Resources For Parents and Families
ABOARD’s Autism Connection of PA
“ABOARD’s Autism Connection of PA provides autism support across the state of Pennsylvania. We offer autism support to parents, including autism support groups, autism resources, and autism conferences and events. We also provide information on the signs and symptoms of autism, getting an autism diagnosis, and applying for medical assistance and health insurance. Finally, we help people with autism by providing information on autism treatments, links to autism research studies, and support groups for people on the spectrum.”
“ACHIEVA, formerly Arc Allegheny, is western Pennsylvania’s largest provider of comprehensive services and supports for children and adults with disabilities and their families.
The Arc of Pennsylvania
“The Arc is the largest advocacy organization in the United States for citizens with cognitive, intellectual, and developmental disabilities, and their families. The Arc of Pennsylvania is the state chapter of The Arc. The Arc’s mission is to work to include all children and adults with cognitive, intellectual, and developmental disabilities in every community. We promote active citizenship and inclusion in every community.” Find you local chapter at:, http://www.thearcpa.org/who_we_are/local-chapters.html
Arcadia is one of PEAC’s university partners and does excellent work in the field of inclusion and educating our future teachers. Follow the links through the Academic Programs tab to the Graduate, Education, and Special Education degree pages.
ASCEND Group Inc., the Asperger and Autism Alliance for Greater Philadelphia
A network of families and professionals serving individuals with ASD and related disorders. “Our mission is to raise public awareness about Asperger Syndrome and related disorders, to advocate for improved education and services, and to provide support and information to the Asperger and autism community.”
“Pennsylvania’s Leading Source of Autism-Related Resources and Information.” ASERT aims to enhance the lives of Pennsylvanians with autism of all ages and abilities by:
· Improving regional access to quality services and interventions
· Providing information and support to families
· Training professionals in best practices
· Facilitating connections between individuals, families, professionals, and providers throughout the Commonwealth.”
Autism Society of America – Greater Philadelphia Chapter
The Autism Society, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.
Bully Free Friends
Bully Free Friends (BFFs) is a program for middle and high school aged youth who have experienced bullying. BFFs provides a safe, bully free zone for socialization, peer support, and education at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit. Meetings are held monthly. BFFs does NOT provide group therapy. Crisis services directories are available at all meetings. If you’re in immediate crisis, please call 9-1-1. If you’re feeling hopeless or alone, the National Lifeline is free, confidential, and open 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK.
The Bureau of Special Education, PA Department of Education
Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU)
CCIU provides services to the 12 school districts in Chester County. This includes services to nearly 86,000 public and non-public school students and over 6,000 educators. CCIU’s major services include: special education and compensatory education programs; career, technical and customized education; mentor training and staff development; technology initiatives; consortia for school business operations; and curriculum services.
The Chester County Intermediate Unit is one of 29 regional educational agencies established by law in Pennsylvania in 1971. Working between the Pennsylvania State Department of Education and the local school districts, the intermediate unit’s mission is to provide services that can be offered most economically at the regional level.
A direct line to a special education specialist who will: Explain federal and state laws relating to special education, describe the options that are available to parents, inform parents of procedural safeguards, identify other agencies and support services, and describe available remedies and how parents can proceed.
The Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU)
“The Delaware County Intermediate Unit (DCIU) is a regional education services agency. It is our mission to provide leadership for the development of innovative and cost-effective programs to meet the needs of our county. DCIU serves more than 80,000 school-aged students and more than 6,000 educators on a regional basis. Direct instruction is provided to more than 15,000 students enrolled in DCIU’s Special Programs, Career and Technical Education and specialized programs.
The Delaware County Intermediate Unit is one of Pennsylvania’s 29 regional educational agencies. Established in 1970 by the State Legislature, IUs were charged with providing services in seven areas. DCIU grew to meet Delaware County’s needs by providing services best offered on a regional basis such as special education, technical education, services to nonpublic schools and technology.”
Delco Family Pass
“A Delaware County, PA, 501(c)(3) non-profit group, started by parents and run by parents, that provides support and information to families who have children and family members with Autism.”
Disability Rights Network
“Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania (DRN) is a statewide, non–profit corporation designated as the federally–mandated organization to advance and protect the civil rights of adults and children with disabilities. DRN works with people with disabilities and their families to ensure their rights to live in their communities with the services they need, to receive a full and inclusive education, to live free of discrimination, abuse and neglect, and to have control and self–determination over their services.”
Down Syndrome Interest Group of Delaware County
“The Delaware County Down Syndrome Interest Group (DSIG) was formed in 1990 by a group of families touched by Down syndrome, and we are dedicated to advocating for the Down syndrome community. We are a passionate community.”
