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President's message.

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

As President of the Board of Directors of the National Parent Network on Disabilities (NPND), I want to open this column with a "Hello" and an "Invitation" to all of my fellow parents of children with special needs. My "Hello" is your introduction to our organization provided by this publication -- we are extremely pleased to meet you. I also want to thank Exceptional Parent Magazine for making this introduction possible.

And my "Invitation" is a sincere wish that you will join us in our work. I find it very difficult to describe the history, qualities and potential of the National Parent Network on Disabilities "in the abstract." I want you to understand our enthusiasm for this organization and the Network's developing potential to make a real difference for parents of children with special needs.

I would like to compare the growth of NPND to that of a child. The Network has good parents. Our charter members, Directors of Parent Training and Information Centers in all parts of the United States, felt the need for a national organization to represent their concerns in Washington, D.C. and "to speak for parents." In 1987, the concerns of these parent leaders led to the birth of the National Network of Parent Centers.

The Network has older siblings who have offered support and guidance along the way. Many national organizations interested in our issues have helped us to quickly grow into an effective spokesman for parents. We didn't have to learn everything by trial and error because of the expertise and counsel of these groups.

The Network became a toddler with its own personality. And like many two-year-olds, decided to explore all the possibilities and test its potential. This expanded picture of the world led to our name change from the National Network of Parent Centers to the National Parent Network on Disabilities and opened our membership to all types of parent organizations and groups.

The Network is now a challenging three-year-old. We are growing, changing and "pushing at limits" each day. And we have accomplished many things during our three years.

* We have established our office in the Washington, D.C. area. And we thank TASH (The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps) for sharing their beautiful new offices with us.

* Our issues are being represented in Congress. Network staff and board members worked with other groups on the passage of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the reauthorization of Public Law 94-142.

* Our voice is being heard in areas of policy and regulation.

* Individual parents are joining the Network and being linked to people in their local area.

* Our membership is growing] New parent coalitions, national organizations and parent groups are joining the Network.

* The Network has become a reliable link between and among programs serving parents.

* The Network is beginning a Cooperative Agreement with the Social Security Administration to provide outreach information and support to help parents access the SSI system for their sons and daughters.

* The Network is now completing a subcontract with the Center for Resource Management to evaluate services provided to families by Parent Training and Information Centers.

* NPND is working with the Center on Human Policy, Syracuse University, to publicize their research about community integration of people with disabilities.

Our organization is young and just getting started, but I believe that, in years to come, our Network will make an enormous difference for parents of children with special needs. I do not know what NPND will look like "all grown up," but I encourage you to join us.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Exceptional Parent Networking; aims of National Parent Network on Disabilities
Author:Hawkins, Connie
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Words:594
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