Psychology Degree Guide: Resources for Children with Disabilities
Millions of children are dramatically affected by a plethora of disabilities. Learning how to manage the issues surrounding these disabilities can be highly challenging. As part of our on going library of psychological guides, the Resources for Children with Disabilities presents highly valuable tools for understanding this issue. This collection of resources should be especially helpful for parents and family members of those with disabilities.
Playing an important role in the development of legislation and general awareness, advocacy groups have a profound impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities. Advocacy groups are often highly motivated to enact positive change that ensures rights and equal opportunities for those with disabilities. Furthermore, many of these groups are dedicated to providing invaluable services to families and affected individuals. Speaking on behalf of those who are unable to represent themselves, such groups are sometimes wholly responsible for significant improvements to quality of life.
- Advocates Across America is devoted to providing assistance and training for families and educators of special needs children. Operating on a national level, this advocacy group works to improve the lives of children with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.
- American Association of People with Disabilities is the United States’ biggest cross-disability organization. This group is dedicated to initiating national change and implementing goals as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America – Dedicated to education, advocacy and research, the AAFA is interested in supporting those with allergies and asthma. The oldest asthma and allergy patient group in the world, the AAFA has a history of providing practical information.
- American Foundation for the Blind – The AFB provides information and services for the blind through this easily navigable website. Find a community section, online publications and lifestyle tips for living with blindness.
- American Childhood Cancer Organization is focused on educating, supporting and advocating for the families of children with cancer. Also available here is advocacy information including collaborations, committees, and awareness events as well as current childhood cancer legislation
- The Families and Advocates Partnership for Education is devoted to improving education outcomes for children with disabilities. Operating around the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), this organization is a response to the information needs of millions of families whose children are affected by disabilities.
- Children’s Defense Fund – Working to provide a voice for all children of America, the CDF plays a major role in furthering policies that would benefit disadvantaged children. Further, the CDF educates the nation of the needs of children.
- National Center for Learning Disabilities – Raising public awareness of the issue of children and adults with disabilities, the NCLD works to ensure a greater understanding of their problems. The NCLD also works to enact legislation and community based support on the behalf of those with disabilities.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness – NAMI is dedicated to informing individuals about the presence of mental illnesses and the need to provide support. Also provided is a legislation center and access to online communities.
- The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities provides a great deal of information related to disabilities and child development. Here you can find fact sheets on specific disabilities, major categories of disabilities as outlined by IDEA, and information for babies as well as children age three to twenty-two. Also available in Spanish.
It is essential that underserved and disabled children are able to receive proper education. Education is significant in developing social skills, communication ability and understanding the surrounding world. The social integration of individuals with disabilities begins during childhood. With appropriate accommodation and assistance, disabled individuals can successfully begin integration into society through education in public school. It is also important that individuals with disabilities have access to education in order to ensure that their rights are being realized.
- Center for Law and Education – CLE works to ensure a quality education for all individuals. Acting on a national level, this organization is involved in shaping disability and education legislation.
- The ALLIANCE National Parent Technical Assistance Center offers groundbreaking technical assistance, detailed information regarding disabilities, and a number of other quality resources. NPTAC also works to solidify parent/professional partnerships, ultimately achieving more effective instruction.
- IDEA stands for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and is a law responsible for ensuring that children with disabilities have access to necessary and appropriate services. The official government website of IDEA includes resources for the regulations that determine implementation as well as the law itself.
- NICHCY Evidence for Education – Made available by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, this section explores evidence-based educational practices. Designed to help anybody who wishes to educate children, these resources explain how to best teach children with specific disabilities. These highly detailed books can be found in full, and for free at this website.
- Educating Children with Disabilities is a publication produced by the American Youth Policy Forum that details work that has been done in the area of education, while arguing for greater improvements. This resource shows that the AYPF is devoted to changing the educational landscape of America in order to better educate children with disabilities.
- Office of Education and Rehabilitative Services – A subcategory of the Department of Education, the OSERS works to fully integrate people with disabilities into society. Specifically, the OSERS makes resources available for educating and ensuring the rights of disabled students.
