Learn how SNSC can help you and your family.
SNSC strives to facilitate and coordinate community support for parents and families of children with special needs by providing information, education, support, social opportunities, referral, advocacy and other valuable services. Here click on the names of offerings to learn more about available programs and resources.
Click below for more information.
SNSC is usually able to offer respite care funding support to families with special needs children under the age of 21 who live in the greater Upper Valley area of Vermont and New Hampshire. Funding is limited, and SNSC does not have a staff of providers but can offer funding for some “take a break” time (about 15 hours per month, equivalent to an afternoon or evening out per week or perhaps an overnight once per month).
Interested parents should call Pam at 603-448-1268 or email her for more information or an application. Pam can talk with parents about how to find a provider if they do not already have one in mind.
The Nathan Hall Memorial Library is a lending library created as a memorial to Nathan Hall and is open to all SNSC friends and families.
When Nathan died at the age of 19 in May 1991, his parents suggested that those who wished to make a memorial gift in his name might give to the Special Needs Support Center of the Upper Valley. Thus through the generous contributions of many friends, the Nathan Hall Memorial Library was created.
The collection has expanded to over 1,000 book titles, videos and informational pamphlets and will continue to grow with your help. The library includes a wide selection of topics for parents and children learning to plan, understand and cope with the unique challenges that lay ahead.
For information on contributing to or accessing the Nathan Hall Memorial Library, please call SNSC at 603-448-6311. To search the library for a specific title, visit the online directory.
Enhanced Family Support
Our primary resource for families with a child on the autism spectrum is our Enhanced Family Support (EFS) program. This is a home visitation program designed to meet the specific needs of individual families of children between the ages of birth and 21 with some form of ASD. Our EFS program can assist families living in both the Vermont and New Hampshire areas of the Upper Valley.
What can a family expect from this service? EFS begins with the assumption that parents have the courage and strength to be wise, loving and successful care givers of and advocates for their child with ASD. It is a time-limited program, typically lasting one to three months or a total of 12 hours of contact time. The program is designed for parents or other primary caregivers who have recently received a diagnosis of ASD or who are facing a transition between service systems or school programs. Families may enroll more than once if needed. EFS is intended as a “jump start” for parents as they begin their journey of providing support and advocacy for their child on the autism spectrum or if they experience challenges due to changes at a later point. It is not meant to be a long-range or on-going service. EFS is funded by several grants and is offered at no cost to families.
EFS works directly with individual parents on a personalized review of your needs and the resources that may be available to you through public education, community care, and natural supports. Our Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) will meet initially with parents to determine specific needs and to develop a “care path,” identify resources for access, and review the Family Support Curriculum (discussed below). This plan will be summarized in a written report. The BCBA will then meet with the parents to implement the formulated plan.
The Family Support Curriculum was developed by parents for parents. It focuses on what you need to know to build your child’s program while nurturing the growth and well-being of all family members. After an initial visit, your provider will tailor a training program designed to answer your questions and meet the specific needs of your family. Topics may include:
- Core Deficits and Key Strengths in ASD
- Navigating the Social Services System
- Introduction to Best Practice
- Making Play Productive
- Building a Home Program
- Special Education and the 504 Process
- Home and Community Safety
- Best and most credible educational resources
On a limited need basis, EFS offers collaboration with school and agency behavior specialists regarding the child’s special needs. For more information about EFS or to sign up for this service, please email Philip Eller, Executive Director or call SNSC at 603-448-6311.
Other ASD supports from the ARCH Program at SNSC
If you need Educational Advocacy to help you negotiate the special education process for your child with ASD, an SNSC advocate may be arranged to assist you who could (if required) attend school meetings with you to help build a stronger bridge between special education supports and life at home.
SNSC can also refer you to one of the ASPIRE weekly Playgroups offered in conjunction with Dartmouth College for children ages 4 to 12 years.
From time to time, SNSC may also offer parent support groups for interested families who are dealing with ASD and related concerns. The agency also has some limited funding to cover full or partial reimbursement for respite care services provided by a person arranged for by the parent. (Money for respite is not always available due to funding challenges; please email Pam Blair, Programs Coordinator or call Pam at 603-448-1268 for info on the current status of this support.)
