General Resources for Families
Massachusetts Department of Education
State agency that oversees policy and funding distribution to Massachusetts towns and cities. Also responsible for state higher education and continuing education.
Massachusetts Advocates for Children (formerly Massachusetts Advocacy Center)
A private non-profit organization dedicated to being an independent and effective voice for children who face significant barriers to equal educational and life opportunities
Autism Special Education Legal Support Center, Mass. Advocates for Children http://www.massadvocates.org/autism-center.php
Operates a hotline (617-357-8431, ext. 234) that offers free advocacy assistance, referral, and answers to questions about educational rights of children on the autism spectrum.
MCAS Brochures, Mass. Advocates for Children
Designed to help students with disabilities who fail MCAS, and their parents, understand their rights and ensure that the student receives legally required and appropriate supports and services. Available in English and Spanish (Disponible en español).
Interactive Online IEP Preparation Tool
This tool, created by Parents Helping Parents, is designed to help parents to organize their thoughts and records before attending an IEP meeting, so that ideally they enter the meeting feeling prepared. The tool was designed for parents whose children currently have an IEP.
Federation for Children with Special Needs
The Federation is a non-profit organization providing information and services for parent advocates and parent organizations involved with children with special needs. Publications include a detailed Parent's Guide to Special Education, written in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Education.
National Center for Learning Disabilities
Provides information about the types of accommodations & modifications that can help individuals with learning disabilities and other intellectual disabilities to participate in school or work in a way that matches their learning strengths and needs.
Positive Parenting Resource Center
Hosted at The United Arc, the Center provides a variety of services and supports to families headed by parents with cognitive challenges, intellectual limitations, or learning disabilities. Also sponsors The New England Coalition for Supporting Parents with Cognitive Challenges and publishes the Positive Parenting Quarterly. For more information, contact Susan Jones, Positive Parenting Coordinator at The United Arc, at (413) 774-5558, x 1005, or firstname.lastname@example.org
An organization dedicated to the early identification and intervention of children with developmental delays and disorders. Provides detailed information, screening guidelines, and other resources to help parents, educators, healthcare providers, and other professionals recognize the first signs of a developmental delay or disorder. Also provides information on a wide variety of treatments, therapies, and approaches for children with developmental disorders.
Massachusetts Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities
Find direct care, educational, legal, healthcare, and other professionals; special education schools and learning centers; treatment programs; community centers; parent groups; respite care; grassroots organizations; government programs; and much more for children with disabilities.
National FindFamily Registry at TheArcLink.org
A joint project of The Arc and TheArcLink, the National FindFamily Registry is an online database which offers the opportunity to match families with their missing family member with a disability. For decades, parents of children with disabilities were advised by professionals to institutionalize their child and in effect "forget you ever had them." Of the more than 500,000 people in out-of-home residential settings, experts report that a high percentage have no regular contact with their family. The FindFamily Registry offers the opportunity for families which were separated by institutionalization and out-of-home placement to reunite, while also protecting the privacy and safety of the Registry's users.
Religion and Spirituality Resources
A selected listing of websites offering resources and information for people with disabilities.
A listing or state and local organizations providing information, services and referral for persons with autism.
SPED Child of Massachusetts
Offers valuable information on Special Needs workshops, seminars and more regarding financial help, legal help, and free or low cost family and support programs. There is a special section on programs just for teens and young adults and their unique needs.
Benefits and Assistance
Family Resource Guide
A guide to benefits, supports and services for families raising children with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities. Developed by The Arc of the U.S. in conjunction with The Arc of Massachusetts. (Adobe Acrobat Reader required)
Benefits for Children with Disabilities
A booklet for the parents, caregivers, or representatives of children under age 18 who have disabilities that might make them eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Designed to help you decide if your child might be eligible for Social Security or SSI, and to help you apply for benefits if your child is eligible. A publication of the U.S. Social Security Administration.
Formerly known as the Department of Public Welfare, this is the state agency responsible for administering public assistance programs for needy citizens of Massachusetts. Programs DTA oversees include:
-Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC)
-Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC)
-Food Stamp Benefits
-Emergency Assistance (EA)
-Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Department of Transitional Assistance
The Division for Special Health Needs
Part of the state Department of Public Health, plans, implements and evaluates public health programs for individuals with disabilities or special needs throughout the life span.
Living & Working with a Disability: Tax Benefits & Credits
This publication from the IRS presents basic information about existing tax credits and benefits that may be available to qualifying taxpayers with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, and businesses or other entities wishing to accommodate persons with disabilities.
Financial Advisors and Lawyers