New Bright Horizons program seeks to help working parents of special needs children

A child in repose at a day-care center run by Bright Horizons. File photo: Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff.

Watertown-based Bright Horizons Family Solutions, which helps companies provide day-care services and other “work/life” benefits to their employees, said it has added a program designed to help working parents cope with special-needs children.

The new program is officially titled “Special and Exceptional Needs, powered by myEdGPS.”

The program is in collaboration with myEdGPS, a Braintree-based firm that helps the working parents of children with autism and other special and exceptional needs.


“Navigating educational services for students with special or exceptional needs can be a frustrating and costly experience for parents faced with the process of diagnosing and planning out the most effective and well-suited educational direction for their child,” Bright Horizons chief executive David Lissy said in a statement. “For working parents who are trying to manage all of these tasks and maintain their work responsibilities, the situation can be daunting.  We have heard from employers that employees experiencing this need resources that help them to manage this complex challenge in order to maintain their productivity.”

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 The Bright Horizons press release noted that there are more than 19 million children in the US with autism, ADHD, learning disabilities and other special or exceptional needs. According to a recent CDC report, one child in every 68 has an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, a 30 percent increase from 2012.

Biogen Idec Inc., a Cambridge-based biotechnology company with more than 3,000 employees in Massachusetts, was the first company to sign up on for Special and Exceptional Needs program, Bright Horizons said.

As a company that seeks to develop drugs that can improve lives, the new Bright Horizons program aligns with Biogen Idec’s mission, said Susan McGowan, US employee benefits leader at Biogen Idec.

For the subset of Biogen Idec employees with special needs children, the new program offers a “high-value benefit,” she said.

Chris Reidy can be reached at