Common Disabilities

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)  lists 13 disability categories under which 3 through 21-year-olds may be eligible for special education services. For a child to be eligible for services, the disability must affect the child’s educational performance.

1. Specific learning disability (SLD) (examples: Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia
2. Other health impairment (example ADHD)
3. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
4. Emotional disturbance
5. Speech or language impairment
6. Visual impairment, including blindness
7. Deafness
8. Hearing impairment
9. Deaf-blindness
10. Orthopedic impairment
11. Intellectual disability
12. Traumatic brain injury
13. Multiple disabilities

You can find information on these disabilities on many websites. One we like is Here’s their page on disability categories.

Some of the more common disability categories are ADHD, autism, and dyslexia. Below are a few resources for each of these.


Attention Deficit Disorder Association  (ADDA)
The Attention Deficit Disorder Association provides information, resources and networking opportunities to help adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder lead better lives.

A web destination for families and adults living with ADHD and learning disabilities. Founded in 1998 by Ellen Kingsley, an award-winning journalist with a unique ability to convey credible information with empathy and inspiration.

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), is a national nonprofit organization that improves the lives of people affected by ADHD through education, advocacy, and support.

Apps for ADHD
Compiled by the Children’s Health Council



Autism Society
The Autism Society, an USA grassroots autism organization, which exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. They do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.

Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is a autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. They publish a resource guide on interventions, advocacy, schools, after school programs and other resources. Information about some interventions. There is also a general resource guide on books, movies, websites etc.

National Autism Center
The National Autism Center is May Institute’s center for the promotion of evidence-based practice. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) by providing reliable information, promoting best practices, and offering comprehensive resources for families, practitioners, and communities.

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) is a national non-profit dedicated to educating, empowering and supporting families affected by autism. Autism Journey Blueprints (2012): click here to download the PDF

Early Support Program for Autism
The Early Support Program for Autism is a collaboration between Stanford Children’s Health and Children’s Health Council to provide supportive services at no cost to families after diagnosis.

Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (TPGA)
Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (TPGA) is a one-stop source for carefully curated, evidence-based information from autism parents, autistics, and autism professionals .

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew
Article by Ellen Notbohm from her book Ten Things Every Child with Autsim Wishes You Knew. She also has a blog on Autism.

About Autism
Basic autism related information and resources for parents and general public by Autism Resource Centre (S) WeCAN Early Intervention Programme. Lots of idea’s, resources for parents with young children on the Autism Spectrum.

Interacting with Autism
A video based resource with video’s explaining autism, treating autism and understanding autism.

A is for Autism F is for Friend
This is a video summary of my book A is for Autism, F is for Friend – A Kid’s Book on Making Friends with a Child Who Has Autism- the short movie explains autism.

Research-Based Approaches to Autistic Ways of Learning
Research Paper of Karla McLaren with information she gathered  on approaches to autistic ways of learning and seeks input from the community.

Kit for Kids peer education resource by OAR (Organisation for Autism Research)
The  animated web video is about some behaviors and characteristics that may make Nick and other kids with autism seem “a little different.” The video can be used in classrooms where students with autism are learning alongside their typically developing peers. The activity workbooks builds on the video “What’s Up with Nick?” story and can be used for (peer) education lesson.

Autism Fun Bay Area
Autism Fun Bay Area, based in San Francisco, California, was founded in 2012 by concert pianist Stephen Prutsman and his wife Sigrid Van Bladel, parents of a young teen with autism. Our “Azure” events aim to make music and the performing arts accessible to audiences for whom regular performances are typically off limits or difficult due to behaviors or sensory challenges.

Mochaa offers support to mothers and families of children with special needs. Mochaa attends conferences and local special education activities in order to reach out to gain new members as well as to raise community awareness of the needs of the special needs parent.  Mochaa  provides a comfortable setting for parents of children on the autism spectrum, as well as parents of children with any other special needs, to interact and share questions, feelings, successes, information, concerns, problems, and sometimes socially awkward topics in regards to parenting and caring for special needs children.

Fiddle Foundation
The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation is the first organization in the United States with the specific mission to develop programs for adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) with exemplary organizations who have expertise in running and implementing successful programs.

Autisic Speaks
A blog on how it feels to be on the Autism spectrum by Lydia Wayman.

Temple Grandin: The world needs all kinds of minds
Temple Grandin, diagnosed with autism as a child, talks about how her mind works — sharing her ability to “think in pictures,” which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.

The forgotten history of autism by Steve Silberman
A TED talk on the forgotten history of autism by Steve Silberman a writer whose articles have appeared in Wired, the New Yorker, the MIT Technology Review, Nature, Salon, and other publications. He is the author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.



California Dyslexia Guidelines (PDF) Aug 2017. From the Department Of Education.
Two page summary (PDF)
Dyslexia Guidelines Work Group website

S.Res.275 Resolution
A resolution which passed the senate:”Calling on Congress, schools, and State and local educational agencies to recognize the significant educational implications of dyslexia that must be addressed and designating October 2015 as “National Dyslexia Awareness Month””.

International Dislexia Organisation
A non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals with dyslexia, their families and the communities that support them.

Decoding Dyslexia
Decoding Dyslexia CA is a grassroots movement driven by California families, educators and dyslexia experts concerned with the limited access to educational interventions for dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities within our public schools.

Resource list
Resource list compiled by ABC’s “Beyond the Headlines”.

Article on Optometric Assesment and Mangement of Dyslexia
The article is about the optometric assessment and management of those who have dyslexia but the techniques described are equally valid for anyone who is under achieving at school or work whether they are formerly diagnosed as dyslexic or not.

Orton–Gillingham System
Of all the reading programs specifically designed to help struggling readers by explicitly teaching the connections between letters and sounds, Orton–Gillingham was the first. Today—decades later—many reading programs include Orton–Gillingham ideas.

The highly structured program introduced the idea of breaking reading and spelling down into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, and then building on these skills over time. It also pioneered the “multisensory” approach to teaching reading, which is considered the gold standard for teaching students with dyslexia. This means that instructors use sight, hearing, touch and movement to help students connect language with letters and words.

Wilson System
Wilson is a provider of professional learning and research-based reading and spelling curricula for all ages. Its multisensory, structured curriculum eading and writing program developed by Barbara Wilson and distributed by Wilson Language Training. It provides a curriculum for teaching reading and spelling to individuals of any age who have difficulty with written language. The Wilson Reading System® directly teaches the structure of words in the English language, aiming to help students learn the coding system for reading and spelling. The program provides interactive lesson plans and uses a sequential system with extensive controlled text.

Bright Solutions for Dyslexia
Bright Solutions for Dyslexia was founded with the mission to educate parents and teachers about the causes, symptoms, and research-based solutions for children and adults with dyslexia.

Personal Experience with Dyslexia
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has dyslexia. He spoke with ABC7 News about how he’s passionate about raising awareness about dyslexia because it affects him every day.

Athena Academy
Athena Academy is a nonprofit private  elementary and middle school in Palo Alto, dedicated to teaching Dyslexic students on the Peninsula.


(We include relevant resources but don’t endorse any particular organization or program.)