Thursday, July 23, 2015

Get Involved: A Resource List for Children with Special Needs

Washington State offers various resources to support infants and toddlers with disabilities and their needs. Some of the following organizations or groups advocate for the rights and services of the developmentally disabled.

WEE CARE (Washington Early Education Coordinate All Resources Early)
WEE CARE is a broad coalition of families and individuals whose mission is to advocate for access to quality services for infants and toddlers birth to three with special needs, developmental delays, disabilities or children at risk for learning delays.

WEE CARE believes families with infants and toddlers with delays, disabilities, or children at risk for learning delays need a fair start in Washington State and have a right to:
  • Equal access to resources and information
  • Improved family support services
  • Consistent statewide public policy
  • Seamless transitions to care
  • Adequate funding
WEE CARE believes equal access to birth to three services is essential for infants and toddlers with disabilities in all communities in our state. If you need help or want to get more involved, visit them online.

The Arc of Washington

The Arc of Washington State's mission is to advocate for the rights and full participation of all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Along with our network of members and chapters, we support and empower individuals and families; connect and inform individuals and families; improve support and service systems; influence public policy; increase public awareness; and inspire inclusive communities. Find your local chapter.

Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC)

It is the mission of the Washington State Developmental Disabilities Council to work collaboratively with people with developmental disabilities, families and guardians, service providers, advocates and policy makers to:
  • assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families have access to culturally competent, consumer/family-centered supports and other assistance that promote independence, productivity, integration and inclusion into the community of their choice; and to
  • promote this vision in the public policy and planning arena through system change, community capacity building and advocacy at the local, state and national level.

Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT)

Early intervention services during the first three years can make a big difference in a child's life. The Department of Early Learning's (DEL) Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT) program provides services to children birth to age 3 who have disabilities or developmental delays. Eligible infants and toddlers and their families are entitled to individualized, quality early intervention services in accordance with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C.

Informing Families Building Trust (IFBT)

Good information leads to good choices and decisions for people with developmental disabilities, yet survey data in Washington shows many families say they do not get enough information to effectively participate in planning services for their family members. This is of grave concern to many advocacy and support organizations that believe clear, concise information from trusted sources is critical to every family's ability to access resources and care for individuals with developmental disabilities. That's why the Developmental Disabilities Council and the Division of Developmental Disabilities have formed a partnership with other key state and local organizations to improve the communication families receive. The project's original goal was to share information about changes in the DD delivery service system before those changes occurred, in an easy to understand format. It quickly became apparent that families needed to get information about other issues as well. In 2009, the Informing Families project increased its scope to better provide access to more information for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

IDEA Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association (ITCA)

ITCA is your online link to the resources that are helping to improve the lives of infants and toddlers with special needs. Every successful early childhood intervention is the result of a cooperative spirit - the coordination and collaboration of many individuals who share a goal to help infants and toddlers with developmental challenges. This site is all about making the right connections, and here, you will find the core information to assist you. . . Our mission is carefully structured to support the Early Intervention System for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities of the IDEA Part C.

Parent to Parent

Parent to Parent programs provide emotional support and information to families of children with special needs and or disabilities. Through implementation of the Parent to Parent model: utilizing trained veteran parents of children with disabilities, called Helping Parents, who provide one to one emotional and informational support to new or referred parents who have a child with a similar need. to parent)

Washington Statewide Parent Coalition

There are currently 14 active parent coalitions in Washington State serving 19 counties. The Parent Coalition Coordinators have contact with thousands of families across the state and strive to identify the needs of people with developmental disabilities and their families and work toward solutions to meet those needs. Parent Coalitions throughout Washington State help parents, family members, and guardians become effective advocates for their family members and others who have developmental disabilities.

For more information on developmental screening, read DEL's previous blog about "Help Me Grow."

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