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Top parenting issues for 2013

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The year is coming to a close, and 2013 has been the year for three major parenting issues that parents in all sections of the country have encountered. The cost of childcare continued to rise, and recent news coverage presented an astonishing fact that childcare can cost as much as a college education. Quality childcare is of major concern to parents, and any resource for help in finding a quality center is appreciated by parents. A third issue for parents in 2013 was the rise in the number of children who were diagnosed with the variety of disabilities that fall within the autism spectrum. School systems, both public and private, continued to improve services for children with the rainbow of learning disabilities that the autism spectrum presents.

Sarasota is a community that is fortunate to be able to support all parents who encountered these top parenting issues in 2013. Several organizations continued to support parents who were looking for quality childcare and resources to help pay for the cost of a quality program in tough financial times that continued in 2103. Sarasota also is home to a non-profit organization that provides education and therapy for children with autism and other disabilities that fall in the spectrum of autism.

*The Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County, located at 2886-C Ringling Boulevard, provided parents with a comprehensive list of providers and its Childcare Connection provided parents with financial assistance if the family met certain criteria. Interested parents who need financial assistance for the new year in order to pay for childcare may call 941-556-1600 to apply for this assistance.

*The Look for the Stars rating program that the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County provided parents with comprehensive list of quality providers that met the program's standards for quality care. This rating program rates centers on the quality of safety, developmentally appropriate learning activities, and the quality of the staff. Parents may access this information about quality centers by calling 941-954-4830.

*Beyond the Spectrum provided parents with children who were diagnosed with the various learning disabilities on the autism spectrum with a quality education and therapy learning environment for their child in 2013. Beyond the Spectrum is a non-profit center for grades K-12. They also provide an impressive class in social skills for ages 4-8. Children who are diagnosed with learning disabilities in the spectrum often have the most difficulty with social skills, and this special class that is offered at the center is a much needed service.

All of these services that were provided to families in Sarasota were of benefit to children and families this past year, and the organizations encourage families in the community to access these needed services for the new year. These organizations wish all families in Sarasota a happy and safe 2014.

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