There are many resources available to help parents effectively advocate for a child with a disability. Sometimes parents need to learn about the different laws, regulations, disabilities and educational approaches that may apply to their child.
However, sometimes a parent needs more support, especially if the child is being discriminated against or if the school district is failing to fulfill its legal obligations. The state and federal resources are covered in a different section of this website. Below, are some other types of organizations that parents might find helpful:
- ABOARD (Advisory Board on Autism & Related Disorders): ABOARD offers parents and other interested parties with a wide array of information related to autism. The Pittsburgh based group has an extensive library and offers workshops, seminars and advocacy among other services such as regular news updates.
- THE ARC OF PA: Advocacy and Resources for Citizens with Cognitive, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ARC) is the largest advocacy organization in the United States for people with these type of disabilities. ARC of Pennsylvania has 35 local chapters that serve 47 Pennsylvania counties. While ARC of Pennsylvania focuses on governmental affairs and broad policy changes, the local chapters offer individual help and advocacy.
- AUTISM SOCIETY OF AMERICA-Philadelphia Chapter : The ASA Philadelphia chapter is committed to advocating for people on the autism spectrum and their families. The group promotes full inclusion through advocacy, public awareness, education and, research activities.
- CHILDREN WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDERS (CHADD): this organization is one of the leading groups in the nation dedicated to helping children with attention deficit disorders. The group emphasizes education and advocacy services to fulfill its mission of improving the life of children with attention deficit disorders.
- DISABILITY RIGHTS NETWORK OF PENNSYLVANIA: this group's mission is to advance, protect and advocate for the rights of Pennsylvania citizens with disabilities. It uses education, advocacy and litigation to fulfill its mission. It also has a lot of written guidance about special education on its website.
- LEARNING DISABILITIES ASSOC. OF PA: Since 1963, the LDA has been providing parents, educators and other interested people with information and resources to support students with learning disabilities. Information is also available for adults with learning disabilities.
- PARENT EDUCATION NETWORK: PEN is Pennsylvania's statewide Parent Training and Information Center. It provides parents with a lot of information about laws, legal matters and different services and programs available to Pennsylvania special education students.
- PENNSYLVANIA INITIATIVE ON ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY: Assistive technology needs to be considered as part of the services and aids provided to special education students. This initiative is for all Pennsylvanians with disabilities as well as older Pennsylvanians. Information about finding, acquiring and using appropriate assistive technology is available.
- LD Online: this website about learning disabilities and ADHD provides lots of information and resources for parents, teachers and children with learning disabilities or ADHD.
Finding accurate and useful information can be invaluable in the special education process. It can help you, the parent, protect your child's rights and help develop a carefully designed education program that will enable your child to meet his or her individual goals and succeed in the general curriculum.