The Special Needs Support Center is pleased to offer parents Educational Advocacy as they strive to obtain the best academic and related services program to meet their child’s special needs. Our advocates are trained in special education law and state regulations in both New Hampshire and Vermont regarding IEPs (Individual Education Program) as well as 504 Plans (a section of the 504 Rehabilitation Act of 1973). We have years of successful work with parents and with all school districts throughout the Upper Valley – on both sides of the river.
Our philosophy and approach are to facilitate a positive and productive collaboration between all members of the child’s special education or 504 team that includes parents and all the school staff. The goal is a positive and effective relationship where all members work together in the best educational interests of the child. Our firm belief is that an educational advocate (except in very rare situations) is not an adversary to the school. A SNSC advocate is seen by most schools as a welcome addition to the IEP/504 that is working together to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for your child.
SNSC Educational Advocacy is provided AT NO COST to all parents
SNSC fundraising and grants cover part but not nearly all our expenses for this service, that costs at least $45 per hour of staff time (plus mileage costs). Similar service providers in NH and VT charge up to $90 per hour.
Parents often ask how they can help defray some of these costs.
Here are some ways you can help:
- If you are able make a donation to SNSC: A sliding fee scale is suggested for your consideration. This estimate of costs is based on attendance of one school meeting and associated contacts before and after.
- $75 for families with gross annual income of $75,000 or more
- $40 to $60 with income between $50K and $75K
- $10 to $30 with income between $30K and $50K
- $5 with income in the $20Ks
- Zero with income less than $20K
- Volunteer your time and energy in some way to SNSC
- Suggest some names of your relatives, friends, co-workers to whom SNSC could send our Annual Giving Campaign letter asking for contributions.
If any of these suggestions interest you, please talk with your Advocate about this.
What does an educational advocate do?
We provide support in a variety of ways to parents about all aspects of the challenging special education process:
- We help parents wade through and understand the complicated state and federal rules and regulations for Special Education and Section 504
- We provide a neutral and professional perspective in your planning for meetings and contacts with the school
- We can help parents understand the array of testing and evaluations that are done to help plan for your child’s educational program
- At IEP or 504 meetings, we provide an extra pair of eyes and ears. Being emotionally neutral and professional we can help parents keep focused, bring up points they had planned in their agenda for the meeting, and assist parents in getting their ideas and concerns heard by the school staff
- Because of our years of successful work in area schools, we can participate with parents and the school staff as a full member of the team working to give every student all he/she needs and deserves.
- With our decades of professional experience in counseling and education, we are able to provide unique perspectives to the team process and support for parent.
Our Educational Advocacy provides a range of services to meet the various needs of parents and within the time limitations of our staff. These include:
- Education about the rights, rules, and regulations of Special Education and Section 504 Plans – provided individually to parents or through workshops on various related topics. Some of these workshops are offered by our staff, and some in collaboration with the Parent Information Centers in both states
- Consultation and planning regarding the IEP or 504 Plan process for your child. This may involve developing strategies for dealing with school teams and building an agenda for the team meetings
- Attendance at school meetings with parents – as needed, desired, and as possible given our schedules
- Connection and consultation with the Parent Information Center staff in NH and VT as needed regarding special questions and unique situations.
Many schools now refer parents to SNSC for advocacy. They know that if parents feel knowledgeable and supported, rather than threatened about the special education process, they are then better able to engage as full team participants and this facilitates the best outcome for the student and the full realization of FAPE.
Call SNSC at 603-448-6311 to speak with an advocate
Meetings are held daily, for information:
Upper Valley, NH & VT: http://www.uvaa.info/
New Hampshire (Area 43): http://www.nhaa.net/
Vermont AA (Area 70): http://www.aavt.org/
AA General Service Office: http://www.aa.org/
You can also call Headrest (603) 448-4400 or visit www.headrest.org
Bereavement Programs of the VNA and Hospice of VT and NH.
Contact Hospice Director for current information 888-300-8853
Caregiver Support Group
This group meets regularly at noon on the third Wednesday of the month at the Aging and Disability Resource Center in Lebanon. Please call Jane Conklin at ServiceLink (603-448-1558) prior to attending. The Aging and Disability Resource Center is located at 1 Campbell St., Lebanon NH 03766
Compassionate Friends of the Upper Valley
The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every
family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild,
and helps others better assist the grieving family. This group meets on the fourth Tuesday
of every month from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Norwich Public Library.
