Frequently Asked Questions
What is the SPOT?
The SPOT is a 501c(3) organization founded by a group of parents with a shared mission – to give their special needs children and other families fun and safe experiences, to create a resource center “Hub” for the vast amount of information needed to care for the special needs community, and to establish a SPOT for all ages to gather for entertainment, education, and respite.
What do we do?
We were created with a dual purpose to provide opportunities for community and connection:
The SPOT (Special Place for Others to Thrive) is an organization to bring together the fragmented community of special needs families through a partnership with local churches, businesses, and other local organizations. The SPOT in collaboration with these other groups will host and facilitate events that are special needs-focused and sensory-friendly. The mission of The SPOT is to create a safe place for families to connect, serve and grow in their community.
TheSPOTFamily.com – is our website that serves as a one-stop resource for parents and caregivers seeking information on how to care for and support individuals with special needs as well as neuro- typical persons. The website provides the names and contacts of local agencies, therapists, support groups, and other resources in the community. TheSPOTFamily.com is a tool to help any family but does have an emphasis on supporting special needs families. The mission of our website is to provide families with resources, so they can spend more time connecting and less time researching.
Sensory Room Program
Many special needs individuals have heightened sensitivity to visual, auditory, or tactile stimulation/input. Many also have a need for increased sensory stimulation through movement and tactile experiences. As a result, a sensory room program has been designed to provide a solution to these needs. Each of the sensory rooms has been designed to target a specific need. Sensory needs can be categorized into the following: sensory seeking, sensory over-responsive, sensory discrimination, sensory dyspraxia, and sensory under-responsive. The sensory rooms are designed to be portable, so they can be assembled in any location and then stored between events.
The SPOT’s SPLASH events will be unique in that they are intended for everyone in the community but will also be, specifically, special needs and sensory friendly. Events will have a primary area for the events’ activities, but special consideration will be given to lighting and acoustics to reduce the risk of over stimulation for attendees. In addition, sensory rooms will be offered, whenever possible, that will be separated from the primary area and will be designed to meet a variety of sensory needs.
December 16, 2022: Community Christmas Celebration
February 2023: Community Valentine’s Dance
April/May 2023: Community Spring Fling
Summer and beyond: TBD
Other Special Needs Organization Promotion
The SPOT will collaborate with and help promote activities hosted by other special needs organizations in the community through The Spot Family website and our social media outlets.
Parent and Caregiver Education Program
The process of obtaining a diagnosis can be lengthy and emotional for all involved. Parents and caregivers are
left with many questions and can have trouble finding the answers. The SPOT will offer a chance for parents to connect with one another to facilitate support and information dissemination as well as coordinate to provide speakers for specialized topics; such as preparing for a child’s future, Medicaid application and disability, share patient rights.
The community as a whole is supportive of initiatives that assist special needs families. The number one question is “how to help”. Feelings of fear, inadequacy and lack of education in this area often stop outreach initiatives before they really begin. Providing volunteer training that can be applied throughout the community is imperative to the success of any outreach program. The SPOT will offer training to volunteers as connect the community, whether it's churches, first responders, hospitals, or colleges, to industry leaders in special needs services.
Providing families a place outside of their homes and therapy clinics where individuals can foster friendship and feel “normal” is vital to the overall health and development of the family as a whole. Just as the special needs individual needs time with others, the parent/caregiver needs time too; whether it’s to have a date with a spouse, see a movie, grocery shopping or take a nap. Respite care is one of the most frequent requests of special needs families in our area.
Daytime Care Program
A substantial need that goes unmet in our community is daytime care programs for all ages. Very young children need daycare/preschool throughout the year, school aged individuals need care and supervision between school sessions and during break periods, and adults need supervised social and employment opportunities throughout the year. We hope to find partners to help meet this need
What are the SPOT’s immediate goals?
Goals for late 2022 and early 2023 include providing a central resource for the special needs community with The SPOT Family website, increasing inclusion and participation of special needs individuals and their families in community events (special needs and non-special needs focused,) and increasing relationships among families in the special needs community.
What are the SPOT’s near future goals?
Goals for late 2023 are to provide regularly scheduled events including educational sessions for parents and caregivers, community training on how to increase inclusion of individuals with special needs, respite events for parents and caregivers, and social activities for individuals with special needs.
What are the SPOT’s long term goals?
Goals beyond 2023 are to procure a permanent, physical space – a SPECIAL PLACE for OTHERS to THRIVE - to conduct supported activities. Additional supported activities will include supervised care during day and evening hours, structured educational sessions, supervised social opportunities, respite care, and a safe, sensory-friendly space for other special needs groups to host events.
What are ways I can help the SPOT?
Share new or updated resource information in person and on social media
Partner with us to host an inclusive and sensory friendly event! The possibilities are endless!
Donations are always helpful whether it’s a monetary donation to a specific item or general fund, as well as items from our Wish List.
How will my financial contribution be used?
Donations will be used to support the activities of the organization and to meet the operational needs of
the organization. There are no compensated employees and all board members are volunteers and do
not receive compensation for their time. All income and expenses are managed by the Community Foundation of East Mississippi to ensure compliance with 501c(3) regulatory requirements.
How can I become involved?
Check out our Support page to see all the ways to partner with us!
Become a volunteer or a Buddy
Pray for us
Sponsor The SPOT through goods, services, and financial donations.
Share your ideas and needs with us so we can effect real change and support
How do I ask the SPOT for help?
There are many ways to contact us!
Our phone number is 601-207-0680
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Send us a message on Facebook “The SPOT”
Submit a connection form on the website.
How do I get information on establishing or growing a special needs mission at my church or business?
We would love to share what we have learned! Contact us and one of our board members will set up a time to speak with you about your needs.