Education Law Center
“ELC is a non-profit legal advocacy and educational organization, dedicated to ensuring that all of Pennsylvania’s children have access to a quality public education.
“ELC’s mission is to ensure that all children with disabilities get the quality education critical for them to become independent and self-supporting adults.”
empowerED is spreading the inclusion revolution across the country working with over 25 systems in ten states!
Some offerings are designed to support students with significant disabilities. See below.
- Content essentialization and modifications
- Literacy supports for students with complex needs
- Inclusion and education environment assessments
Visit empowerED website or download the catalog here for a complete list of services.
Holy Family University
Holy Family University is located in Philadelphia and is one of PEAC’s university partners. They offer dual certification in elementary and special education. Follow the links through Academics and Undergraduate Programs to get more information on their School of Education and special education programs.
“HUNE is a not for profit organization established in 1998. We provide free bilingual English and Spanish training, technical assistance and individual assistance to parents of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and to professionals who work with children. This assistance helps parents to participate more effectively with professionals in meeting the educational needs of children and youth with disabilities. HUNE works to improve educational outcomes for children and youth with all disabilities (emotional, learning, mental, and physical) from 0-21 years of age.”
Inclusion.com is a website with extensive resources for inclusive education, including the Inclusion Press, the Inclusion Network, and the Marsha Forest Centre.
Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
“The Institute on Disabilities supports people with disabilities in their pursuit of interdependence, contribution, and inclusion through training, technical assistance, services and supports, research, dissemination, and advocacy. Changing systems, so that Pennsylvanians with developmental and other disabilities can live, work, learn and play in the communities of their choice.”
Kids Together is a parent-run all volunteer organization and website. “The goals of Kids Together, Inc. include a desire to remove barriers that exclude people with disabilities. They support the belief that children with disabilities, like all children, have the need to be welcomed, cherished and embraced in our communities.”
Liberty Resources, Inc.
Liberty Resources, Inc. is a not-for-profit, Consumer-controlled organization that advocates and promotes independent living for all persons with disabilities. As a Center for Independent Living (CIL), Liberty Resources advocates with disabled people, individually and collectively to ensure our civil rights and equal access to all aspects of life in the community.
Liberty Resources must provide four core services: Advocacy, Information and Referral, Peer Support and Skills Training. Click to read more about the core services. In addition to those, a CIL should respond to the unique needs of its community. Liberty Resources is one of the first Centers for Independent Living in Pennsylvania, and has been consistently able to add services to address the needs of our community. Read more about the other services that Liberty Resources has added to its menu.
Lehigh University is an excellent resource and conducts important research in the field of special and inclusive education. Lehigh is one of PEAC’s university partners, and you can get more information about their programs by following the Academics, Departments, and School of Education links on their website.
Magellan Health Services
Medical Assistance (MA) Insurance Management: At Magellan, we have a unique vision of better and more affordable care for individuals that have the greatest health care needs. Our complete-person perspective helps us deliver better outcomes and brighter futures.
Networks for Training
“Networks for Training and Development, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting inclusive communities through quality training, technical assistance, and demonstration for individuals with disabilities, families, businesses, and neighborhoods.”
NSEAI- National Special Education Advocacy Institute
National group based in Newtown Square, PA offering education advocacy training to professional and parents. NSEAI’s educational mission is to improve the quality and professionalism in the field of education advocacy, by encouraging the development of highly educated and knowledgeable advocates, that improve the educational and functional outcomes of children with disabilities, through the NSEAI Board Certified Education Advocate™ program.
Office of Behavioral Health
The Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) combines the services for mental health and drug and alcohol. This office provides a wide range of community-based services for adults suffering from mental illness and children with emotional disorders, as well as for those facing challenges with alcohol and other drugs. Services are planned, coordinated and monitored by OBH and are provided through contracts with private community agencies and hospitals.
The Office of Behavioral Health also oversees the prevention activities throughout Delaware County. Through a contracted provider, OBH is responsible for an annual poster contest, prom contest, Red Ribbon Week activities, and the creation of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug awareness Calendar. In addition, OBH contracts with community mental health agencies to provide prevention and support services to all Delaware County schools through the Student Assistance Program (SAP).
Office of Intellectual Disabilities
The Office of Intellectual Disabilities (OID) provides a variety of services for persons with intellectual disabilities, including many purchased from community organizations. All services are planned, coordinated and monitored by OID and promote optimal independence for individuals and their families.