- Protecting Students with Disabilities – Hosted by the Office of Civil Rights, this resource aimed at protecting students with disabilities explains section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Read about the interrelationship of IDEA and Section 504, as well as how OCR operates regarding discriminatory issues surrounding students with disabilities.
- Education and Children with Disabilities – Hosted by UNESCO, this website provides an overview of the problems children with disabilities face. Also provided are many helpful informational guides for effectively teaching these students.
- Teaching Children with Disabilities in Inclusive Settings – A booklet provided by UNESCO that examines how to effectively create a beneficial and safe environment for children with disabilities. Included are common barriers to learning for students with disabilities as well as how to overcome them.
- Education for Children with Disabilities – Improving Access and Quality is a pamphlet that discusses how to achieve higher educational quality and access for children with disabilities. Provided by the UK Department for International Development, this resource explores educational goals and standards for teaching those with disabilities. Employing an international perspective, the information presented is highly valuable to populations around the world, while providing sound general information on the subject.
- Children With Disabilities Chapter – Taken from the Guidebook for Planning Education in Emergencies and Reconstruction, this chapter considers educational access and inclusion for students with disabilities. The Children with Disabilities chapter provides helpful information regarding how to create productive educational settings for students with disabilities, specifically in emergency affected areas.
- Educating Children with Disabilities In Developing Countries – A guidebook focused on improving education for children with disabilities in developing countries, this resource examines topics that may also be of interest to general practices for educating children with special needs. Included is discussion of students with disabilities and understanding their needs based on impairment.
Another significant component affecting social integration is employment for those with disabilities. Deserving opportunities for fair employment and compensation, there are many structures in place to ensure that the disabled receive equal opportunities. A number of regulations prohibiting employment discrimination while increasing retention have been enacted in order to protect those with disabilities.
- AskJan.org – The Job Accommodation Network works to provide individuals with disabilities into fair and equal employment opportunities. Publications and resources related to employment and disability are also included.
- Office of Disability Employment Policy also known as ODEP, is a government organization dedicated to ensuring equal employment opportunities for those with disabilities.
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management works in order to help individuals with disabilities understand available hiring programs. This website also discusses available accommodations for those with disabilities in the workplace as well as frequently asked questions regarding employment discrimination. Helpful for those with disabilities and employers alike, you can find many resources explaining matters related to employment.
- United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – The EEOC is a government organization dedicated to enforcing equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities (as well as individuals of all types). At this website you can find legislation regarding employment as well as related publications and statistics.
- Model Strategies for Recruitment and Hiring of People With Disabilities – Responding to Executive Order 13548, the Model Strategies for Recruitment and Hiring of People with Disabilities memorandum includes guidelines for implementation. Summarizing key requirements of the executive order, this document further discusses best practices for hiring and retaining employees with disabilities.
- Assistive Technology Program – An archived copy of the Assistive Technology Program shows earlier steps taken to ensure proper accommodation of federal employees with disabilities. Here you can review available services and specialized software.
Among the greatest concerns for parents and families of children with disabilities are health issues. The following resources will explain the basic health implications and concerns present with each disability. Covering physical issues such as vision impairment and developmental issues such as autism, these resources also provide access to prominent organizations. Given the broad variety of disabilities, resources have been organized by major categories.
Hearing Impairment & Deafness
- Hearing Loss in Children details the effects of hearing loss experienced in children. The ability to communicate effectively, including the development of language and social skills is greatly impaired.
Visual Impairment & Blindness
- Vision Impairment refers to eyesight that cannot be restored to a normal level. Provided at this website are fact sheets, family resources, and publications.
- A Parent’s Guide to Special Education for Children with Visual Impairments – The American Foundation for the Blind offers this description of the popular guidebook for parents. Here you can read about book contributors and access editorial reviews.
- Family Connect is a website aimed at parents of children with visual impairments. At this website you can read about personal stories, community events, and advice on raising children with visual impairments.
