Bay Shore mom Dana DeRuvo Hanner, 58, and Armonk mom Susan Kleiman, 59, met when their special needs sons were in the same residential program — The Center for Discovery in Harris, New York — and they recently launched a website meant to help other moms with resources for special needs kids at SpecialMomsNetwork.com.
The website provides information about programs, services, events and products. “More parents are turning to the internet for information, support and answers when it comes to ways to help their children. We want to be the Angie’s List for special needs,” Hanner says.
In addition, on Monday, the group will introduce a new program that will allow special needs families throughout New York state to fill out a form that will alert emergency personnel to the fact that a special-needs child lives at their address. That form will soon be up on the Special Moms Network website, Hanner says.
The two moms’ efforts grew from a Facebook page they started four years ago. “Within days, we had hundreds of moms,” Kleiman says. In that private group, moms share stories and personal triumphs and tragedies, Hanner says.
Hanner’s son Nicholas, who had cerebral palsy, died last year at the age of 22. Kleiman’s son, also 22, has cerebral palsy and still lives at The Center for Discovery.