Supports coordination is provided to everyone who is registered, and includes needs assessment and service planning, locating, coordinating and monitoring. Specialized intellectual disabilities services can include Family Support Services, in-home services, adult day services, supportive employment, life skills training, and residential services. Availability is contingent upon eligibility and capacity. General community and family resources are utilized as much as possible. The Supports Coordination Organization can be contacted by calling 610-713-2400 or via fax at 610-713-2369. Persons eligible for services will have been tested before the age of 22, determined to have an I. Q. under 70, and have functional limitations.
PA Tourette Syndrome Alliance, Inc.
“To identify, support the needs of, and advocate for individuals with Tourette Syndrome in Pennsylvania. To promote awareness through informational outreach and educational presentations.”
Parent to Parent of Pennsylvania
Parent to Parent connects the families of children and adults with disabilities and special needs through peer to peer supporters.
Parenting Partners teams present eight workshops multiple times year-round, in multiple languages, creating a sustainable cadre of parent leaders. Teams create a small dynamic group, bringing 10-20 parents at a time through the leadership workshops.
PATTAN – PA Training and Technical Assistance Network
PaTTAN offers publications on a variety of topics, all focused on achieving educational results for students, including students with disabilities. “PaTTAN is to support the efforts and initiatives of the Bureau of Special Education, and to build the capacity of local educational agencies to serve students who receive special education services.”
Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education (PAGE)
“The Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education is an IRS approved 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that advocates for gifted students, their teachers, and their parents throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
Pennsylvania Department of Education
“The mission of Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network is to support the efforts and initiatives of the Bureau of Special Education, and to build the capacity of local educational agencies to serve students who receive special education services.”
Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council
The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council is a group made up of people with disabilities, family members, advocates, and state department representatives who work to create favorable conditions for people with developmental disabilities and their families in the Commonwealth. Created under a federal act and Governor’s Executive Order, the Council is both a planning group and a funding body.
The PEAL Center is Pennsylvania’s parent training and information center serving Western and Central Pennsylvania. The mission of the PEAL Center is to ensure that children, youth, and adults with disabilities lead rich, active lives and participate as full members of their schools and communities by providing training, information, and technical assistance based on best practices to individuals, families and all people who support them.
Pennsylvania’s Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT) strives to enhance the lives of all Pennsylvanians with disabilities, older Pennsylvanians, and their families, through access to and acquisition of assistive technology devices and services, which allow for choice, control and independence at home, work, school, play, and in their neighborhoods.
PIN – Parents Involved Network
A statewide organization that assists parents or caregivers of children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders. Parents Involved Network provides support and advocacy to parents of children who:
· have emotional or behavioral disorders
· are receiving mental health services
· are receiving special education services
· are in the juvenile justice system
PIN provides information, helps parents find services and will advocate on their behalf with any of the public systems that serve children. These include the mental health system, education, and other state and local child-serving agencies.
Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY)
While we educate and advocate on behalf of children across all issues, we undertake specific-focused efforts to improve the health of our children by maximizing access and availability of health care; improve child welfare by targeting efforts to strengthen families; improve the quality and quantity of child care programs; act earlier rather than later in developing, monitoring and disseminating information about in-home programs that work; and improve the chances for troubled and troubling adolescents by seeking out the causes and responses to truancy or delinquency by building alternative programming in communities and developing more and better after-school programs in neighborhoods.
Special Education Advisory Council of Upper Dublin (SPEAC)
“Special Education Advisory Council (SPEAC) of Upper Dublin in Montgomery County, PA, is a grassroots parent organization which works in partnership with the Upper Dublin School District to provide information and support to parents and teachers of special education and gifted students; to increase awareness of the needs of special education students; to promote inclusion and accommodations for these students; and to support the school district’s effort to meet the needs of all students.”
Talk About Curing Autism (TACA -PA)
Local PA Chapter of TACA- “A national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating, empowering and supporting families affected by autism. For families who have just received the autism diagnosis, TACA aims to speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments. TACA helps to strengthen the autism community by connecting families and the professionals who can help them, allowing them to share stories and information to help improve the quality of life for people with autism.”
Variety Philadelphia – The Children’s Charity
“Our mission is to build independence and self-confidence in children and youth with physical and developmental disabilities. Variety offers educational, recreational and social enrichment activities while connecting families to resources.”
Vision for Equality
The mission of Vision for Equality is “To assist and empower people with disabilities and their families to seek quality and satisfaction in their lives as well as equal access to supports and services… We seek to bring people to full empowerment and to advance the ideal of services that highlight accountability, quality & equal availability for all.”