Additional Resources – Autism / other Special Needs


Mental Health Association

Family/Child Education Advocacy Program

105 Brighton Avenue
Rochester, PA 15074
Phone: 724.775.4165
Fax: 724.775.8523

Does your child need an evaluation for individualized support? Need assistance and advocacy with IDEA 2004, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), or gaining a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)? The Education Advocate at the MHA will help you understand Federal Education Laws and your child’s rights.

The Education Law Center

Our mission is to ensure access to a quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania. The Center pursues this mission by advocating on behalf of the most vulnerable students — children living in poverty, children of color, children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, children with disabilities, English learners, LGBTQ students, and children experiencing homelessness.

Education Law Center
429 Fourth Avenue Suite 702
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

LD Online – The educator’s guide to learning disabilities and ADHD.   This website begins with a definition and common signs of learning disabilities and includes sections on college and college prep, school-to-work transition issues, and adults with LD.

Guide to Online College with a Learning Disability – This guide provides critical information for students with learning disabilities who want to enroll in online courses. It provides important information such as securing and using learning disability accommodations, locating assistive technologies, and navigating online course sites.

Best Schools for Students with a Learning Disability – “The biggest challenges students with a learning disability face include a lack of tailored courses, educational support, and extracurricular activities. Some schools are better at addressing these differences than others, and while students with a learning disability may need more support, with the right resources they can truly thrive in a higher education setting.”

Tips for College Students on the Autism Spectrum – College can present unique challenges for students on the autism spectrum, but there are many resources and tips that can help students succeed in a post-secondary environment. provides some tips to mitigate specific challenges.

Understanding ADHD Accommodations for College Students – Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a learning disability that presents challenges for students but does not have to be an impediment to completing a college degree. Read this tip sheet provided by to learn how ADHD accommodations can help college students succeed.

College & Career Guide for Students with Disabilities – College students with disabilities have rights that allow for specific accommodations to help them succeed in school. Learn about legal protections, scholarships, technologies, and other assistance available to students with disabilities.

Academic Accommodation Resources Provided by DO-IT: Advancing the success of people with disabilities in education, research, & careers


Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP)

Disability Rights Pennsylvania protects and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities so that they may live the lives they choose, free from abuse, neglect, discrimination, and segregation.  They provide information and assist with problems accessing needed disability services in all systems, including Juvenile Justice and Education.

Harrisburg toll-free:  1.800.692.7443

Pittsburgh Office:

429 Fourth Avenue
Suite 701
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-1505
412.391.5225 [Voice]
412.467.8940 [Fax]

Federation for Children with Special Needs
This website is for families of children with special needs to keep them informed of their rights in the areas of education, health care, and many other topics of concern.

Increasing Independence & Building Financial Security

PA ABLE Savings Program was launched in 2017, and people with disabilities have saved more than $10 million for disability-related expenses. Whether planning for short- or long-term expenses, PA ABLE can help to improve the lives of Pennsylvanians with disabilities, their families, loved ones, and caregivers.

You or someone you know may be able to save money while maintaining important benefits with a PA ABLE account.   Savings in a PA ABLE account:

  • May be deducted from Pennsylvania state income tax.
  • Does not affect eligibility for any federal needs-based programs with a limitation for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
  • Can be contributed from a bank account, paycheck, or Social Security benefits.
  • Offer various savings options, including an FDIC-insured checking account and six asset-allocation investment options.
  • May be used to build savings and pay expenses such as rent, transportation, groceries, assistive technology, and much more.

To learn more and to read important disclosures, visit or call 855.529.2253.

Estate and Financial Planning Guide for Families of Children With Special Needs
Developing a custom estate plan is important if one of your children has a disability. Not only do you have to make detailed plans to ensure they are cared for after you’re gone, but there are legal compilations associated with leaving assets to individuals with disabilities.

Cents and Sensibility: A Guide to Money Management
” …Students with disabilities have unique financial education needs. This manual helps teachers develop relevant lessons and activities for students with and without disabilities on topics such as earning income, saving, and using financial services.”

Financial Fundamentals: Discussion Starters for Youth
Six topics to help youth/young adults with disabilities and their families get a handle on their financial future

Money Talks: A Free Webinar Series on Financial Empowerment for People with Disabilities
Each month, Money Talks dove into a different topic with information and resources needed to handle the unique financial issues that impact individuals with disabilities, including new issues that arose as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are a person with a disability, a family member of someone who has a disability, an advocate, an educator, or a service provider, this series is for you.

