Having a child is a significant undertaking, and that can be doubly true for parents of children with special needs. Whether it is education, family strategies, health care or conditions in the home, everything is different. There isn’t an instruction manual. Here are some resources from people who’ve helped other families overcome those challenges.
Minnesota Department of Health: Minnesota Children & Youth With Special Health Needs (MCSHN)
The MDH’s website offers a lot of collected information for parents. They offer a manual and training seminar on finding funding for your child’s health care. They also explain some of those resources, like Medical Assistance and Supplemental Security Income.
The effects of some developmental problems can be mitigated with early childhood intervention, and Help Me Grow helps with that.
It’s also important to have a plan for an emergency or disaster, where first responders may not know your child’s medical history. It may be harder for them to find help or even know there is an emergency. A deaf child won’t hear a fire alarm, for example.
Those are just a few of the resources on the MDH’s website. People can also call them for help at 651.201.3650 or 1.800.728.5420.
Minnesota Department of Education: Special Education
Students who need special help at school need to get an Individual Education Plan, or IEP. There is a good explanation of what an IEP is on the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities’ website. Information and forms can be found on the Minnesota Department of Human Service’s website.
While most educators want to help any way they can, unfortunately parents sometimes face opposition from school administrators when trying to get the accommodations and services their child needs. They may be told that the child doesn’t need those services, that getting them can isolate the child or even that the doctor’s diagnosis is wrong. Fortunately, the MDE offers Minnesota Special Education Mediation Services.
Parents of children with special needs face unique challenges inside the home, too. HealthyChildren.org is backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which claims 60,000 members. They have advice on any health condition parents are likely to face , from autism and ADHD to colds and the flu.
Minnesota Parents Know
Minnesota Parents Know is run by the Minnesota Department of Education. Here are some important links:
Parents can also call the free Parent Warmline, sponsored by Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, at 612.813.6336 or 1.866.916.4316.
Need more information?
The Child & Family WebGuide is like a special search engine that only shows you websites they say “that have the highest quality child development research and that are parent-friendly.” The site is recommended on the Minnesota Department of Education’s website.
– By Randon Brown