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

 

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National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities

 

NACDD

Through the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, created the State Councils on Developmental Disabilities which serves to coordinate and provide services for individuals with developmental disabilities. In the United States, there are 56 councils focusing on advocacy, systems change, and capacity building.

Alabama
Executive Director: Elmyra Jones-Banks
Phone: 334-242-3973
www.acdd.org

Alaska
Executive Director: Patrick Reinhart
Phone: 907-269-8990
www.dhss.alaska.gov

American Samoa
Executive Director: Norma Smith
Phone: 684-633-2696

Arizona
Executive Director: Erica McFadden
Phone: 602-542-8977
www.azdes.gov/addpc

Arkansas
Executive Director: Eric Munson
Phone/TDD: 501-682-2897
www.ddcouncil.org 

California
Executive Director: Aaron Carruthers
Phone: 916-322-8481
www.scdd.ca.gov

Colorado
Executive Director: Marcia Tewell
Phone/TDD: 720-941-0176
www.coddc.org

Commonwealth of the
Northern Mariana Islands
Executive Director: Pamela Sablan
Phone: 670-664-7000/1
www.cnmicdd.org

Connecticut
Executive Director: Melissa Marshall
Phone: 860-418-6160
www.ct.gov/ctcdd

Delaware
Executive Director: Pat Maichle
Phone: 302-739-3333
www.ddc.delaware.gov

District of Columbia
Executive Director: Mat McCollough
Phone: 202-724-8612
http://ddc.dc.gov

Florida
Executive Director:Valerie Breen
Phone: 850-488-4180
www.fddc.org

Georgia
Executive Director: Eric Jacobson
Phone: 888-275-4233
www.gcdd.org

Guam
Executive Director: Roseanna Ada
Phone: 671-735-9127
www.gddc.guam.gov

Hawaii
Executive Director: Waynette Cabral
Phone: 808-586-8100
www.hiddc.org

Idaho
Executive Director: Christine Pisani
Phone: 208-334-2178 or
1-800-544-2433
www.icdd.idaho.gov

Illinois
Executive Director: Kim Mercer
Phone: 312-814-2080
www.state.il.us/agency/icdd

Indiana
Executive Director: Christine Dahlberg
Phone: 317-232-7770
www.in.gov/gpcpd

Iowa
Executive Director: Becky Harker
Phone: 800-452-1936
http://iddcouncil.idaction.org

Kansas
Executive Director: Steve Gieber
Phone: 785-296-2608
www.kcdd.org

Kentucky
Executive Director: MaryLee Underwood
Phone: 502-564-7841
www.kyccdd.com

Louisiana
Executive Director: Sandee Winchell
Phone: 225-342-6804
www.laddc.org

Maine
Executive Director: Nancy Cronin
Phone: 207-287-4213
www.maineddc.org

Maryland
Executive Director: Brian Cox
Phone: 410-767-3670
www.md-council.org

Massachusetts
Executive Director: Dan Shannon
Phone: 617-770-7676
www.mass.gov/mddc

Michigan
Executive Director: Vendella Collins
Phone: 517-335-3158
www.michigan.gov/mdch

Minnesota
Executive Director: Colleen Wieck
Phone: 651-296-4018
www.mncdd.org

Mississippi
Executive Director: Charles Hughes
Phone: 601-359-6238
www.mscdd.org

Missouri
Executive Director: Vicky Davidson
Phone: 573-751-8611
www.moddcouncil.org

Montana
Executive Director: Deborah Swingley
Phone: 406-443-4332
Fax: 406-443-4192
www.mtcdd.org

Nebraska
Executive Director: Kristen Larson
Phone: 402-471-2330
www.dhhs.ne.gov/ddplanning

Nevada
Executive Director: Sherry Manning
Phone: 775-684-8619
www.nevadaddcouncil.org

New Hampshire
Executive Director: Isadora Rodriguez-Legendre
Phone: 603-271-3236
www.nhddc.org

New Jersey
Executive Director: Kevin Casey
Phone: 609-292-3745
www.njcdd.org

New Mexico
Executive Director: John Block III
Phone: 505-841-4519
www.nmddpc.com

New York
Executive Director: Sheila Carey
Phone: 518-486-7505
www.ddpc.ny.gov

North Carolina
Executive Director: Chris Egan
Phone/TDD: 919-850-2901
www.nccdd.org

North Dakota
Executive Director: Julie Horntvedt
Phone: 701-328-4847
www.ndscdd.org

