Resources & Organizations
Resources and Organizations
Below are areas that include important organizations and resources that are organized by topic. Just click on one of the topics in order to see the set of resource information and links.
Advocacy 101 – What is advocacy? How is it different than lobbying? Hints for advocating with elected officials.
Disability Rights Pennsylvania – Disability Rights Pennsylvania protects and advocates for rights of people with disabilities so that they may live the lives they choose, free from abuse, neglect, discrimination, and segregation.
Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council – The PADDC engages in advocacy, systems change, and capacity building with people with developmental disabilities and their families in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council – A cross-disability, consumer-controlled organization, the mission of the Pennsylvania Statewide Independent Living Council is to use its collective power and legal mandate to develop and secure public policies that ensure civil rights and expand options for all people with disabilities in all aspects of life.
Self Advocates United as 1 (SAU1) – Self Advocates United as 1 is a group of people who envision a world where people with developmental disabilities and their families are united to share knowledge, empower others, and use their voices to transform their communities and people’s lives.
Temple University Institute on Disabilities – Learns from and works with people with disabilities and their families in diverse communities across Pennsylvania to create and share knowledge, change systems and society, and promote self-determined lives.
Vision for Equality – The organization assists and empowers people with disabilities and their families to seek quality and satisfaction in their lives as well as equal access to supports and services.
A Right to Special Education in Pennsylvania: A Guide for Parents and Advocates – Updated in 2021 from the Education Law Center – PA
ConsultLine – ConsultLine is a toll-free information help line for parents and advocates of children with disabilities who have questions or concerns about the education of a school-aged child.
Education Law Center – The Education Law Center’s mission is to ensure access to a quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania.
HUNE, Inc. – Provides free bilingual (English and Spanish) programs, supports, and services on all aspects of special education.
Include Me PA – Our Arc of Pennsylvania program that provides on-site, intensive training and technical assistance to school districts, teachers, and families to increase their capacity to educate students with significant disabilities in general education classes and typical preschool settings.
Kids Together – Resources for inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in schools and communities.
Office of Dispute Resolution – The Office for Dispute Resolution (ODR) provides the resources for families and educational agencies to resolve educational disputes for children served by the early intervention system, students who are gifted (or thought to be gifted), and students with disabilities (or thought to have disabilities).
PA Community on Transition – The Pennsylvania Community on Transition is a group comprised of various stakeholders from across Pennsylvania who work collaboratively to ensure appropriate transition outcomes for Pennsylvania youth and young adults with disabilities.
PA Education for All Coalition – PEAC provides one to one support for families on education issues; workshops and trainings for parents and educators.
PA Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support System – Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) is a proactive approach to discipline that promotes appropriate student behavior and increased learning.
PA Special Education Regulations – Known as Chapter 14, the regulations cover special education services and programs in Pennsylvania
PEAL Center – The mission of the PEAL Center is to educate and empower families to ensure that children, youth and young adults with disabilities and special health care needs lead rich, active lives as full members of their schools and communities.
State Task Force – Its primary purpose is to insure that the intent and spirit of the Right to Education Consent Agreement is carried out throughout the commonwealth.
Customized Employment – Our ADEPT program is designed to support people with significant disabilities in gaining community, competitive employment by identifying their interests, preferences, and conditions for success and matching them to skills needed by an employer, while negotiating a “customized” job description to best meet the needs of both.
Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities – MAWD lets Pennsylvanians with disabilities accept employment, earn more money and still keep their full medical coverage. With MAWD individuals can keep Medical Assistance while working, even if their earnings increase above the limits for other Medical Assistance programs.
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation – OVR serves people with disabilities that present a substantial challenge to their employment. Services are provided to individuals who can benefit from and who need assistance to prepare for, enter, engage in, or retain employment.
Ticket to Work – The Ticket to Work Program and other Work Incentives allow a person with a disability to keep Social Security benefits while exploring employment, receiving vocational rehabilitation services and gaining work experience.
Mission Empower – This organization serves as a Community Resource Center, providing advocacy and education for families.
PA Family Network – Supports families to create a vision, network, and navigate service agencies and support.
PA Families – The organization provides support to families raising children and youth with emotional, behavioral, and special needs, as well as serving as an advocate in the different child serving systems.
Parent to Parent of PA – Connects families of children & adults with disabilities to other families who’ve had similar journeys.
PEAL Center – Family resource specialists provide one to one support and individual assistance by phone or email. PEAL also hosts family educational workshops and leadership events.
Autonomy, Decision-Making Supports, and Guardianship – From The Arc , information about guardianship and The Arc’s position statement on these issues.
Guardianship – A video from the Disability Rights Pennsylvania that includes question and answer explaining what guardianship is, alternatives to guardianship, and other common issues related to guardianship.
