The Special Needs Alliance

The Special Needs Alliance is a national, non-profit organization comprised of attorneys who are respected authorities with regard to public benefits, guardianships/conservatorships, special needs plannning and special education. The average member has nearly two decades of relevant legal experience. Many of them have family members with special needs, enabling them to bring additional insight to their work.

Report: ‘My Thinker’s Not Working’

Link (PDF)


This report, by the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices, summarizes challenges in the United States surrounding the increasing rate of older people with intellectual and developmental disabilities having dementia. The report finds that though the research about the causes and factors influencing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are better known, the social care system still remains challenged with offering the best and most efficacious ways to identify, support, and care for older people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and dementia.

This report also offers recommendations and suggestions on how to address the needs and help adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities affected by dementia. These include: early and periodic diagnostic services, training and education about dementia, and community-based and home-based supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities affected by dementia.


Submitted by The Arc.

Self-Determination and People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: What Does The Research Tell Us?

There exists an already substantive and still growing literature base pertaining to self- determination and people with disabilities. The intent of this slide show is to provide a synthesis of major findings in the area of self- determination pertaining to youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

ACT (Advocating Change Together)

Advocating Change Together (ACT) is a grassroots disability rights organization run by and for people with developmental and other disabilities. ACT’s mission is to help people across disabilities to see themselves as part of a larger disability rights movement and make connections to other civil and human rights struggles. ACT distributes tools and materials that help individuals and groups promote self-advocacy in their lives and work.

KASA (Kids As Self Advocates) Resources

Below are over 60 tipsheets and guides written for youth, by youth! The reports in each of these sections are written by youth with disabilities on our Advisory Board and youth writers from our network. They are written to share real life experiences and helpful information with other youth. They have been reviewed by our Task Force (also made up of disabled youth) to make sure they are youth-friendly and accessible.

Self Advocates United as 1

The Mission of SAU1 is: To Support Self Advocacy of People with Disabilities for Positive Impact in Their Communities and in People’s Lives. We help each other and any people with disabilities and their families across PA. We hold letter-writing, e-mail, and phone workshops to help others learn how to advocate for change. We speak to anyone who will listen about people’s right to live the life they want and fight so everyone has that right.

SAU1 teaches people at many levels about full inclusion and rights for all people. How do we do this? Let us tell you!

The Riot!

The Riot is about self-advocacy. We offer a newsletter, a blog where self-advocates can share opinions, an online art gallery, toolkits, games and services to help individuals become stronger self-advocates. We cover topics that are important to self-advocates. And we really don’t like silly rules that just keep people down.

We are serious about self-advocacy issues, but we also want to make you laugh and feel good about life. Join us to celebrate the strengths of self-advocates. Help take on the barriers that stand in the way. Most of all, let’s work together to help people live the life they want with the support they need.

SABE (Self Advocates Becoming Empowered)

Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) is the self-advocacy organization of the United States.  Founded in 1990, we have been working hard for the full inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in the community throughout the 50 states and the world for 21 years. Our non-profit advocacy organization is run by a board of self-advocates representing 9 regions of the country.

Massachusetts Partnership for Youth in Employment

MPYE conducts resource mapping to identify employment and transition services.

  1. Assess gaps, overlaps, and places where resources can be aligned
  2. Develop a plan to fill gaps and remove duplications
  3. Blend and braid resources to improve the efficiency of youth services
  4. Evaluate the impact of these efforts on improving education and employment outcomes for youth

Products include a cross-agency leadership team, state plan, state policy, resource mapping, strategic planning across the state, and aligned resources statewide.

Massachusetts YouthWorks Employment Program

YouthWorks is a state-funded youth jobs program that provides funds to pay wages to youth for summer jobs in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. The primary component of the YouthWorks program is subsidized employment for eligible youth. Participants are typically employed part-time during the summer or year round.