Ohio
Executive Director: Carolyn Knight
Phone: 614-466-5205
www.ddc.ohio.gov

Oklahoma
Executive Director: Ann Trudgeon
Phone:  405-521-4984
www.okddc.ok.gov

Oregon
Executive Director: Jaime Daignault
Phone: 503-945-9941
www.ocdd.org

Pennsylvania
Executive Director: Graham Mulholland
Phone: 717-787-6057
www.paddc.org

Puerto Rico
Executive Director: Myrainne Roa
Phone: 787-722-0590
www.cedd.pr.gov/cedd

Rhode Island
Executive Director: Kevin Nerney
Phone: 401-737-1238
www.riddc.org

South Carolina
Executive Director: Valarie Bishop
Phone: 803-734-0465
www.scddc.state.sc.us

South Dakota
Executive Director: Arlene Poncelet
Phone: 605-773-6369
www.dhs.sd.gov/ddc

Tennessee
Executive Director: Wanda Willis
Phone: 615-532-6615
www.tn.gov/cdd

Texas
Executive Director: Beth Stalvey
Phone: 512-437-5432
www.tcdd.texas.gov

Utah
Executive Director: Claire Mantonya
Phone/TDD: 801-533-3965
www.utahddcouncil.org

Vermont
Executive Director: Kirsten Murphy
Phone: 802-828-1310
www.ddc.vermont.gov

Virgin Islands
Executive Director: Yvonne Peterson
Phone: 340-773-2323 Ext. 2137
www.dhs.gov.vi/disabilities

Virginia
Executive Director: Heidi Lawyer
Phone: 804-786-0016
www.vaboard.org

Washington
Executive Director: Ed Holen
Phone: 360-586-3560
www.ddc.wa.gov

West Virginia
Executive Director: Steve Wiseman
Phone: 304-558-0416
www.ddc.wv.gov

Wisconsin
Executive Director: Beth Swedeen
Phone: 608-266-7826
www.wi-bpdd.org

Wyoming
Executive Director: Shannon Buller
Phone: 307-777-7230
www.wgcdd.wyo.gov

 

How A Transition Coordinator Can Prepare Your Child For Life After School

How a Transition Coordinator Can Prepare Your Child for Life After School
Source: (Friendship Circle)

The transition from high school to whatever comes next can be stressful for students with special needs and their parents. Guiding them through this passage is a school transition coordinator or specialist. If you haven’t made contact with this individual at your teen’s school yet, don’t wait.

I had my first meeting with our high-school transition coordinator, Barbara Milewski, when my daughter was still in middle school. I wanted to find out what I should be worrying about and planning for. Not only did she reduce my anxiety, she also pointed me toward a county agency that gave my daughter a job that summer. As school meetings go, that one was unusually productive.

Since many parents don’t know such a resource exists, I asked Mrs. Milewski — who has decades of experience helping young people through this transition as a district guidance counselor, school social worker, case manager for special-education students, and transition coordinator — to share a little bit about what transition coordinators do and why you should seek yours out. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Down Syndrome Organizations

 The internet offers a number of website that provide resources on Down syndrome. Topics including family support groups, education, medical and advocacy. For additional information, click on the links below:

down syndrome ribbon

 

 

 

Band of Angels: http://www.bandofangels.com/-

Established in 1994, Band of Angels provides support for individuals with Down Syndrome and their families. The website offers links on Down Syndrome support groups and a litany of topics including, adoption, autism and education.

Down Syndrome International https://www.ds-int.org/

A U.K. based international organization comprising a membership of individuals and organizations from all over the world. Disseminates information on Down Syndrome including prenatal diagnosis, early intervention, education, medical, health, employment, aging and human rights. Down Syndrome International also promoted World Down Syndrome Day (March 21) as a day dedicated to people with Down Syndrome.

 

Global Down Syndrome http://www.globaldownsyndrome.org/

Provides fundraising, education and governmental advocacy for the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome. Resources available on the website include, information on research, medical care and facts on Down Syndrome.

 

 

International Down Syndrome Coalition: http://theidsc.org/

Dedicated to helping and advocating for individuals with Down syndrome from conception and throughout life. Offers support to parents who are new to the Down syndrome diagnosis by connecting parents to each other.

 

National Association for Down Syndrome http://www.nads.org/

NADS is the oldest organization in the United States serving individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Also provides families with information and resources that will enable them to access appropriate services and educates the public about Down syndrome.

 

National Down Syndrome Congress http://www.ndsccenter.org/

The purpose of the NDSC is to promote the interests of people with Down syndrome and their families through advocacy, public awareness, and information. When we empower individuals and families from all demographic backgrounds, we reshape the way people understand and experience Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society http://www.ndss.org/

NDSS provides resources to new and expectant parents and offers a toll-free helpline and email services. NDSS also focuses on transitions , wellness and education