Resources for Individuals and Families With Disabilities or Special Needs

Raising a child is challenging on its own; when a child has additional emotional, intellectual, or physical needs, it can be too much for even the most experienced parent to handle alone. Fortunately, you are not alone: below are some of the best organizations, programs, and resources available to help you and your family thrive while managing any type of disability or special needs condition.

These resources cover everything from early childhood to adulthood, and can even help you if you are managing a disability yourself and need independent living information or support. Whether you or a family member was born with a handicap or became disabled later on, here you’ll find answers to common questions, and resources for every stage of life.

Organizations: Charities, Nonprofits, Programs, and Advocacy Groups

These resources will help you begin your education. You’ll get to learn about the basic rights and legal protections afforded to those with disabilities or special needs, as well as some basic financial protections and benefits you or your family may be able to access, including Social Security benefits. If you are a parent just trying to understand and prepare for your child’s condition, require some assistance with basic needs like mobility, or simply want to reach the larger community of people dealing with similar issues, the resources below will help you get started.

Parents: Raising and Caring for Children With Special Needs

These resources will help parents raising or expecting a child with special needs get proactive and prepare for their family’s journey. Many types of disabilities require special medical care or equipment, which can be both expensive and intimidating for new parents. Likewise, not all children will grow up to be fully autonomous adults, and may need some financial provision even after their parents are gone. You’ll find the information you need to consider and steps you can take below:

Education: From K-12 Special Education to College and Beyond

Education matters for everyone: from parents navigating early childhood programs and wanting to know more about special education laws and services, to parents of college students and even college graduates struggling with student loans. There are academic resources, financial aid programs, and important laws to know at every level of education, whether you are personally disabled or have a family member with any kind of special needs condition.

Teens, Young Adults, and Transitioning to Independence and Adulthood

Making the transition to adulthood and independence can be particularly fraught for both parents their children. Employment, healthcare, and housing opportunities and needs will vary according to a person’s level of autonomy. College and professional development will not look the same for everyone, but there are options no matter your background or health status. You can learn how to understand what independence means for different individuals, and how to find appropriate solutions to housing, higher education, and protecting your rights below:

Jobs, Employment, and Self-Help

Legal rights and protections for individuals with disabilities or special needs can look a lot different in adulthood or in the workplace. Whether you have a medical condition or a physical handicap of any kind, it is important to know how to protect and advocate for yourself. Sharing your experiences with others going through a similar journey can also be a powerful way both to cope with your own challenges, and give others a hand up. The resources below will help you find work, recognize when your rights are being violated at work, and how to meet and be of service to others going through a journey like yours.

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