About Us

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

Mission, Vision & Values

Our Mission Statement

We are a group of individuals and families throughout the Upper Valley and beyond who proudly work together to create a community where people with special needs, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, can live their best lives.

Our Vision

All people with special needs, and their families, have opportunities and support to pursue their goals and aspirations.

Our Core Values

We believe that program participants, families, volunteers, donors, staff, and the board of directors are the most valuable assets of the organization.

We believe relationships are resources.

We honor the people we serve as experts, partners, and decision makers.

We support resiliency in families.

We respect and celebrate each individual.

We foster knowledge sharing and collaboration.

We create a culture of dignity, respect, and compassion.

We embrace diversity as an essential component of community well-being.

We maintain a climate of community, financial, and environmental sustainability.

Sustainabity Statement

With courage, integrity, and love, we embrace our responsibility to program participants, families, volunteers, donors, staff, board of directors, and the environment to operate our organization sustainably by:

  • Creating a healthy, safe, collaborative and innovative work environment;
  • Being deliberate with our funds and increasing productivity through thoughtful resource allocation; and
  • Promoting environmentally responsible decision making and reducing waste.

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

Every parent wants their child to lead a happy life. We dream about the future, we have hopes that our child will be part of a community, have friends, and enjoy health. As a father of a child with autism, I’ve questioned my own ability to raise my daughter to fulfill these dreams. The SNSC team encourages and supports my confidence as a parent. With SNSC, I have grown into a better co-parent with my wife and a better father to my daughter. And they have helped our daughter to develop social skills, make friends, and even learn to swim. Thanks to SNSC I have developed grace in fatherhood that otherwise I would never have known.

Adi Father of a child with a disability

Everyone wants to feel like they belong and that they are valued in their community. I am thankful to my family and the staff of SNSC for opening closed doors for me and helping me find my own place in our community. I was born paralyzed with a prognosis of never being able to stand. This year, with practice, courage, and support I built enough strength in my legs to stand. At the SNSC Spring Dance, in the presence of my family and friends, I had my first slow dance. My SNSC family has changed my whole life and helped me show others that I am more than my disability. With SNSC I have learned resilience, I have developed independence, and I have made rich, lifelong relationships that I know will see me through all stages of my life. I am a hard worker. I am a best friend. I am a dancer. At SNSC, people see me for me.

Daniel Murphy

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.

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