The Jean Baton Swindells Resource Center for Children and Families connects families, caregivers and friends of children with disabilities to resources, information and training. Families come to the Swindells Center seeking answers to many of the questions that surface in their everyday lives.
In 2008, the Swindells Resource Center approached TRI to build their new public website, the Child Disability Connection, and rebuild their contact management application. This relationship grew out of an existing partnership with the OrPTI that I brought to TRI when I was hired in 2005. In spite of insistence from Providence Hospital information technology staff that they be allowed to build the website, Swindells felt that TRI has the right combination of project management and technical capacity to complete the project to their satisfaction.
The Child Disability Connection website provides access to the Swindells lending library and conferences for parents or care providers of special needs children. Visitors can create an account, search the library for materials, check out books online, register for events and even determine if their child requires a special needs diagnosis.
The Home Page
The home page presents an inviting entry into the main features of the site. From here, a visitor can conduct a search for library items, view upcoming conferences and events and find local service providers based on a diagnosis. Visitors with accounts can login to their account right from the home page as well.
The lending library is the heart of the Child Disability Connection website. The Swindells Center has almost 3,000 books available for checkout. Descriptions of every book are presented and the ability to checkout a book with one click makes the library simple for visitors to use. Swindells Center staff receive checkout requests via email and through the backend administration system.
Parents or caretakers of children can search for local resources and service providers through the site as well. If the child has a diagnosis, the visitor can simple search by selecting the appropriate diagnosis. On the other hand, if a parent suspects that their child may be impaired but does not have a diagnosis, the site provides a developmental milestone checklist that the visitor can use to determine if a diagnosis should be sought.
After selecting the age of the child, the visitor is presented with a screen listing age appropriate developmental milestones. The visitor selects which milestones the child has mastered or is beginning to master.
Once the milestone checklist has been completed, an algorithm calculates whether or not the child may benefit from seeking a professional diagnosis. A list of service providers is displayed based on the visitors' location. The visitor can print their child's developmental milestone chart and the service provider list for future reference.
The Swindells Center lists conferences, lectures and classes designed for caretakers of special needs children. Site visitors can view upcoming events, view maps of venue locations and even register for an event through the website.
The Administration Area
An extensive site administration and contact management system are also part of this project. Through the administration area, Swindells Center staff can record contacts from parents (by phone, email, in person or the website), process checkout requests, update the library and service provider databases, update the events calendar and view information on people who have registered to attend events.
The client information area is probably the most important aspect of the contact management system. Here, staff can see the entire history an individual or family has with the Swindells Resource Center. In addition, client disability, medical provider and insurance information can be viewed. Staff can see which library items have been checked, which events the client has attended and if the client has received care notebooks or brochures from the Swindells Center.
This feature gives staff a holistic view of a client, their children and immediate family members allowing the Swindells Center to offer more customized services to their clients.
Multiple Language Support
The public website is available in 3 languages: English, Spanish and Russian. In order to update the text for buttons, menus and other user interface elements, I designed a simple administration feature that allows a user to enter translations for each interface element.