About Us

We believe that this community is enhanced and strengthened by the inclusion of all.

Mission, Vision & Values

SNSC Mission Statement
To help children and adults with special needs, and their families, meet their unique challenges through advocacy and program support.

SNSC Values Statement
Families and people with special needs become empowered through learning, sharing and collaborating with each other. We believe that families know best what their families need. We honor, respect and celebrate each other’s differences. We believe that the community is enhanced and strengthened by the inclusion of all people.

SNSC Vision Statement
As a result of our supports and services, individuals with special needs and their families can become more fulfilled, have greater independence, develop new relationships and are empowered to reach for their own goals and contribute to their communities. Families served will gain the knowledge and support to enhance their advocacy for their loved one within a caring community.

History

In 1979 the parents of a girl with autism began reaching out to other parents in their community. Their informal parent support network quickly began to get a lot of calls. The new parent network grew tremendously. With boundless enthusiasm and a drive to make a difference, this group of parents started what would become The Special Needs Support Center, a place that helps children and adults with special needs, and their families, meet their unique challenges through advocacy and program support.

Since then, The Special Needs Support Center has grown into a system of resources and programs that:

  • Empower and support Upper Valley Vermont and New Hampshire families of children with special needs;
  • Help children and adults with special needs and their families meet their unique challenges through advocacy and program support; and
  • Support families and individuals with special needs become empowered through learning, sharing and collaborating with each other.

Our Stories

I am the mother of an adult child with a disability and the founder of SNSC. The formation of this wonderful organization is a very personal odyssey for my family. Our son was eight years old when our daughter was born and diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia and autism.

We spent many years traveling to and from the Children’s Hospital in Boston while she underwent multiple surgeries on her hips. Because Allison received medical services outside our community, we were cut off from service providers in the Upper Valley.

This sense of isolation became the catalyst for finding other parents who might support us and pass on information about local services. What started in 1979 around my kitchen table has grown into a tremendously important resource for people with disabilities and their families.

I am thankful for the parents who joined me with boundless enthusiasm and a drive to make a difference. The close friendships that were developed in the early years continue today. We have watched together as our children grow and live through their challenges. It is with great pride and awe that I continue to give to this vital community organization.

Geraldine North, Mother of an Adult Child with a Disability

When my husband and I brought two children into our home, we anticipated a few minor transitional issues. What we could not have anticipated was the number of psychological issues, evaluation procedures and dozens of specialists necessary to meet our son’s needs. His diagnosis has significant impacts on his ability to be happy and healthy.

We were bombarded with paperwork, insurance issues, and the feeling that we were drowning and couldn’t catch up. I felt overwhelmed, stressed, sad, and even hopeless at times. Some days all I could do is cry because I wasn’t sure how to move forward or where to begin.

That’s when I connected with the SNSC. Their team helped me understand the process for getting support. I finally felt like I could breathe again!

Laura Perez, Executive Director & Parent of a Child with a Disability

When my daughter Ana was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in 2005, I experienced grief, anger, hopelessness, anxiety and fear hand in hand with her diagnosis. I didn’t know where to turn, what to do or what to think.

That’s when I first connected with SNSC. With support from our wonderful Program Director, Ana received a BigSib who helped her learn to trust people other than her family.

Later, when struggling with the special education process, advice from a Parent Support and Educational Advocate guided me through the process, empowering me to make the right choices for her.

Today we have an abundance of gratitude, support, grace, hope, happiness, acceptance and love in our life thanks, in part, to SNSC.

I am grateful to get to be a part of a loving team and to provide support for other families. I work extra hard to give all I can to the Special Needs Support Center because I know how important our work really is.

Nicki Thrall Administrative Coordinator, Parent of a child with a Disability