Below are twelve helpful sites that are loaded with useful information for parents with a special-needs child, including information on Autism, deafness, blind-deafness, hearing impairment, intellectual disabilities, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairments, serious emotional disorders, specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, traumatic brain injuries, Down’s Syndrome, and more.
You do not have to feel alone when there are so many other parents out there going through the same thing you are. These twelve amazing sites include information about your child’s condition, stories from parents who have been through it, local help guides, forums, blog entries, and learning tools.
AutismNow.Org is hands down one of the best online resources for information on Autism. It includes latest news, information, an easy to use search engine, upcoming events, and even a local agencies map for finding help in your area. Coming in at a close second is Autism Learn , a site is dedicated to the process of teaching Autistic children how to learn. It is jam-packed with visually stimulating activities geared toward helping develop skills with people, fine motor control, creating a connected hierarchy, learning about the seasons and weather, money, and much more.
Hearing Like Me is a wonderful resource for parents who have deaf children or hearing loss. Their website is clean, easy to browse, and full of helpful information. It also has an amazing forum where you can share your story and talk with other parents. This is an excellent resource for parents who wish to share their story and communicate with other parents who are going through the same thing.
The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children has a lot of information and services for parents of children who are deaf-blind. In addition to their resources, they help parents and their children get involved in activities, as well as provide latest news and updates in the deaf-blind community.
The Hearing Loss Association of America is a great resource for any parent with a hearing-impaired child, as it not only offers support resources, news, recommended reading, personal stories, and articles, it also has a section on laws and how your child with hearing loss has rights.
Language and Speech Delays/Impairments
Created by a practicing speech and language pathologist, SpeechDelay.com
is a fantastic site for anyone involved in the life of a child who has language and speech delays or impairments. The site features tips to stimulate language development, a forum to interact directly with other families and speech-language pathologists, a wealth of links to other sites, a comprehensive reading list, and even a sign language section.
Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities is an excellent and resourceful website for parents with children who have dyslexia, are ADHD, or have other learning disabilities. The site focuses on empowering parents with knowledge and a strong supportive community. It also has a section on success stories for those that may be feeling overwhelmed.
Support for Families of Children with Disabilities has been around for a long time, since 1982, offering information to parents with multiple disabilities in children. It offers newsletters and resources, as well as upcoming events and services for educating parents and loved ones of children with disabilities.
Orthopedic Impairments is a friendly website project with a comprehensive mission to inform, educate, and help walk through parents, teachers, and students with orthopedic impairments. If you are finding that you are having a difficult time communicating with your child’s school, they have a special section designed to help you through any bumps along the way.
Serious Emotional Disturbance
One of the most prominent mental health websites within the U.S., Healthy Place, offers an interesting and informative blog entry detailing the long and difficult journey parents of mentally ill children travel. Although the entry is short, there are over eighty-five comments from various parents and loved ones of children who have serious emotional disturbances and disorders, each with a story to tell.
Specific Learning Disability
The Guardian has an inspiring article about a mother and her son, who has Autism. It discusses one of the biggest challenges a parent and their disabled child faces: other people. At the end of the article there are over 165 comments from others who have something to say about the issue, including information, stories people want to share, and support for those who are faced with these daily criticisms.
Learning Disabilities/Reading Impairment/Communication Difficulties
If your child has a specific learning disability, such as trouble reading or communicating, then this site is for you. Not only does it have a section solely for parents, but it has sections for teachers, principals, librarians, and other professions. It is also available in Spanish.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Brainline.org has an impressive guide for parents who have a child with a traumatic brain injury. It covers information on how to help your child adjust, cope, develop, and rehabilitate after an injury. It also helps parents understand cognitive changes in their child and has useful information into peer networks and gaining self-esteem.
Though a controversial site, Lifenews.com offers a highly touching and incredibly heartfelt article about the parents of a child with Down Syndrome and what they need to hear. It discusses how parents can often times slip into depression, but that it is important to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It focuses highly on the positive aspects of taking care of a child with Down Syndrome. While things may seem hopeless from time to time, it is imperative to remember that there really is no limit to what your child can accomplish, and that although he or she may be facing daily struggles that they will persevere.
Although there are many people out there who are still relatively uninformed and unfamiliar with special needs children, it is important not to let hurtful statements deter you from doing the very best you can for your little one. It is entirely okay not to always know the answer, and it is certainly okay for parents of disabled children to find communities, programs, and other forms of support in which they are able to speak with others who share similar experiences. While the above links are not comprehensive and the only ones available, they are a good start.