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A New Special Needs Directory Debuts Online

April 5, 2012 By:
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Looking for art therapy for a child with special needs, or maybe a job for an adult with high-functioning autism?

Find suggestions for those resources and more on specialneedsphilly.org , a new, searchable website and accompanying helpline (800-859-7674) that Jewish Family and Children's Service unveiled this week.

With input from members of the city's special needs consortium and a $300,000 grant from a group of Jewish funders, JFCS hired case manager Sherrie Eisman to oversee collaboration and partnership at its Center for Special Needs.

In addition to aggregating information for the one-stop online directory, Eisman will now connect callers to appropriate service providers and in some instances, assign staff to work directly with them.

Users can search the database of nearly 700 providers or browse categories based on type of service, geographic area and so forth. The site also includes a calendar for community events.

The resource will not only benefit the Jewish community, but anyone with special needs in Greater Philadelphia, said Lisa Ney, JFCS' clinical supervisor for special needs.

"This is going to be really a go-to place for a lot of people," Ney said. "Once a parent gets info about a diagnosis of a child with special needs, it can be very overwhelming. You're dealing with lost expectations and the grief process and crisis. Part of our job will be to help people to navigate that."

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