Our Mission: Exceptional Children, Special Needs
ASAP empowers children who need special accommodations to reach their highest potential. We unite families, practitioners, service providers and volunteers to empower children who need special accommodations to lead full lives. We work to increase special needs education awareness and accessible learning. We mobilize advocates to improve support services and quality care for children and their families in areas of healthcare, education and legislation.
Our History: A Story of Support and Advocacy
On December 24, 2006 an 11oz baby girl was born 15 weeks too early. To her parents, little Erynne Eddings-Thomas looked more like a baby bird than a human, with her transparent skin, sealed eyelids and faint cries. Her parents watched hopelessly for months as Erynne struggled to survive. They didn't have a support network outside of friends and family. They had no one who truly understood what they were going through, and seemingly no one to turn to for advice or guidance to care for baby Erynne after she was released from the hospital. From their experience, the idea for ASAP was born.
Our Purpose and Programs: Every Child is Amazing.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 out of every 8 babies born in the United States are premature. With the advance of medical technology, premature babies are surviving in increasing numbers. Helping them grow and thrive often requires support, as many children born prematurely will face lifelong health challenges and disabilities, including cerebral palsy, learning disorders and motor delays.
ASAP is committed to advocacy and peer support for children with disabilities and their families. Our first program, Purple Goose Kids, was created to support children who need special accommodations to attend school and lead full, active lives. From its inception in 2006, Purple Goose Kids has offered support to parents in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), when both parent and child are most fragile. Our advocates are experienced volunteers--many of them are parents of children with special needs--who are dedicated to providing education, resources and support to parents learning to navigate through healthcare services, public education, and social services for their families.
Through Purple Goose Kids, we also provide children with mobility and assistive equipment or funding for alternative treatments. We work to find solutions to challenges when all options seem exhausted. As much as we have accomplished, so much more is required. In 2016, our program goals are to:
Premature baby on a ventilator