- Visual Impairment Fact Sheet – Hosted by NICHCY, this fact sheet defines visual impairment. Also discussed are educational implications, and resources available for help.
Learning Disabilities & Developmental delay
- National Institute of Mental Health – Leading organization that works to prevent and cure mental illnesses. Additionally, the NIMH is dedicated to educating people about mental illnesses and their impacts.
- Autism Spectrum Disorders – Hosted by the CDC, this autism specific website explains health issues related to developmental disabilities. You can also learn more about health care providers and educators at this website.
- Intellectual Disability is a fact sheet presented by the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental disabilities. Here you can read about the causes of intellectual disability, available resources, and how general health can be improved.
Speech or Language Impairment
- Child Speech and Language – Made available by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, this guide defines common speech and language disorders. Additionally, frequently asked questions and communication options are explored.
- Delayed Speech or Language Development - An easy to follow guide related to the delayed development of speech in children. Learn about what is normal, and what may indicate speech and language learning development issues.
- Resources for Paralysis provides information regarding access to health programs and specific health resources.
- Paralysis Resource Center – Hosted by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the Paralysis Resource Center offers services and information regarding a variety of types of paralysis. Also provided are quality of life grants and information on assistive technology.
- Traumatic Brain Injury is a severe public health concern, that can greatly affect learning and the ability to function regularly. Learn about how to manage symptoms at this website.
- Spinal Cord Injury Fact Sheet – A result of trauma to the spinal column, SCI contributes to morbidity and mortality. The provided fact sheet explains the complications and occurrence of this disability.
Many legal guidelines and structures stand in place in order to ensure the rights of children with disabilities. Here you can find essential legal documents related to disabilities such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and some executive orders. The following resources explore legal issues surrounding the disabled community.
- Americans with Disabilities Act – A triumph for the rights of individuals with disabilities, this act prohibits discrimination and enforces equal opportunities. Here you can find a full text of the act as well as related legislation.
- Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law – The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is a legal center dedicated to promoting the rights of individuals with mental disabilities. Particularly interested in providing access to legal services, and improving community integration.
- A Guide to Disability Rights Laws – The U.S. Department of Justice hosts the Guide to Disability Rights Laws which details major laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Rehabilitation Act. Provided discussion explains these acts in layman’s terms, making it more accessible to the general population.
- Federal Employement of People with Disabilities: Laws presents laws relating to the employment and retention of employees with disabilities. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is given significant attention.
- National Defense Authorization Acts – The Department of Defense lists previous National Defense Authorization Acts here. These laws are significant as they have resulted in assistive technology programs for those with disabilities.
This section provides access to basic information for parents and families of children with disabilities. Including definitions of leading disabilities and parenting strategies, this section presents practical information. The following resources also offer opportunities to interact with members of the community who may be experiencing similar issues.
- Family Voices is a national organization that provides information regarding the health care of children with special needs. Here you can find basic information as well as tools and guidebooks for free online, or the cost of shipping for physical copies.
- Family Village is a community based website operated by the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Find general information and resources for children with disabilities as well as communication opportunities.
- Exceptional Parent Magazine – A source of information, support and encouragement for parents and families of children with disabilities. Here you can find topics related to health, law, and employment opportunities.
- Disabled World provides an overview of disabilities and definitions as outlined by IDEA. Also presented are sections on disability and education as well as health concerns.
- Benefits and Barriers to Fitness for Children With Disabilities – The National Center on Physical Activity and Disabilities offers this article on the issue of exercise for children with disabilities. Discussed are exercise options and leading organizations that can provide help.
- Camps for Kids with Special Needs – Hosted by kidshealth.org, the Camps for Kids with Special Needs website discusses different types of camps available as well as resulting benefits. Tips and advice on questions to ask and things to consider in finding the right camp are offered.
- Girlshealth.gov hosts an illness and disability section which covers many important issues for young girls with disabilities. Some included topics are tips to boost self-esteem, coping during tough times, how to stay active, and getting along with other people.
- Individualized Education Programs are simply explained at this KidsHealth.org website. Learn about how IEPs work, and what they have to offer.