There are many organizations out there offering programs and services to individuals with special needs and their families, but these services can be difficult to find if you don’t know where to look. We have gathered information about some of the top organizations for people with special needs and what they offer, in order to help narrow down the search and help families find the resources they need.
1.Easterseals – For 100 years, Easterseals has served as an indispensable resource for individuals with disabilities, veterans, seniors and their families. Teams of therapists, teachers and other health professionals at Easterseals come together to help each person overcome obstacles to independence and reach his or her personal goals. Easterseals also includes families as active members of therapy programs, and offers the support families need.
- Accessibility Resources
- Autism Services
- Camping & Recreation
- Day Care
- Employment & Training
- In-Home Care
- Mental Health Services
- Veteran Reintegration
- Senior Career Employment
- Respite Services
2. Special Olympics – Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Through the power of sports, people with intellectual disabilities discover new strengths and abilities, skills and success. Special Olympics athletes find joy, confidence and fulfillment, both on the playing field and in life. They also inspire people in their communities and elsewhere to open their hearts to a wider world of human talents and potential.
3. United Cerebral Palsy – UCP and its 64 affiliates share a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with cerebral palsy, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and other conditions. The UCP network of affiliates provide services and support to more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time.
UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living, and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities.
For nearly 70 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society assisting them to achieve a life without limits.
4. The Arc – For more than 60 years, The Arc has been on the front lines in making change happen for people diagnosed with Autism, Down syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and a range of diagnoses across the spectrum of intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc is the nation’s leading advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and the premier provider of the supports and services people want and need.
Supports and services offered by The Arc include:
- Information and referral services;
- Individual advocacy to address education, employment, health care and other concerns;
- Self-advocacy initiatives;
- Residential support;
- Family support;
- Employment programs; and
- Leisure and recreational programs
5. Friendship Circle International – The Friendship Circle exists to bring happiness and companionship to children and young adults with special needs by celebrating their individuality, as well as bringing energy, support, and peace of mind to their families.
The Friendship Circle is today’s fastest growing Jewish organization for children with special needs. With over 80 locations worldwide, The Friendship Circle has cultivated friendships between 5,000 special children and close to 11,000 teen volunteers. The Friendship Circle’s unique approach brings together teenage volunteers and children with special needs for hours of fun and friendship. These shared experiences empower the children, our special friends, while enriching the lives of everyone involved. The teen volunteers learn the priceless value of giving, the curative power of friendship, and the vital importance of integrating children with special needs into our communities. The parents and siblings receive much-needed respite and support from the Friendship Circle community, and all those who assist us. Each independent Friendship Circle is operated by its local Chabad Lubavitch Center, and entirely supported by each local community to benefit local children with special needs.
6. Goodwill Industries International – Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.
Goodwills meet the needs of all job seekers, including programs for youth, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities, criminal backgrounds and other specialized needs. Last year, Goodwill helped more than 26.4 million people train for careers in industries such as banking, IT and healthcare, to name a few — and get the supporting services they needed to be successful — such as English language training, additional education, or access to transportation and child care.
- Financial coaching
- Savings and loan support
- Tax preparation
- Education programs
- Community services
- Financial aid
- After school programs
- Housing assistance
- Clothing assistance
- Medical rehabilitation
7. Parents Helping Parents – As a parent-directed, community-based organization, PHP’s mission was developed in response to the need in our community for information, training, and support services for families who have children with special needs and the professionals who serve them.
Established in 1976 as a nonprofit agency, Parents Helping Parents, meets the needs of one of our community’s most vulnerable populations – individuals with any special need and their families. This includes children of all ages and all backgrounds who have a need for special services due to any special need, including but not limited to illness, cancer, accidents, birth defects, neurological conditions, premature birth, learning or physical disabilities, mental health issues, and attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder, to name a few.
PHP offers support groups, family and community services, crisis support, early intervention, assistive technology services.
8. Federation for Children with Special Needs – The Federation for Children with Special Needs offers a special education center for parents, family support, health advocacy, family and community engagement, parent-professional leadership, summer camp, and parent-to-parent support.
The Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN) provides information, support, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities, their professional partners, and their communities. They are committed to listening to and learning from families, and encouraging full participation in community life by all people, especially those with disabilities. FCSN believes that individual differences in people are a natural part of life, and that disabilities provide children and adults with unique perspectives, insights and abilities which contribute to the overall well-being of society.
9. Special Needs Alliance – The Special Needs Alliance (SNA) is a national, not for profit organization of attorneys dedicated to the practice of disability and public benefits law. Individuals with disabilities, their families and their advisors rely on the SNA to connect them with nearby attorneys who focus their practices in the disability law arena.
SNA offers connection to attorneys in your area that practice disability and public benefits law, covering special needs trusts and wills, Medicare, SSI, estate and tax planning, personal injury, health care, financial planning, guardianships and conservatorships,
10. Family Voices – Family Voices aims to achieve family-centered care for all children and youth with special health care needs and/or disabilities. Throughout our national grassroots network, we provide families resources and support to make informed decisions, advocate for improved public and private policies, build partnerships among families and professionals, and serve as a trusted resource on health care.
Family Voices offers support through family-centered care, partnerships, quality, access, affordability and acceptability, health systems that work for families and children, informed families/strong communities and self-advocacy/empowerment.