Special Needs Resources for Kids and Families in Wichita

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The day after our daughters traumatic entrance into this world, we learned she had cerebral palsy. On top of midnight feedings and dirty diapers, those first years for us were also filled with surgeries, doctors, therapists, monitors and equipment, in home nurses, and medication.

We werent just learning to be new parents, we were learning to become fierce advocates for our daughter. Here are a few of the resources we gathered during our journey.

DIAGNOSIS

Early identification is critical. In our case, Mias diagnosis was obvious at birth. However, if you feel like something is off, trust your instinct and seek a second opinion! Here are some great places to find answers if you feel like your child is at risk:

Heartspring

Rainbows United

KU Med

SUPPORT

Join a support group—online, through social media or in person. Seriously, I never felt so alienated as when diagnosis came. My mom-tribe includes rock-star moms raising a child with an exceptionality.

Wesley Childrens Foundation

Down Syndrome Society of Kansas

Autism

Deaf/Blind Coalition

NAMI (Mental Health)

Diabetes

Juvenile Arthritis

Parent to Parent : For all diagnoses and fathers too!

EDUCATION

Every child is capable of learning! Special Education was the most complex system we had to navigate. Individualized Education Plans, 504 Plans, Individualized Family Support Plans all have their own acronyms and separate meanings, but do not be intimidated! I received all of my training from Families Together, Inc. They are definitely the most connected agency in the state, partly because Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) makes sure of that, but mostly because they are staffed by parents who are raising a child with an exceptionality. Families Together trains parents through awesome workshops and individual consultation to be able to navigate the special education system and the health care system.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

Since we couldnt use a typical babysitter or daycare provider, we had to have specialized caregivers. Luckily, the Sedgwick County Developmental Disability Organization is a single point of entry that connects local families with services and helps families understand the eligibility requirements, waiting lists and compliance process for specialized services and subsidies.

Its counterpart, COMCARE, offers comprehensive services for children with mental health issues including behavioral problems stemming from mental health.

FUNDING

Mia’s first wheelchair cost more than my first car! Doing a little creative fun-raising” and getting in touch with these these agencies helped tremendously.

Childrens Miracle Network

Kansas Society for Children with Challenges

Since we couldnt use a typical babysitter or daycare provider, we had to have specialized caregivers. Luckily, the Sedgwick County Developmental Disability Organization is a single point of entry that connects local families with services and helps families understand the eligibility requirements, waiting lists and compliance process for specialized services and subsidies.

Its counterpart, COMCARE, offers comprehensive services for children with mental health issues including behavioral problems stemming from mental health.

MEDICAL EQUIPMENT

Children grow and develop at crazy rates—children with special needs are no exception! Here are a few places that got us through some growing pains:

Assistive Technology of Kansas

Independent Living Resources Center

Medical Loan Closet

Kansas Truck and Mobility 

Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation

LIFESTYLE & RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES

All kids want to have fun! Mia loved her cheer squad and we made a ton of friends! Here are a few resources that connected our entire family with fun!

AMBUCS (trikes and home modifications)

Miracle League

Special Olympics (various team sports through the area)

Boundless Playground at Sedgwick County Park

Warren Theaters )offers Sensory Friendly movies throughout the year for blockbuster family movies)

YMCA  (offers adaptive classes including swimming)

Hippo therapy

Equine Therapy

ARC of Sedgwick County

Wheelchair Sports

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