Resources for Parents of Children With Disabilities

When parents put their energy into caring for their child, they may forget to care for themselves.  According to the American Psychological Association, parents of children with disabilities are especially at risk of caretaker stress and depression. Fortunately, there are a number of organizations and programs that provide support to children with disabilities and their families. With the right tool kit, parents can take care of themselves and create an environment where their child with a disability can thrive.

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Disability Resources for Parents 

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) – Early Intervention Services 
Children with disabilities that require assessment and treatment from a speech language pathologist can benefit from early intervention. This resource from ASHA explains how parents can gain access to early intervention services. 

ASHA ProFind 
To help parents of children with disabilities find a speech language pathologist or audiologist in their area, the ASHA website hosts a comprehensive directory of certified professionals that can be filtered by location and specialty. 

Center for Parent Information and Resources – Find Your Parent Center 
Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) and Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs) can help parents of children with disabilities participate in their development and education. This directory can help individuals find a parent center near them. – Services for Children with Disabilities 
This resource page provides links to a variety of information for parents seeking services for children with disabilities. Topic areas include finding childcare, education options, and other support systems. 

Family Voices – Find a Family-to-Family Health Information Center 
Family Voices is “a national organization and grassroots network of families and friends of children and youth with special healthcare needs and disabilities” to improve healthcare services for children with disabilities. This national directory helps families find information centers and health organizations affiliated with Family Voices. 

Federation for Children With Special Needs – Parents and Families 
The Federation for Children With Special Needs aims to “provide information, support, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities.” This resource page includes articles, information handouts, webinars and videos. 

Kids Health – Support for Parents of Kids With Special Needs 
Parents of children with disabilities and severe illnesses may sometimes struggle to ask for help when they need it. This article offers tips on how parents can seek support from family, friends and professionals. 

UNICEF – Caring for Children with Disabilities [VIDEO] In a video for UNICEF, child development expert Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan answers questions for parents about how they can best support and care for children with disabilities.

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Resources for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Information on Autism Spectrum Disorder for Families
The CDC offers a variety of resources for parents about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including a list of developmental milestones, facts about ASD, an explanation of treatments available, and a downloadable resource kit. 

Healthy Children – Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children
Powered by the American Academy of Pediatrics, this resource page answers common questions about ASD, the benefits of early intervention, tips for helping children with ASD build resilience, and more. 

National Autism Center – For Families
The National Autism Center is “a nonprofit organization dedicated to disseminating evidence-based information about the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Their information page for families includes the downloadable resource, “A Parent’s Guide to Evidence-based Practice and Autism,” to help parents navigate decisions related to treatment and other support for their child with ASD. 

The Child Mind Institute – Autism Spectrum Disorder Basics
This article from the Child Mind Institute offers high-level information about Autism Spectrum Disorder and can serve as a helpful resource for parents of children who have been recently diagnosed or are being assessed for a diagnosis. 

The Autism Society of America – Autism and Your Family
The Autism Society of America advocates for families and individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The organization’s resource page for families highlights strategies on how to show up for children with ASD, provide support to siblings of children with ASD, and practice self care to manage stress.

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Resources for Parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children

American Society for Deaf Children – Parents and Families 
Per its mission to be a “source of information for people who must make decisions about deaf children,” including families, healthcare providers, educators and policy makers, the American Society for Deaf Children offers a variety of resources for parents and families. This section of the organization’s website has articles on how to navigate challenges and provide support for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. 

Beginnings – For Parents
As an organization that strives to support youth who are deaf and hard of hearing, Beginnings provides “families the resources they need so they can make informed decisions for their children, and we help them understand their rights and their children’s rights.”

Described and Captioned Media Program – Parents’ Vital Supporting Role in Deaf/Hard of Hearing Education 
The Described and Captioned Media Program “provides premium media designed for students with disabilities.” This article provides information for parents on how they can play a part in the education of their child who is deaf or hard of hearing. 

EHDI-PALS – Find a Hearing Facility 
Created to help parents of deaf and hard of hearing children, this directory by Early Hearing Detection and Intervention allows users to search for audiology services for children from birth to age 5. Searches can be narrowed by multiple factors, including language and payment options and appointment availability. 

Kids Health – Cochlear Implants (for Parents)  
Pursuing the option of a cochlear implant for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing is a major decision. This article from Kids Health offers basic information on how cochlear implants work, the potential benefits and risks, and how parents can support their child if they do get a cochlear implant. 

National Association of the Deaf (NAD) – Information for Parents 
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is a “civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals.” The group offers a resource page for parents of newly identified deaf or hard of hearing children, which includes information on language and communication, assistive technology, and how to navigate the first steps of seeking care for hearing impairment. 