Support for Parents & Families

Parent to Parent of PA 

Links parents and family members of children and adults with disabilities or special needs on a one-to-one basis, according to conditions or concerns.  These may include physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, special health care needs, behavioral health/mental health concerns, foster care or adoption, educational issues.

(Services are free and confidential.) 

PA Parent and Family Alliance

PROVIDERS: How can the Parent Alliance Help the Families You Serve?

Family Support Partners are just that, partners. They are highly trained parents who have raised or are raising a child (up to age 26) with challenges that may mirror the ones your families may be encountering. Family Support Partners will walk with them on their journey until they feel ready to walk on their own.

Resources for Military Families
Support for military families with special needs family members is provided through the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). 

Sesame Street Autism Resources for Parents See amazing in all children.

Understood – A website where 15 nonprofit organizations have joined forces to support parents of the 1 in 5 children (ages 3-20) with learning and attention issues throughout their journey.  With the right support, parents can help children unlock their strengths and reach their full potential. With state-of-the-art technology, personalized resources, free daily access to experts, a secure online community, practical tips, and more, Understood aims to be that support.

Verbal Beginnings provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to children ages 2-18 who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Using positive reinforcement and measurable goals, ABA is used to increase desired behavior across a variety of settings and social environments. It’s an individualized approach tailored to a child’s specific needs. For more information, call 855-344-5977 or email at [email protected].

Family Network

Stay Connected!

Don’t forget to check out our website:

In addition to learning more about us, our webpage includes an up to date calendar with upcoming events
(and more is added as scheduled) and a “Theme and Thoughts” section.

Check out our social media for more information and like us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The Self Advocacy
Power Network


The Self Advocacy Power Network for All (SAPNA) is a project of the PA Office of Developmental Programs,
Department of Human Services
and managed by
Self Advocates United as 1.

Contact us at [email protected]
or 724-588-2378.


PA Developmental
Disabilities Council


The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council (PA DDC) is proud to collaborate with the Office of Developmental Programs,
PA Family Network.
and The Self Advocacy Power Network for All (SAPNA)
on this initiative.
Check out our social media and website.
For more information:
Twitter: @PaDDCouncil

Additional Web Resources

Cerebral Palsy Guide
Cerebral palsy is a disability caused by brain damage that restricts normal movement and coordination. Each year, 10,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Cerebral Palsy Guide provides free educational materials, financial options, and support to help those affected by this condition.

Moving with Special Needs Kids
Moving is at once stressful and exciting. When you are moving with children, you face a number of considerations that others don’t have to face. 

Home Modifications for Special Needs Kids
Creating a Home Where Your Child Can Thrive with a Disability

How to Design a Home for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Provided by Today’s Homeowner, consider these design solutions as you create a home environment for your loved one with autism. These tips can help family members to provide a safe space that promotes growth, development and a better quality of life.

Friends of Quinn is an online community that offers resources and support for young adults with learning differences, as well as for the people who love them.

How to Improve Emotional Self-Regulation Among Children with Autism and Attention Disorders
Recently published, this lesson (provided by Pepperdine University) includes a free download for the blank emotional levels chart.

Mom & Mental Health:  Supporting Women during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding  –   a webpage providing:

  • Mental Health-Related MotherToBaby Fact Sheets: Anxiety,  Depression,  Stress,  Trauma
  • Mental Health Medication-Related MotherToBaby Fact Sheets

(This webpage houses important resources pertaining to various mental health issues and medications to treat them. They contain evidence-based information about their risks during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, they should not replace the care of a medical professional.)

Child Mind Institute – an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders.

Website Features:  Topics A-Z,   Ask an Expert Q & A,  Symptom Checker,  Glossary,   Concerns,  Disorders, and a Brainstorm Blog

Child Care Lounge – Online child care classes for continuing education training, resources, activity ideas, network with other child care professionals.

Sleep and Disabilities

Helping Your Child with Autism Sleep

Sleep Deprivation and ADHD

Our Guide to Sleep After Trauma

How to Make a Bedroom Accessible for Disabilities

Sleep Guidance for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Sleep and Autism