Group Supplies Network for Those Fighting for Special Needs Rights

For anyone who has dealt with the frustrations of working with the many bureaucracies intended to help the special needs community, the humor and support of a knowledgeable friend can be invaluable. Now there is an Internet-based organization intended to provide just that sort of connection to its members, as well as anyone else who might need it.

Mothers from Hell 2 (MFH2) describes itself as an organization advocating for "the appropriate education, community acceptance, desperately needed services, rights of and entitlements for people with disabilities." Launched in Eugene, Oregon, in 1992 in response to families' frustration with public and private institutions falling short of meeting their children's needs, MFH2 is a loosely-organized group of advocates and activists who work by "networking and sharing resources" among its nearly 300 members. The group also provides a wealth of information and humor for anyone who has tried to navigate the complicated waters of special needs services.

According to MFH2 President Cathy Taylor, although the organization's reach is national, the board of directors is made up of five volunteer moms who manage the organization while working full time. As a result, the group focuses less on making substantial reforms in the special needs system and more on establishing a largely self-sustained network of members who support each other.

The MFH2 Web site provides links to resources for parents of children of special needs. Links include state-specific advocacy organizations, as well as Web sites that provide everything from general health information to details on specific special needs conditions. And for those wishing to celebrate successes or vent their frustrations, the site has a Fame/Shame list, where individuals can share their personal stories of success and failure while fighting for disability rights of children.

Those interested in joining the organization -- it is not limited to parents of children with special needs, but open to anyone who "gets it" -- can do so through the Web site. For $10, members receive the monthly Brimstone Bulletin and also have access to the MFH2 listserv and message boards.

Article Last Modified: 10/05/2006