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) – What Are Cochlear Implants for Hearing? 
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) conducts research on hearing impairment, speech and language disorders, and other related conditions. This resource offers information about cochlear implants as a potential aid for deaf and hard of hearing children. 

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Resources for Parents About Speech and Language Disorders

Apraxia Kids – New to Apraxia? 
Apraxia Kids aims to provide information to parents and providers about childhood apraxia of speech. This resource page gives an overview of the speech disorder including how it is diagnosed and treated. The organization also links to other relevant articles and tools for apraxia awareness. 

ASHA – How Parents Can Help Children With Speech and Language Disorders in Virtual and Modified In-Person Classroom Settings
With the introduction of virtual and modified in-person learning due to COVID-19, children with speech and language disorders may need extra support. This guide from ASHA explains how parents can support their child and address challenges such as the requirement of masks, changes in routine, and limited social practice due to isolation. 

CDC – Language and Speech Disorders in Children
This CDC resource provides high-level information about speech and language disorders, along with tips on early detection and what to do if a child is showing signs of delayed speech or language development. 

Healthy Children – Language Delays in Toddlers: Information for Parents 
Part of early intervention for children who may have a language delay is keeping track of age milestones. This resource provides a general timeline for language development, and what to expect when raising concerns with a child’s healthcare provider. 

Mayo Clinic – Childhood Apraxia of Speech Symptoms and Causes
This article by the Mayo Clinic can serve as a starting point for parents who suspect their child may have childhood apraxia of speech. Information includes details about the speech disorder, potential symptoms, and other helpful information. 

Speech Disorder Resource Guide for K-12 Students
This article highlights resources for educators and parents to better support children in grades K-12 with speech and language disorders. The organizations and tools featured in this list primarily focus on social and academic success in the classroom. 

Teaching Resilience in Children With Speech and Language Disorders
Building resilience in children with speech and language disorders can be beneficial to their development of self confidence and emotional awareness. This resource provides tips for parents on how they can talk to their children about their emotions and develop skills to navigate social situations.

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Support Groups and Programs 

AG Bell – Parent Support Line
Named after famous inventor Alexander Graham Bell, this organization supports the deaf and hard of hearing community. AG Bell offers a hotline for parents of children with hearing impairment to seek support and have questions answered by other parents who have experienced similar challenges. 

Best Buddies – U.S. Programs Directory 
Best Buddies is an organization with a national network of programs that pair individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with a fellow peer. Through these programs, volunteers help foster friendship and inclusion for adolescents and children with disabilities. This directory allows parents to find a program in their area. 

Friendship Circle – 25 Summer Camps For Individuals With Special Needs
Summer camp can be a great opportunity for children with disabilities to have fun, build confidence, and make friends. This roundup includes a list of camps that are designed specifically for children with disabilities. 

Hearing Health Foundation – Summer Camp Directory
Spending time with relatable peers and participating in accessible activities can be beneficial to children with disabilities. This directory includes a variety of summer camps for children who are deaf and hard of hearing.  

MyAutismTeam – Autism Parents Support Online
This social network was developed to connect parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Users can seek support from other parents, ask for advice, and share their experiences to help others. 

P2P USA – Find a Parent-to-Parent Near You
The mission of Parent to Parent USA is to “ensure access to quality emotional support for families of individuals with disabilities and/or special health care needs.” The organization connects parents of children with disabilities to a volunteer support parent for regular phone calls. 

The Autism Society of America – National Helpline 
As part of its goal to support families and parents of children with autism spectrum disorder, the Autism Society of America runs a national helpline for parents. The hotline connects parents with an information and referral specialist who can answer questions and connect individuals with helpful resources. 

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Financial Assistance Information

ECTA Center – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires public schools to provide children with disabilities a free education tailored to their needs. This resource page by Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center explains how the program works and answers frequently answered questions so parents can ensure their child is given the proper accommodations. 

Hearing Loss Association of America – Financial Assistance 
With the goal of providing assistance to families whose health insurance does not cover the cost of hearing devices, this resource page from the Hearing Loss Association of America lists several programs for financial assistance. 
Powered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, this website provides parents with information to determine if their child qualifies for free or low-cost health and dental coverage through Medicaid & the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

Red Treehouse – Financial Support For Children With Special Needs And Medical Challenges 
Red Treehouse’s goal is to support families and children with disabilities and other health issues. This resource provides a list of funding and grant opportunities to pay for healthcare costs. 

Small Steps In Speech – Grant Application
Small Steps in Speech offers grants to individuals ages 3 to 22 to cover the costs associated with treating speech and language disorders. Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis.

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