Mission is to help people with disabilities and their families to believe in their dreams, achieve their goals, and give back to others. They assist children and adults to be more involved and contributing members of their communities by helping them:  meet current goals and plan for the future, acquire needed goods and services and find opportunities to give back to others.

Hope-thur-Horses—Equine Assisted Learning:  Hope-thur-Horses helps everyone to feel valued, effective and included.  EAL helps participants to better understand themselves and others by engaging in activities with horses. EAL combines their knowledge of equine behavior with their understanding of human behavior, organizational and managerial behavior, and adult learning theories. Including horses as an integral part of learning activities is an especially powerful method of team building, problem solving, leadership development, communication enhancement, relationship building, and self-authenticity.

Cumberland COLORS:  COLORS stands for Children’s Organization Linking Opportunities, Resources, and Support. COLORS facilities access to a comprehensive system of early intervention service for children birth to five. COLORS is a group of agencies and parents working together to help families who may have concerns about their young child’s development.  COLORS can help families find and access available services in Cumberland County.

TEACCH Autism Program:  The University of North Carolina TEACCH Autism Program’s mission is to create and cultivate the development of exemplary community-based services, training programs, and research to enhance the quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder across the lifespan.  Their vision is to be the global leader in developing, cultivating and disseminating community-based services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families.

SPARK:  SPARK is a landmark autism research project—aims to make important progress possible. SPARK stands for ‘Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge,’ and the mission is simple: we want to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives.  As autism is a spectrum, researchers need many people with autism to participate in all types of research. Until now, only a small number of individuals and families affected by autism have ever participated in research. SPARK wants to invite the entire autism community to dramatically expand its participation. SPARK will provide researchers with medical and genetic information from tens of thousands of individuals and families affected by autism. These data will power important new research that aims to advance the understanding of autism and provide meaningful information and resources to participants.

Mimi’s Love for Challenged Children:  Mimi’s provide respite services for special needs children.  She embraces families with children who have challenges.  She empowers with resources and training to better advocate for the children in your lives. She provides assistance in but not limited to: IEP’s, 504’s, diapers, pullups, bed pads, PediSure, Boost, care plan notebooks, and equipment.  

Ft. Bragg Exceptional Family Member Program:  EFMP provides comprehensive support to Family members with special needs. EFMP takes an all-inclusive approach to coordinate military and civilian community, educational, medical, housing, and personnel services to help Soldiers and their Families with special needs. An Exceptional Family Member is a Family member with any physical, emotional, developmental, or intellectual disorder that requires special treatment, therapy, education, training, or counseling, and meets the eligibility criteria.

Autism Speaks:  Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.  Autism Speaks enhances lives today and is accelerating a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow.

Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development:  The Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development is dedicated to helping each individual with autism and related developmental disabilities reach his or her full potential, thereby allowing society to benefit from the talents and diversity which persons with autism and other developmental disabilities offer. We are a group of dedicated clinicians and scientists who work in partnership with people with autism and related disabilities, families, and the broader community to realize this goal.

May Institute:  The May Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder, based in Jacksonville, N.C., offers comprehensive behavioral services to children with ASD and their families, private agencies, and public schools in Jacksonville, Wilmington, and surrounding areas. The Center also provides services to military families stationed in Camp Lejeune, and the New River catchment area. Working closely with the families we serve, our behavior specialists use developmentally appropriate practices based on applied behavior analysis (ABA), the methodology universally recognized as critical for teaching children with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other behavioral or developmental disabilities. Our state-of-the-art programming addresses all areas of a child’s development including language, peer interactions, and behavior.

The Arc of North Carolina:  The Arc of North Carolina is committed to securing for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to choose and realize their goals of where and how they learn, live, work and play.  The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.  The Arc’s position statements address critical issues related to human and civil rights, treatment, and services and programs for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities:  The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities is a comprehensive program for services, research, and training relevant to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The Carolina Institute provides a continuum of clinical services from complex, interdisciplinary evaluations on-site to more limited and selected clinical services and training in all 100 counties in North Carolina. The Institute brings together state-of-the-art research and clinical practice to ensure the best possible care for citizens of North Carolina.  

Disability Rights of North Carolina:  Disability Rights NC deals with cases involving discrimination or violation of the rights of people with disabilities.  They provide advocacy and legal services at no charge to people with disabilities throughout North Carolina. Disability Rights NC values the dignity of ALL people and their freedom to control their own lives. They work for justice, upholding the fundamental rights of people with disabilities to live free from harm in the communities of their choice with the opportunity to participate fully and equally in society.

