-Russ Kahan, CEO
As the co-founder and CEO of MySpecialChildGuide.com, my passion for helping parents of special needs kids comes from my experiences with my own son, diagnosed at 2 with autism, and seeing the progress he has been able to make through years of intensive speech, behavioral, and occupational therapies. Years ago, accepting his diagnosis, trying to figure out which therapies would help him, learning how to put an education plan together, and negotiating his first IEP — all were enormously challenging for my wife and me. We learned “on the job,” and had to create a plan to cover whatever wasn’t already out there in pre-fabricated care plans. We also had to navigate conflicts of interest to get what was truly best for our son.We were lucky in that we had access to many great resources, tools, and expert advice, but life was still a tangled mass of checklists, paperwork, and permissions to treat and communicate.
My business partner Tom and I decided to found MySpecialChildGuide.com so that other parents facing these same circumstances wouldn’t have to reinvent all those tools from scratch; they would have a kit and path to follow during those critical years of their child’s early brain development.
Two of the guiding principles for our business are built on our experiences in our “day jobs” working in Silicon Valley. For me, building collaboration products for Cisco/WebEx, and earning degrees from MIT and the Wharton School of Business gave me a broad perspective of the kinds of resources that could combined to address a very complex set of problems: how to help parents achieve their goals in treating and educating their special needs kids.
We created MySpecialChildGuide.com to:
- be a purpose-built platform for teamwork and collaboration to connect parents of special needs kids with their care and education teams (which can be as few as a handful or upwards of 25 specialists on the case), and
- offer data-driven recommendations, drawn from continued engagement with those parents as their kids make progress against their goals, to bring about better outcomes for those kids.
-Tom Homewood, COO
I co-founded MySpecialChildGuide.com to help address some of the difficulties parents face in caring for and educating their special needs kids. I’ve learned much about their experiences through my wife, Sarah, who has worked extensively as a behavioral aide for children on the autism spectrum. And I’ve seen the tough choices friends like Russ and his family make while trying to create a plan of action for their child.
As COO, I bring a background in operations to My Special Child Guide, leading our business and channel partner development. I’m a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, with a Masters of Operations from the University of Southern California. I’ve worked with startups in the application platform and mobile apps delivery space in Silicon Valley, giving me an informed perspective on not only the process of developing and introducing an application, but also how a company can make a difference in peoples’ lives. And so we’ve created Special Child Guide as both an application and the ecosystem, to help parents track progress and make a difference in the outcomes for their children with special needs.