SPED*NET, Special Education Network of Wilton, Ltd., is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping parents of children with special needs become their children’s best advocates throughout the special services process and the transition to college, employment or other post-secondary pursuits. We serve parents of children who have been diagnosed with a disability and receive services through an IEP (under IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) or a Section 504 Plan (under the Rehabilitation Act), who are newly diagnosed, or who are struggling and have yet to be diagnosed.
Over 20 years ago, a number of us—parents of preschoolers with special needs— found ourselves living in a confusing world of special education services. Our children were struggling to get through the day and it was hard to find effective ways to help them. What seemed clear was that our knowledge was essential to our children’s progress.
Through our quest for knowledge—and our willingness to share that knowledge unconditionally—we began to build a coalition that would become a foundation from which everyone in our children’s lives could learn and better help them: teachers, administrators, therapists, paraprofessionals… the entire school-based team.
Strategies, therapies, laws, regulations, academic, social, emotional—you name it, we delved in and learned as much as we could. It was our willingness to work beyond the needs of just our own children that created a sustainable nonprofit to this day. We saw first-hand how it worked and then said: This is what all our kids need.
Slowly but surely, others followed our enthusiastic commitment to ‘what could be, if we just try hard enough.’ We weren’t always popular, but we were steadfast in our vision, and our message has resonated loud and clear for more than two decades: Our kids deserve parents and caregivers who are knowledgeable, educators who are well trained, administrators who listen, and an educational system dedicated to their success.
SPED*NET continues to be a volunteer-run nonprofit that strives to empower parents, support families and change the lives of children with special needs.
Our guide to special services in Connecticut, Bringing Knowledge to the Table: How to Be an Effective Advocate for Your Child, was created to empower parents to become full partners in the education of their children. The free on-line version of the guide includes links to current websites, forms and resources. Printed copies are available
We collaborate with school districts and educational organizations to bring to Fairfield County high quality programs and speakers, each well known in the field of special needs, special education, and disability-related issues. With the addition of webinars during the COVID-19 pandemic, our geographic reach has grown to include families and professionals throughout the world. All our presentations and webinars are videotaped and available on our website, Facebook page and YouTube channel.