Susan Kleiman is co-founder of The Special Moms Network, and the founder of Ross Daniel Adaptive Apparel – a company she launched in 2009 to provide fashionable adaptive clothing designs for children and teens with special needs. Susan brings her strong business background and more than 20 years of experience in sales and marketing to both companies – and her personal experience as a mother of a son with special needs not only led to the co-founding of Special Moms Network, but was the inspiration behind the creation of Ross Daniel Adaptive Apparel.
Susan’s inspiration for both Special Moms Network and her adaptive apparel line both stem from her oldest son Ross Daniel Kleiman. When his twin was lost in utero, Ross was born 11 weeks prematurely with multiple complications resulting from a lack of oxygen in utero and a stroke caused by twin to twin transfusion. Faced with her son’s wide range of debilitating challenges, including cerebral palsy, impaired vision, seizure disorder and cognitive delays, Susan left her job in sales and marketing to devote herself full-time to Ross and his needs, becoming a parent advocate to ensure that he received any and all services that could help. In addition to advocating for her son, Susan also embarked on a way to help other parents, as well – she became a trained advocate through the New York City Parents as Partners Program, and has helped hundreds of parents with special needs, children navigate the school system to get the best possible services, public benefits and compassionate emotion support. Ross currently attends school and resides at the Center for Discovery in Monticello, New York – where, years ago, she met Dana DeRuvo Hanner – a fellow mother of a special needs teenage son — and together created, and launched, The Special Moms Network.
Combining her strong business background with her determination to provide dignity and the highest quality of life for her son and others like him, Susan has continued to be a passionate advocate for those with special needs. She has worked to help raise funds for Children’s Neurobiological Solutions (CNS), an organization focused on expanding the current boundaries of scientific research, and served as the co-chair of two New York City fundraisers to raise money for research being conducted at Harvard Medical School for brain disorders. She is also on the fundraising committee for The Center for Discovery, and has served on the fundraising committee for S.K.I.P. (Sick Kids need Involved People), which provides advocacy and support to families who care for their chronically ill or developmentally disabled children at home.
Susan’s powerful advocacy for her son and her marketing/business experience were the driving forces behind her creation of Ross Daniel Adaptive designs (www.rdadaptiveapparel.com), named after Ross. Frustrated at not being able to find comfortable, breathable, yet fashionable, socks for Ross to wear underneath his ankle-foot orthotics, Susan worked to design and create her own products for Ross and other children and teens who she knew wanted to combine function with fashion. In addition to the original line of socks, Ross Daniel Adaptive Apparel now has a full range of products designed to bring fashion and dignity to children and adults with special needs.