Families who have a child with a disability present a variety of unique concerns. It is critical that parents and children connect with other families and professionals for support and to learn cutting edge information about the world of disability. Sharing similar experiences and building relationships is the key for the family to support their child with respect and dignity.
National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
The NFB was founded in 1940 by individuals who were blind and demanded equal access to everything their sighted peers could access. Today, the NFB not only continues to fight for civil rights, but also creates and implements cutting edge methods for teaching individuals of all ages with a visual impairment. Affiliates are found in all 50 states as well as at the local level. Parents can seek help through the NFB to learn more about teaching their child how to gain confidence and independence. Families can seek reassurance by connecting with other blind individuals who have mastered independent cane travel and activities of daily living.
Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
The CEC focuses on the educational aspect of raising a child with a disability. While this organization primarily involves professionals in the field of special education, parents can be active at the national, state and local level. Parents can connect with other families and professionals in the field to access information about special education law and how their child will receive a free appropriate public education individualized to their needs.
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)
NICHCY provides information for families who have a child with a disability, serving children from birth to early 20s. Parents will find an abundance of information regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the impact it has on their child’s schooling. Families can also access information on how to care for their child at home and connect with other parents and children with similar experiences.
The Autism Society was founded in 1965 by professionals and parents who had direct experience involving children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). One of the focuses of the Autism Society is to support parents in teaching their children appropriate social skills and self-advocacy skills. This organization encourages parents to get other family members involved by creating a circle of support around the child. The Autism Society is based out of Maryland, but there are state and local affiliates throughout the nation to support parents and children.
TASH has been supporting individuals with disabilities and their families for more than 35 years. The purpose of this organization is to create a world where children with disabilities can experience life without barriers. Developing full inclusion in schools and communities is a primary focus of TASH. Parents can receive support through TASH by participating in their multiple trainings, which demonstrate how to teach children self-advocacy skills. TASH is also available to assist parents in assuring that their child is treated as equally as their non-disabled peers.