They say Mother knows best, and the Special Moms of Westchester are no exception: Each of the 700-plus members of the Facebook group knows what it’s like to raise a child with special needs. In addition to empowering its members to solicit advice, share stories, and support one another, the group seeks to educate Westchester communities about special needs. We spoke to two of the group’s founders: Susan Kleiman of Armonk, who also created a clothing company for kids with special needs, Ross Daniel Adaptive Apparel Inc.; and Dana DeRuvo Hanner, author of The Ties That Bind: One Family’s Journey of Compassion with a Special Needs Child.
How did Special Moms of Westchester get started?
SK: Dana and I both have sons who go to The Center for Discovery [a treatment center for children and adults with disabilities in Harris, New York], so we see each other there a lot. We were just having a conversation, saying there’s nothing here in the Westchester area, and it just snowballed.
DDH: It started with an idea and a need—it was two years ago in April that we started it. Before the Facebook group, it was just informal, with moms talking mostly one-on-one. But this really formalized it, where we could literally reach hundreds.