Articles and Websites- Advocating for Your Child
Getting Started- Wrights Law
Advice for Families and caregivers-
Ten Reasons Why You Should Have An Advocate for Your Child With Special Needs- Friendship Circle
6 Ways To Advocate For Your Special Needs
Navigating the Storm- by Amie Borst
Toolkit: Advocating For Your Child- I-Parents
Basics About Your Child’s Rights- Understood
Tips On Advocating For Your Child with Special Needs- Take Part



 Self-Advocacy- Wikipedia
Self-Advocacy- Wrights Law
Self- Advocacy Association of New York State
Self-Advocacy Online
Autistic Self-Advocacy Network


Updated 9/2/2020

Community Inclusion Resources

According the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Disability affects approximate 61 million, or nearly 1 in 4 (26%) people in the United States living in communities. Disability affects more than one billion people worldwide.1,2 According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people “. . . with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory [such as hearing or vision] impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

While the road has made great strives in community integration, we still have a long way to go until full inclusion is met worldwide.  For some people with disabilities, participation may be only defined as being physically present in a community but without any connection such as going to a shopping store or attending an event. The next level includes encounters at a nail salon, bowling, shopping, etc and full integration includes connecting with others in the community such as hanging out with people at a sports bar with and without disabilities or attending religious services including becoming a part of the choir or serving as an usher.

The following questions created by the Council on Quality and Leaderships serves as a great barometer in  measuring the quality of community inclusion:

  1. Who do you know in your community?
  2. Who do you spend most of your time with?
  3. When you go places, who do you meet with?
  4. What kind of interactions do you have with people?
  5. What kinds of things do you do with other people?
The following are articles on the importance of community inclusion among individuals with disabilities and the definition:

5 ways to make community inclusion work– White Hawk Advocacy

A sharing of ideas on community inclusion for people with disabilities– University of Connecticut Center for Developmental Disabilities.

Community barrier to participation experienced by people with disabilities (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ) CDC

Community Inclusion–

What does community inclusion look like? – National Disability Insurance Scheme

What is community inclusion all about and why does it matter?– Pioneer Center for Human Services

What Is Community Inclusion & Why Is It a Win-Win Scenario?– Community Mainstreaming

What We Mean When We Talk About Inclusion– Institute for Community Inclusion

The following are community inclusion ideas and suggestions.

11 Ways to Promote Community Support for Students with Disabilities– Brooks Publishing

13 ideas for making your community more inclusive – Union for Reform Judaism

Training Resources
The following includes a staff training module on community inclusion.

Community Inclusion Module– Illinois Department of Human Services

National Barrier Awareness Day

National Barrier Awareness Day brings awareness to dissolving stigma’s that keep people with disabilities from advancing in education, barriers in physical access, bridging technology gaps and any type of barriers that prevent people with disabilities to reach their full potential. While there have been many achievements, financial, cultural education and physical barriers still exist.

The History of National Barrier Awareness Day

On May 7 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5472 as National Barrier Awareness Day.  President Reagan stated that “Eighty percent of Americans will experience some disability in their lifetime that makes it necessary they must surmount and the contributions that they can make to our society.”

Ways to Remove Barriers

While there are still physical barriers that exists, there is very few information on the mental barriers, meaning people that still hold misconceptions, stereotypes and myths regarding individuals with disabilities. what do I mean by mental barriers?

  1. people that are unaware that most disabilities are invisible. Someone parking in a handicapped space might not have a physical disabilities, but could suffer from a debilitating pain. There are also people with cognitive disabilities including, AutismADHD, and Dyslexia.
  2. As professionals, myths, and misconceptions continue when we as professionals stop learning and growing. Disabilities change overtime and as professionals and educators it is important to always learn and grow. For examples, very little was known about autism 25 years ago and more so when it comes to co-occurring disorders such as sensory processing disorder (SPD) and Dysgraphia.
  3. It is time to see the abilities not the disabilities in the person. By focusing on the disabilities, we limit the growth and development which leads to self-confidence to those with disabilities.

Finally, we all have to take the role of advocates. It comes as part of the job. Sometimes it is advocating for both parent and child and using our voice to help others live quality lives.






When an individual with a developmental disability becomes an adult, Guardianship is something you should consider. In many States, the law will see the individual as an adult able to make decisions on their own. If you have a child with a disability who many never have the ability to make legal decisions on their own, the following information are links on guardianship and what you need to know about them.