Estate Planning/Substitute Decision-Making/Guardianship – A guide from Disability Rights Pennsylvania that may provide useful general information to help you in advocating for yourself or someone else with a disability.
Supported Decision Making – An alternative to guardianship, Supported Decision Making helps individuals with disabilities to make choices about their own lives with support from a team of people they choose. Individuals with disabilities choose people they know and trust to be part of a support network to help with decision-making.
Disability Information & Access Line (DIAL) – Helps people with disabilities get vaccinated and access COVID-19 tests. The DIAL’s trained staff helps in: finding local vaccination locations; assisting with making vaccination appointments; help connecting to available testing options, assists with the instructions for administering self tests; and
connects callers to local services.
Got Transition – Got Transition® is the federally funded national resource center on health care transition (HCT). Its aim is to improve the transition from pediatric to adult health care through the use of evidence-driven strategies for clinicians and other health care professionals; public health programs; payers and plans; youth and young adults; and parents and caregivers.
PA Infants, Toddlers, and Families Waiver – provides services to children from birth to age three who are in need of Early Intervention services and would otherwise require the level of care provided in an Intermediate Care Facility for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities or Other Related Conditions (ICF/ORC).
PA Waiver programs – The federal government “waives” Medical Assistance/Medicaid rules for institutional care in order for Pennsylvania to use the same funds to provide supports and services for people closer to home in their own communities.
PEAL Center – Transition to Adult Healthcare resources for youth with special healthcare needs.
Pennsylvania Health Law Project – Provides legal help and support to remove barriers for individuals who need healthcare via Medicaid, Medicare, and other providers.
Special Kids Network Helpline- Operated by the PA Department of Health, the Special Kids Network helpline assists providers and parents of children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) access local services and supports.
Special Kids Network Service Coordination – This in-home service is provided through the PA Elks Home Service program for families whose needs cannot be met through phone support.
A Guide for Transition Age Individuals with Disabilities and Their Families – A guide from Disability Rights Pennsylvania
D.R.E.A.M. Partnerships – This organization develops scholarships and post-secondary educational opportunities, leading to independent living and employment for students with intellectual disabilities in Pennsylvania.
Inclusive College Programs in Pennsylvania – A list of inclusive college programs for students with intellectual disabilities, from Think College.
PA Secondary Transition – The Pennsylvania Community on Transition is a group comprised of various stakeholders from across Pennsylvania who work collaboratively to ensure appropriate transition outcomes for Pennsylvania youth and young adults with disabilities.
Pennsylvania Inclusive Higher Education Consortium – The Consortium supports fully inclusive opportunities for students who have historically not had access to post-secondary educational opportunities. It provides consultation and technical assistance in developing accessible inclusive higher education opportunities for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Pennsylvania Secondary Transition Guide – information specific to Pennsylvania and also to important topics related to youth of transition age.
Checklist for Preparing for a Post-Secondary Education – This checklist gives grade-by-grade items to consider for both students with a disability and their parents when preparing for a post-secondary education, from Penn State Educational Equity.
Bullying and Harassment, The Arc of Pennsylvania Position Statement
Pennsylvania Adult Protective Services – If you suspect elder abuse or abuse of an adult living with a disability, call the statewide abuse hotline is available 24/7.
Call 1-800-490-8505. On this page also learn about signs of abuse, mandatory reporter resources, and more information.
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence – PCADV works with local Pennsylvania domestic violence programs to help survivors with disabilities get shelter, counseling, and other resources.
SAFE: A Personal Safety Training Guide for Adults with Disabilities and Care Providers – The SAFE curriculum is designed to educate adults with disabilities about abuse and their rights.
Staying Safe At Work – A Curriculum for Teaching Workers with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities about Health and Safety on the Job
Talk About Sexual Violence – from The Arc, Talk About Sexual Violence provides practical tools to address the topic through a supported decision-making lens
that supports victim-centered approaches.
Tools for Personal Emergency Preparedness – Resources and tools for people with disabilities to prepare for their safety during emergency situations.
PA State Offices
- Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services
- Bureau of Special Education
- Office of Child Development and Early Learning
- Early Intervention – Birth to Three
- Early Intervention – Three to School Age
- Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Office of Developmental Programs (ODP)
- Office of Long-Term Living
- Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Assistive Technology Resources from PA Dept. of Human Services – A listing of potential resources
PA Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) – PATF is a statewide, non-profit organization that helps individuals with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians acquire the assistive technology devices and services they want.
PA Dept of Education Assistive Technology Basic Education Circular – This BEC provides guidance regarding assistive technology and the responsibility of school districts and charter schools in the provision of AT for students with disabilities.
TechOWL (Technology for Our Whole Lives) – This organization helps people with disabilities explore the tools and technology they need to be independent. TechOWL is Pennsylvania’s Assistive Technology Act program. TechOWL has 9 regional centers across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.