National Resources for Parents of Children and Youth with Disabilities

Parents of youth with disabilities have unique opportunities to promote their successful transition to postsecondary education, employment and full adult participation in society. Families can assist in the transition process by providing adolescents direction in their exploration of interests, guidance in career and college planning, and encouragement as they pursue their dreams. Parents can help each other, too. As they develop skills in working with their own children they can:

Provide information, 
Answer questions, 
Recommend resources, 
Empower youth and young adults with disabilities, 
Support one another.

The DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center serves to increase the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in academics and careers, especially in promising fields where they have been underrepresented, including science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. DO-IT helps individuals with disabilities use technology as an empowering tool.

Parents can provide the foundation for young people to become self-determined, to learn decision-making skills, and to gain access to resources. They can empower their children's personal plans for success.

Parents can be more effective with up-to-date information, communication, and community resources. The following resources may be particularly helpful in assisting parents as their children prepare for college and careers. Compiled with the input from many parents, this list includes printed materials, electronic discussion lists, websites, disability-related conferences and organizations, and agencies that provide services to individuals with disabilities.

Parent Resources

The Advocate's Bookstore 
Resources on specific disabilities, effective educational practices, tests, evaluations, legal rights and responsibilities, parenting, and children's issues.

Beach Center on Disability
Located at the University of Kansas. Provides resources for families of people with disabilities along with an electronic newsletter subscription.

Closing The Gap 
Computer technology in special education and rehabilitation resource directory, news articles, education, and conference information.

Council for Exceptional Children
888-232-7733 (voice)
866-915-5000 (TTY) 
An international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities. Resources include publications, a clearinghouse on disabilities and the gifted, education resources, and discussion lists.

Disability Advisor
Information articles and other resources related to disability benefits and financial resources.

Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT)
206-685-DOIT (voice/TTY)
888-972-3648 (voice)
509-328-9331 (voice) 
Comprehensive set of resources and programs with a focus on access to technology, college, and careers for youth with disabilities.

Disability Resources Monthly (DRM) Guide to Disability Resources on the Internet
Information about legal rights, financial resources, assistive technology, employment opportunities, housing modifications, educational options, transportation, and mobility services.

HEATH Resource Center (Online Clearinghouse on Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Disabilities) 
A clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities.

Institute on Community Integration
612-624-6300 (voice) 
Provides research, professional training, technical assistance, and publishing activities to improve community services and social supports for individuals with disabilities and their families.

K12 Academics 
National education and disability resource website.

Learning Ally
800-221-4792 (voice) 
Educational and professional books on audio, covering all subjects from kindergarten through postgraduate studies.

Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
541-343-1284 (voice/TTY) 
A clearinghouse on disability-related and parenting information regarding international exchange and educational opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET) 
Identifies needs of youth with disabilities to successfully participate in postsecondary education and training, civic engagement, and meaningful employment.

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD)
877-871-0744 (voice)
877-871-0665 (TTY) 
Information source about employment for youth with disabilities.

National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
202-207-0334 (voice)
844-778-7961 (toll-free voice) 
Information and resources for people with disabilities and their families regarding independent living.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)
800-695-0285 (voice/TTY) 
Information on disabilities and disability-related issues for families, educators, and professionals related to children and youth.

Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor
866-633-7365 (voice)
877-889-5627 (TTY) 
Resources to enhance the employment of people with disabilities.

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) 
Provides leadership and financial support to states and local districts to improve results for children and youth with disabilities.

Our-Kids-Adults: Support for Parents and Caregivers of Teens and Adults with Disabilities
Information and resources on assistive technology and equipment advocacy, art, conferences and events, disability links, health and medical resources, leisure and recreation, financial and legal issues, and transition to adulthood.

PACER Center
952-838-9000 (voice)
800-537-2237 (toll-free voice) 
A coalition of parent groups that provide information on education and advocacy for children with disabilities.

301-424-2002 (voice Maryland)
415-979-9520 (voice San Francisco)
414-277-8506 (voice Milwaukee) 
An organization that develops projects in school to work transition, education systems change, and employment for people with disabilities.

About DO-IT

DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) serves to increase the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs such as those in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. Primary funding for DO-IT is provided by the National Science Foundation, the State of Washington, and the U.S. Department of Education. DO-IT is a collaboration of UW Information Technology and the Colleges of Engineering and Education at the University of Washington.

Grants and gifts fund DO-IT publications, videos, and programs to support the academic and career success of people with disabilities. Contribute today by sending a check to DO-IT, Box 354842, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-4842.

Your gift is tax deductible as specified in IRS regulations. Pursuant to RCW 19.09, the University of Washington is registered as a charitable organization with the Secretary of State, state of Washington. For more information call the Office of the Secretary of State, 1-800-322-4483.

To order free publications or newsletters use the DO-IT Publications Order Form; to order videos and training materials use the Videos, Books and Comprehensive Training Materials Order Form.

For further information, to be placed on the DO-IT mailing list, request materials in an alternate format, or to make comments or suggestions about DO-IT publications or web pages contact:

University of Washington
Box 354842
Seattle, WA 98195-4842
206-685-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
888-972-DOIT (3648) (voice/TTY)
206-221-4171 (fax)
509-328-9331 (voice/TTY) Spokane

Founder and Director: Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D.

DO-IT Funding and Partners


This publication was developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, #H324M990010. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Copyright © 2014, 2013, 2012, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2000, University of Washington. Permission is granted to copy these materials for educational, noncommercial purposes provided the source is acknowledged.