Residents with special needs now have a new way to connect to services and special events through the county's new “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” website, thinkdifferently.net.
The new site connects families to resources, information and community events to enhance the lives of individuals of every ability.
“Our new ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ website will aid residents with special needs and their families connect to services, resources, and others," said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. "Whether that means finding educational opportunities, connecting to services and programs to improve their quality of life, or discovering events that connect them to their community, this site will unlock access and open opportunities."
Established in 2015, the county's “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative encourages individuals, organizations, businesses, and communities to foster a more welcoming and supportive for those living with special needs.
Since its inception, more than 70 communities throughout New York State have adopted “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” resolutions, including the majority of those in Dutchess County.
The website is a tool to empower families and individuals with special needs, as well as provide professionals new to the field or Dutchess County a starting point to learn about resources and grow in their role of supporting families.
“Navigating the system of service providers can often be a daunting task for families," said Molinaro. "Our website offers simple navigation to more easily find the services and programs that best fit the specific needs of individuals and families, as well as quick access to those who can further help.”
Among the features of the new website, users can:
- Find local service providers or programs, based on their specific age, diagnosis, and location;
- Learn about child development milestones and how to plan for their future and continuity of supports, based on their age and their physical and mental progress;
- Easily connect to local, state and national resources to find the answers for numerous questions families of those with special needs might have;
- Learn how their community can “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” – be it taking part in an inclusive event, partnering with local organizations or funding accessible infrastructure projects.
In addition, the “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” website includes calendars to help families locate events that provide opportunities for education, advocacy and community engagement.
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