Contact: Lisa Olney 603-353-9240
Child Advocacy Center
For caregivers and non-offending parents of child sexual abuse victims. Call The Family Place at (802) 649-3268 for information.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Meets on Tuesdays at 7:30pm. For more information, contact Carolyn Sanders at 802-295-
2410 or email@example.com
Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous
Meets in Hanover at the Friend’s Meeting House on Wednesdays from 7-8:30pm
Contact Janet Maxfield for more information at 802-295-5109.
Food Allergy Support Group For Parents
Meets quarterly at DHMC. For more information, call Kathy Stocker at the CHaD Family
Center at (603) 653-9899 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Beginnings of the Upper Valley
Good Beginnings provides both an In-Home Volunteer Visitor Program and Education/Support Program to any family of a new baby, including foster and adoptive families, within the first 6 months after the baby’s arrival. The In-Home Volunteer Visitor Program provides 12 consecutive weeks of 2-3 hour weekly home visits by a trained volunteer. The volunteer offers practical assistance, education, and emotional support, as needed. For families who do not request a volunteer, additional education and support can be provided in our office or over the phone, regarding infant care, daycare connections, safety information for infants and toddlers and more.
VA’s toll-free Caregiver Support Line: 1-855-260-3274
See more at http://www.caregiver.va.gov/support
NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill)
The Information HelpLine is an information and referral service which can be reached by calling 1 (800) 950-NAMI (6264), Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., EST or by email at email@example.com
NAMI of the Upper Valley
Friends and Family group meets 2nd Monday of each month 6-7:30 pm at West Central Behavioral Health Rivermill Copex 85 Mechanic Street in Lebanon. Call Donna Stamper for more information at 603-863-2621.
NAMI of VT
White River Jct. Family Support Group meets on the last Monday of the month at 5:45 pm at the VA Medical Center, William Yasinski Building, White River Junction.
Contact Rose Clark-Hewes: 802-763-8030
Nurture Your Spirit: A Support Group for Family Caregivers
Enjoy tea, relaxation, and renewal. Ease your mind, share ideas, ask questions, and get encouragement. Sessions are led by Jeanne Childs, MA, Chaplain, and are held twice a month in the afternoon at the Aging Resource Center, 46 Centerra Parkway, Level 2, Lebanon, NH. Call for more information: (603) 653-3460 or email AgingCenter@hitchcock.org.
SPARK! Caregiver Support Group
This group meets every first and third Friday of each month from 7-8:30pm at APD’s Conference Room A. The group, which is facilitated by Tom Elverson (a psychologist with over 30 years of experience), is intended for both men and women who provide direct or indirect care for a loved one or client with special needs. The meetings will provide a caring and safe environment for individuals to share their experiences and receive moral support while interacting with other caregivers. There is no commitment to attend each meeting. For more info, please see the Spark! website: http://www.
Lebanon –Next Step Peer Support Center –Mental Health and Substance Abuse programs and help lines available. Call 603-448-6941
Claremont –Stepping Stone –Mental Health and Substance Abuse programs and help lines available. Call 603-543-1388
TLC Family Resource Center (Formerly Good Beginnings of Sullivan County)
We provide important tools and education for parents in Sullivan and Lower Grafton Counties to increase positive relationships withtheir children. Call 603.542.1848
Located in the new LISTEN building in White River Jct., The Junction provides a safe, drop-in space offering opportunities, services and support to help youth achieve goals, with dedication to working with those youth who may be hardest to reach or serve. For more information call (802) 295-2612.
Traumatic Brain Injury Group
For survivors and their families
Upper Valley NH – Offered on the second Wednesday of the month at DHMC in the Fuller Board Room, 6:30 p.m. Call (603) 225-8400 for more information.
Upper Valley VT – Offered the second Friday of the month at Bugbee Senior Center in White River Junction, 4:00-5:30 p.m. Call 877-856-1772 for more information.
Brain Injury Association:
NH – www.bianh.org/ – 603-225-8400
VT – www.biavt.org/ – 802-244-6850
A support group for family and friends of adolescents/young adults suffering from substance abuse/addiction. For more information, call Jackie Pierce at (802) 295-2982.
Women’s Freedom Center
Provides Domestic Violence services including emergency transportation, shelter, help developing safety plans and working in schools to help victims of domestic violence and their families. Hotline 802-885-2050 or Springfield office 802-885-2368.
Women’s Health Resource Center
Hosts various pregnancy and parenting classes and support groups. For more information call 603-650-2600. To check out current classes Click Here