Family Support Network:  FSN provides support to families with children who have special needs and the service providers who work with them.  The Family Support Network™ of North Carolina is comprised of 11 affiliated FSN regional affiliates and the FSN University Office.  FSN affiliates provide parent-to-parent support, information and referral, support groups, workshops, and social activities for families with children (birth – age 22) who have disabilities or special needs and their service providers statewide.  The FSN University Office supports Affiliates with funding, technical assistance, program development and evaluation, and statewide information and referral.

Franklin Porter Graham Child Development Institute:  The mission of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) is to enhance the lives of children and families through interdisciplinary research, technical assistance, professional development, and implementation science. FPG generates knowledge, informs policies, and supports practices to promote positive developmental and educational outcomes for children of all backgrounds and abilities from the earliest years.

North Carolina Infant Toddler Programs:  The North Carolina Early Intervention Branch (NCEI) is a part of the N.C. Division of Public Health. It is the lead agency for the N.C. Infant-Toddler Program (ITP). The Infant-Toddler Program provides supports and services for families and their children, birth to three who have special needs. Research shows that this time period is critical. It offers a window of opportunity to make a positive difference in how a child develops and learns. Sixteen Children’s Developmental Services Agencies (CDSAs) across North Carolina work with local service providers to help families help their children succeed.  Their mission is to provide supports and services to families and children to help them be successful in their homes and communities, by using every-day learning opportunities.  We will respect the diversity of families and use evidence-based practices to guide our work.

Therapy Playground:  Therapy Playground’s mission is to provide speech, occupational, physical, feeding, and play-based therapy. They are committed to offering individualized and comprehensive services in a family and patient friendly environment. Their team-oriented staff strives to maintain professional and ethical practices to ensure quality services.

Theraplay, LLC:  Theraplay provides client-centered and family-centered pediatric therapy services in a spirit of excellence with the overall focus on seeing children reach their full potential. Their goal is to Teach-Play-Inspire.  They provide pediatric speech, occupational and developmental therapy in Lee, Harnett, Moore & surrounding counties in N.C.


National Assistance

IMG_8356Cerebral Palsy Guide:  A resource that can help those affected by Cerebral Palsy and other developmental disabilities. This page outlines several comorbidities that children with cerebral palsy might face.

Early Intervention Success:  Early intervention can be crucial for helping to spur the development of young children and can be incredibly beneficial for finding additional resources for children as they begin school. This is why the team at recently created a comprehensive guide to the Success Rate of Early Intervention to help parents and educators  identify helpful resources to spur development.

Their Success Rate of Early Intervention guide offers up-to-date information in a number of areas, including:

  • How to become an early intervention specialist
  • An outline of the types of early intervention services
  • The short & long-term benefits of early intervention

Parent to Parent: This group matches parents with a buddy parent who has a child with the same disability, allowing each parent or family to have a contact to share information with and receive emotional support from. By matching parents one-on-one with another mom or dad going through the same issues, the parents of children with special needs can receive the emotional support they need, all while creating a new friendship.

National Youth Leadership: Led by young citizens, the National Youth Leadership Network works to build strength and “break isolation”among people with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 28.

The Federation for Children with Special Needs: The FCSN provides information, support and assistance to parents of children with disabilities, their professional partners and their communities.

The Autism Exchange: The mission of the Autism Exchange (AEX) is to save autism caregivers time and money every day. The AEX team developed a very unique software system that organizes, standardizes, and synchronizes all information which makes it easy to search and saves caregivers time. The AEX is an invaluable resource for any parent taking care of a child with Autism.

ACT Today:  ACT Today stands for Autism Care and Treatment Today! ACT Today! is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to raise awareness and provide treatment services and support to families to help their children with autism achieve their full potential. Our goal is to introduce and help facilitate early and on-going treatment by providing the necessary resources (including referrals, funding and guidance) to individuals with autism and their families. Studies demonstrate that early and intense intervention is important when treating individuals with autism, yet sadly very few of the effective treatments are covered by medical insurance and families are often delegated to piece together a treatment program for their child via multiple funding sources. Often, the child with autism must go without vital interventions due to financial restraints. ACT Today strives to provide necessary services so that each child with autism can reach his or her highest potential.

Parents Wish List – Is My Child Autistic?  “Recognize and deal with autism in babies & toddlers. Every “parent” or “about-to-be-parent” wishes nothing but what’s best for their child! And it might devastate you to know that your child suffers from autismHowever, you should not despair and shouldn’t let this condition defeat all your hopes and future plans for your child. In this article, we will walk you through each and everything you need to know about autism and deal with it.”