Disability Advocacy Groups and Local Resources for Children With Special Needs
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If you have a child with a disability or special needs, then you know how difficult it can be to know where to turn. You’ll probably be assigned a case worker, but it’s important for you to delve into all the issues surrounding your child’s disability. Luckily, there are plenty of organizations out there willing and able to support you. Look through the list below to find the group best suited towards your needs.
National Disability Organizations and Advocacy Groups
National organizations will likely have more resources and power at their disposal, but it might be difficult to get their focused attention. Consider maintaining a casual relationship with these organizations.
- American Association of People with Disabilities– connects families affected by disabilities to promote beneficial change
- American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities– promote effective policy and research aimed at those with intellectual or developmental disabilities
- Easterseals– provides education, awareness promotion, and opportunities to people with Autism and other developmental disorders.
- TASH– focused on education and inclusivity between those with disabilities and those without
- The Arc– advocates for causes affecting those with intellectual or developmental disabilities
- United Cerebral Palsy– a collaboration of nonprofits dedicated to promoting the cause of those with cerebral palsy
Financial and Employment Assistance
- Broad Futures– focuses on helping young people with disabilities gain employment
- Supplemental Security Income– federal program reserved for the support of children with disabilities and/or special needs
- The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project– will assist with travel and medical equipment expenses
- US Business Leadership Network– aims to connect businesses with candidates who have disabilities
Additionally, check out charities for children with special needs. They might be able to help in ways that other organizations can’t.
- Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund– aims to properly train attorneys and law enforcement and protect the civil rights of people with disabilities and/or special needs
- National Disability Rights Network– advocates for the rights of people with disabilities and/or special needs
Finding Local Resources for Special Needs Families
However helpful national organizations can be, local agencies are more likely to touch your family directly. Not only do they have less people to focus on, but they can provide more direct support within your community. Especially for emotional support, you should look towards local resources.
Find Other Parents
Connecting with other parents of children with special needs or disabilities can be very helpful. Raising a child is never easy, but only other parents in similar situations as yours can fully comprehend how to manage. Not only can you lean on each other for emotional support, but you can also trade references and other resources.
You can find other parents by:
- Meetup.com is a website that facilitates people in your community meeting up to pursue common interests, and there are many groups dedicated to parents of children with disabilities and/or special needs.
- If your child attends school, ask to use some of their resources or exchange phone numbers with another parents when dropping off/picking up.
- Ask your social worker or counselor about how you could connect.
Find Other Local Resources
When your child receives his or her diagnosis, your doctor will direct you to some resources at that time. They will give you some helpful names and phone numbers, and you’ll be assigned a caseworker shortly.
Your caseworker can be one of your best resources, since they will have experience and connections in the community. Consult them on your options and ask for the names of helpful organizations. They might direct you to local charities, or give you tips on what terms to use with your insurance provider.
Additionally, your state’s Title V Agency can support your family’s healthcare needs. Find your specific agency by searching the federal Health and Human Services Website.
If you have a person with a disability and/or special needs in your family, finding the appropriate resources can be a lot harder than you might think. However, with some initiative, these organizations can really help your family succeed.
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Dayton is a chronic Wikipedia addict, which is detrimental to her social life but stellar for her writing. She resides in Boise, ID, surrounded by her own frantic outlines, highlighted encyclopedias, and potatoes. The latter was not by choice.
This post was updated May 8, 2018. It was originally published May 10, 2018.