Does my child need a guardianship?– Special Needs Alliance

Guardianship– Cincinnati Children’s

Guardianship: A basic understanding for parents– Parenting Special Needs

Guardianship and adult children with developmental disabilities-ICHE

Legal guardianship and your adult child with disabilities– A day in our shoes

My child with a disability is an adult- Now what? – Parenting NH

Special needs children turning 18 years old– Today’s Caregiver

Understanding guardianship for adults with special needs– Protected Tomorrows

When your child turns 18: A guide to special needs guardianship– Friendship Circle

Guardianship- State Specific Requirements

Each State has it own requirements for Guardianship, click on your State below to find more information:









District of Columbia



















New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota





Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota







West Virginia



How to Find a Special Education Advocate

Source: Understood

The special education and IEP process can be stressful and confusing. Many parents turn to a special needs advocate to guide them as they seek services for their child. But how can you find the right advocate?

Unlike attorneys, anyone can call themselves a special education advocate. And while there are training programs for advocates, there’s no formal licensing or certification. That’s why it’s important to do your research before hiring someone. Click here to read the rest of the story


Disability Integration Act


The Disability Integration Act (DIA) of 2017 is a bill introduced by Charles “Chuck” Schumer (D-NY) in the health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The purpose of the bill is to prohibit states or local government that provide institutional placements for people with disabilities who require long term assistance prohibits insurance services from denying community-based services which would allow people to live independently in the community.

Community-based services must be offered to individuals prior to placement in institutions. People that are living in institutions must be notified regularly of community-based alternatives.

This bill was introduced May 16, 2017.

World Cerebral Palsy Day

Today is World Cerebral Palsy Day, not just a way to bring awareness, but to create a movement among people with cerebral palsy, their families and the organizations that support them.

Held in over 50 countries, World Cerebral Palsy (CP) Day is an opportunity for people to take action by creating a global movement for change.

What can you do?

The goal of World CP Day is to encourage people to take action in six-key areas:

  1. Public awareness- putting an end to ignorance and the stigma it can create.
  2. Civil rights- ensuring that government officials at the local, regional, and national level will take concrete action
  3. Medical/Therapeutic- ensuring the best information for diagnoses, prevention and treatment is available.
  4. Quality of Life- ensuring that people with cerebral palsy find enjoyment and fulfillment in life.
  5. Education- helping all educators provide an education to members of the cerebral palsy community
  6. Contribution- making sure each person has the ability to contribute to society.

Oh, and don’t forget to tweet using the hashtag #WorldCPDay


What is cerebral palsy?- Infographic

Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis and Treatment Infographic

The Southwest Conference on Disability

The Conference will be held between October 5 and October 7, 2016.

southwest conference

Entitled, “Reducing Disparities  for People with Disabilities Through System Change”, the conference will include sessions on inclusion, peer mentoring and smoking cessation for people with developmental disabilities.

A one day pre-summit workshop for lawyers will be held on Thursday, October 6, 2016 which is led by the Autism Speaks Legal Resource Center.

On October 7th, there will be a joint programming with sessions on autism from both Autism Speaks and the Southwest Conference. The session begins at 8:30am.

Early Bird Registration : September 5th, 2016. The conference will be held at the Albuquerque Convention Center. For more information, Click here 



2016 Autism Conferences



Association for Behavior Analysis International

10th Annual Autism Conference International
Theme: Research into Evidence-Based Practice
Date: January 18-20, 2016
Location: Hyatt Regency, New Orleans; New Orleans, LA

Conference will feature topics developed specifically for practitioners, scientists and parents of children with autism.


Council for Exceptional Children/Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities

DADD 17th Annual International Conference on Autism, Intellectual Disabilities  and Developmental Disabilities
Date: January 20-22, 2016
Location: 1 Walkiki  Beach Resort and Spa
Honolulu, HI

The conference will integrate research and practice, reflecting the need for evidence-based and practice interventions within the field. The conference will feature more than 150 lectures and poster presentations.

Future Horizon, Inc.

Autism One Day Conference
Date: January 29, 2016
Location: Ramada Plaza Casper Hotel and Conference Center
Casper, WY

Features Renown Dr. Temple Grandin who will insights backed by research evidence and own experience.


Future Horizons, Inc.

