Librarian's Picks: Children with Special Needs.

'Quick picks' from librarians at the National Rehabilitation Information Center.

More than 5 million children and adolescents with disabilities participate in special education programs each year. Two-thirds of those children have either developmental disabilities or emotional/behavioral problems or both. Where can parents turn for information, support, and assistance? The federal government provides a variety of community-based services for children with special needs. Programs vary by state. Contact your state's health agency for information on the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Contact your state's education department for information on early intervention and special education programs. If you cannot locate these numbers, please call NARIC for assistance. Use this guide to find an organization or agency which can help you and your child to succeed.

For more resources, visit our Ready Reference page for Resources for Families or search the Knowledgebase. You may also download the brochure in PDF format at the bottom of this page. Disponible en español.

Statistics from H. S. Kaye (1997), Disability Statistics Abstract 19: Education of Children with Disabilities. Disability Statistics Center, University of California, San Francisco.

Assistive Technology

Alliance for Technology Access
Phone: 800/914-3017 (V); 731/554-5284 (TTY)
A nationwide network of technology resource centers, community-based organizations, agencies, individuals, and companies. Provides information and support services to people of all ages and all disabilities, relative to the use of computer and assistive technology (AT). Call the national office for information on a center in your area. Web site contains information on centers, newsletters, and links.

Each state and territory has an AT technical assistance project to assist citizens in accessing AT products and services. They will also have information about alternative financing for AT. Find your state’s project at call NARIC at 800/346-2742.
Family Center on Technology and Disability
Phone: 202/884-8588
The Center serves organizations and programs that work with families of children and youth with disabilities. Offers a range of information and services on the subject of assistive technology for organizations, parents, educators, and those interested in education of children with disabilities. Website includes AT reviews, a resource library, member network, and an online discussion forum.


Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER)
Toll Free: 800/838-9000
Phone: 952/537-2237
The mission of PACER Center is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents. Through more than 30 projects, PACER provides individual assistance, workshops, publications, and other resources to help families make decisions about education and other services for their child or young adult with disabilities.
Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
Phone: 704/947-7779
AHEAD is a professional membership organization for people involved in providing services to persons with disabilities in all areas of higher education. They produce a wide variety of publications that address disability challenges and solutions in higher education and beyond and publish the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability. Their website includes information for students with disabilities and their parents.
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)
Phone: 510/644-2555 (V)
Fax/TTY: 510/841-8645
Dedicated to furthering the civil rights of persons with disabilities. Helps parents secure educational and related services as laws dictate. Educates lawyers, service providers, government officials, and many others about disability civil rights laws and policies. Web site includes mission statement and ADA related information.
Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center
Phone: 919/962-2001
Provides technical assistance and support to states and territories for early childhood implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Offers publications, research and reference materials, topic-specific resources, and links to state-level special education programs for families and advocates of young children with special needs to help understand their rights under IDEA. The “Families” webpage helps families to connect with other families and find resources related to caring for infants, toddlers and young children with disabilities.

Information and Support

Parent to Parent USA
Parent to Parent of the United States (P2PUSA) programs offer information and emotional support to parents and families of children with special health care needs, disabilities, or mental health issues by matching individuals seeking support with an experienced or trained Support Parent. Find a Parent to Parent program in each state at
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
Phone: 800/232-4636 (V); 888/232-6348 (TTY)
Seeks to identify the causes of birth defects and developmental disabilities; help children to develop and reach their full potential; and promote health and well-being among people of all ages with disabilities. Offers factsheets and information resources on each of their four focus areas: saving babies, helping children, protecting people, and improving health.
National Easter Seal Society
Phone: 800/221-6827
Easter Seals provides services, education, outreach, and advocacy so that people living with autism and other disabilities can live, learn, work and play in their communities. Services and support are provided through a network of more than 550 sites in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Each center provides innovative services tailored to meet the specific needs of the people they serve. Website lists affiliates by state.
EP (Exceptional Parent)
Phone: 800/372-7368 ext. 234
Magazine and webpage for parents of children with disabilities. Publishes an annual resource guide which includes companies, organizations, and state and federal agencies. 
Through the Looking Glass’ (TLG) National Center for Parents with Disabilities and their Families
Phone: 800/644-2666 (V); 510/848-4445 (TTY)
TLG is a nationally recognized center that has pioneered research, training, and services for families in which a child, parent or grandparent has a disability or medical issue. Produces and provides materials regarding parenting with a disability. Consolidates and disseminates information from other organizations. Provides training services to parents and service providers. Website includes program description, a list of available reports and related links.

Internet Resources

Advocacy and Inclusion
Families and Disabilities Research
Advocacy and Support for Families
Information and Referral
Resources for Parents and Kids
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