Autism One Day Conference
Date: February 5, 2016
Location: Rapid City, SD

Features Renown Dr. Temple Grandin who will insights backed by research evidence and own experience.

The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism

Autism Conference
Date: February 11-12, 2016
Location: Coastal Georgia Center,
3015 Fahm Street
Savannah, GA

Conference will feature autism training and resources for law enforcement, emergency responders, parents, educators, caregivers and the autism community. Dr. Temple Grandin will be a featured speaker.

Behavior Analysis Association of Michigan

BAAM 30th Annual Convention
Date: February 18-19, 2016
Location: Eastern Michigan University/Student Center
Ypsilanti, MI

A multi-track, session oriented, academic and professional meeting.


Nebraska ASD Network

13th Annual Conference
Date: April 7-8, 2016
Location: Embassy Suites
La Vista, NE

University of New Mexico-Center for Development and Disability

Imagine Autism Conference
Theme: Remembering the Past-Looking to the Future
Date: April 7-8, 2016
Location: Sandia Resort and Conference Center
Albuquerque, NM

Focus will be on transition to adulthood, early childhood, communication, social and behavioral topics. for families, school staff, agencies, community organizations and people with autism.

Autism Society of Wisconsin

27th Annual Conference
Date: April 7-9, 2016
Location: Kalahari Resorts and Convention Center
Wisconsin Dells

Asperger Autism Spectrum Education Network (ASPEN)

Aspen’s Spring Conference
Date: April 10, 2016
Location: 120 South Wood Avenue S.
Iselin, NJ

Center for Autism and Related Disabilities

10th Annual Statewide Autism Conference
Theme:Supporting Inclusion, Relationships, and Learning for Students with Autism
Date: April 15, 2016
Location: Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside
Rochester, NY


St. Amant

Canadian Conference on Developmental Disabilities and Autism
Theme: Explore. Connect. Learn. Inspire.
Date: May 4-5, 2016
Location: Victorian Inn Hotel and Convention Centre
Winniepeg, Manitoba

Focus is on practical strategies and information that will allow professionals, paraprofessionals and decision-makers to better support they people they serve.

International Society for Autism Research (INSAR)

IMFAR Annual Meeting
Date: May 11-14, 2016
Location: Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, MD

Annual scientific meeting convened each spring to exchange and disseminate new scientific progress.


Milestone Autism Resources

Milestones Autism Conferences
Theme: Life-long strategies for success
Date: June 16-17, 2016
Location: Mayfield Hts, OH

An annual conference that brings family members and leading experts in the field of autism together to share evidence-based practical strategies and best practices


Autism Society

47th Annual Autism Society National Conference
Theme: Connect, Learn, Advocate & Thrive
Date(s):July 13, 2016- Preconference
July 14-16, 2016
Location: New Orleans Marriott
555 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

The conference represents one of the largest gathering of autism families, service providers, educators and policy makers


Penn State National Autism Conference
Date: August 1-4, 2016
Location-To Be Announce

Education Service Center, Region 2

24th Annual Texas Autism Conference
Date: August 4-5, 2016
Location: Wyndham San Antonio Riverwalk Hotel

The goal is to provide parents, educators, and campus leadership with strategies, resources, tools and evidence-based practices.

U.S. Autism and Aspergers Association World Conference
Date: August 18-20, 2016
Location: To Be Announce


OMICS International

2nd Annual International Conference on Autism
Theme: Understanding Autistic Mind and Accelerating the Recovery
Date: September 15-16, 2016
Location: Phoenix , AZ

Brings together worldwide distinguish scholars and academies in the field of neuroscience and neurology, public health, professionals and scientists

National Autistic Society

XI Autism- Europe Conference
Theme: Happy, healthy and empowered
Date: September 16-18, 2016
Location: Edinburg International Conference Centre
Edinburgh, Scotland

Dedicated to sharing advances in practical and scientific knowledge about autism to as wide an audience as possible including researchers, professionals, parents and self-advocates.




Happy Holidays!



Special Needs Resource Blog will take a break during the holidays and will return Monday, January 4, 2016 with new information, tools and resources to post including more downloadable free tools and templates Monday thru Thursday. I am excited and look forward to sharing more resources with you in the new year.
Thanks to all of you for following my blog this year. Wishing you and your families joy and peace all through the holidays and throughout the new year. May the spirit of the holidays be with you throughout the new year.  🙂   🙂