Special Education Process

A video series by Arlington Public Schools in Spanish on the special education process (from referral through eligibility) to help families understand what is special education and what happens/is needed from them during these processes.  https://www.apsva.us/special-education/parent-resource-center/telenovela/
The Start Here website was developed to offer a one-stop shop of helpful information and resources to support parents of children with disabilities. Information on the site includes how to advocate for your child, questions to ask your child’s pediatrician or simple apps that can help families along their journey are some of the selections you can find at Start Here (www.StartHereParents.org).

Adolescence/Transition to Adulthood

Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: This research and development project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and focuses on developing, adapting, and studying a comprehensive school and community-based education program for high school students on the autism spectrum. Includes research reports and extensive resources suitable for families to support your child through his or her high school years and the transition to adulthood.

Autism Spectrum Disorders Fact Sheet [PDF]   [MS Word] : Developed by MAIER staff, this one-page fact sheet is suitable for the general public or anyone who may want to gain a better understanding of persons on the autism spectrum and promote acceptance and inclusion.  This fact sheet can be shared with those in your community members and family or  distributed during community autism events.

High School and Beyond: A Guide to Transition Services in Maine. This comprehensive guide, funded by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), was developed in 2016 by a team at the USM Muskie School of Public Service in collaboration with community stakeholders. Offers in-depth guidance to support Maine youth and families with transition planning and processing, in an effort to promote successful transition to adulthood for all Maine youths, including those on the autism spectrum. [MS Word Version]

Transition Planning: A Guide for Parents of Young Adults with Disabilities. Online resource developed by the Maine Parent Federation

Transition Toolkit from Autism Speaks: An online guide to assist families on the journey from adolescence to adulthood. Also available to download as a PDF or order print copy by request.

Autism Spectrum Disorders Fact Sheet: Developed by MAIER staff, this one-page fact sheet is suitable for the general public or anyone who may want to gain a better understanding of persons on the autism spectrum and promote acceptance and inclusion. [ASD Fact Sheet PDF]    [ASD Fact Sheet: MS Word]

National Autism Association/Bullying: This National Autism Association website is devoted to information on bullying, specifically when it involves children and teens with ASD. Provides careguvers with tips and resources for preventing and responding to bullying incidents.

Bullying and Individuals with Special Needs: Bullying and Individuals with Special Needs is a series of webpages developed by the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence that feature information, webcasts, and resource lists to increase awareness, provide education, and promote action to address bullying of persons with disabilities.

Early childhood-related resource on bullying prevention – www.earlychildhoodeducationdegree.org/bullying-prevention-resources/

College and Higher Education

College and Students on the Spectrum: YouTube video created at the Yale University School of Medicine Child Study Center to outline the important considerations when thinking about college for your family member with ASD.  (55 minutes)

 Supporting College Students on the Autism Spectrum from study.com

Navigating College: A Handbook on Self Advocacy. Written for Autistic Students from Autistic Adults. (2013) This helpful guide was developed by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and is available for free download as a PDF. From the ASAN website: “Navigating College is an introduction to the college experience from those of us who’ve been there. The writers and contributors are Autistic adults, and we’re giving you the advice that we wish someone could have given us when we headed off to college.”

Think College  Think College is a national organization located within the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass, Boston that offers both online resources and technical support for individuals with IDD, including those on the autism spectrum, and their families, in exploring and/or pursuing the transition to college and college life. Think College also offers individualized technical assistance to individuals and families through their Help Desk and the National Coordinating Center Technical Assistance Providers. The Think College website includes an online College Search directory of the many college programs across the U.S. for students with intellectual disabilities. Search by program, location, or keywords.

College, Career, and Community Readiness for Students with IEPs. Published by Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction, scroll down to the “Preparing Students for Life in College” tab and you will see about 15 playlists consisting of about 10-15 three-minute videos.

College Success Guide for Neurodiverse College Students – https://www.edumed.org/resources/neurodiverse-healthcare-students/

Online Resources for College Students with Disabilities – https://www.onlinecolleges.me/resources/students-with-disabilities/ is a website from OC.me that compiles their best recommendations for students with a disability that are pursuing a college degree, which can present unique considerations and challenges and gives expert-answers to 6 of the top questions students with disabilities might have about going to college.

Online Guide to Scholarships and Resources for Students With Disabilities – https://www.publicservicedegrees.org/financial-aid/scholarships/students-with-disabilities/

Study.com Scholarships and Resources- Study.com wants to help empower students who have physical disabilities, learning difficulties, and other impairments by providing some financial relief toward a college degree. To do that, we’re offering several Study.com Student Scholarships for students with different types of disabilities pursuing degrees. Our scholarships award $1,000 to help cover some of the costs of college.  Due May 1st. These scholarships include:

Study.com’s College Guide for Students with Learning Differences provides helpful information for students transitioning from high school to college and getting needed support.

50 Top College Scholarships for Native American and Alaska Native Students – https://www.onlinecolleges.me/financial-aid/scholarships/native-american-alaskan-students/

Student and Teacher Resources for Special Education

Kindergarten Transition
Transitioning to Kindergarten: A Guide for Parents of Children with Disabilities: Online resource developed by the Maine Parent Federation.

Peer Relationships
“Introducing your child to others”  Video: This 16 minute video presents a discussion with two parents who developed positive ways to tell their child’s peers about the unique characteristics of the child with autism while emphasizing their child’s commonalities with their peers. Includes methods to increase others’ understanding of their child’s challenges, offers suggestions of how others can help, and provides an example of a “How you can help” book you can make for your child’s peers. This video is was developed by the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI).

Growing Up Together Booklets: These booklets were developed by the Autism Society of America and Indiana Resource Center for Autism (IRCA) to help classmates of a student with an ASD learn about autism. Developed to provide information in a respectful manner and to do so without stigmatizing the student on the autism spectrum. One version is designed for younger students, and another especially for teens.
Growing Up Together Booklet for Elementary School Children 
Growing Up Together: Teens with Autism

A Teen Guide to Understanding and Communicating with People with Autism: Teen Alexandra Jackman created this 15-minute award-winning film in 2012 to help her peers better understand their classmates with autism and increase their comfort in interacting with them. She explains, ““I thought that if people knew a little bit more about what autism really is, they would be less judgmental, and be more likely to go up to someone with a special need and interact.” Since then, this film has been viewed worldwide and is being shown in schools and universities as a tool to foster acceptance and understanding.

Puberty, Sexuality and Healthy Relationships

Sexuality Education Resource from the Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research

Teaching children about sensitive topics such as private body parts, changes during puberty, and healthy relationships can be difficult for a parent of any child, but for families that include a child on the autism spectrum, there are special concerns and sometimes the need for specially developed tools to introduce topics and begin conversations. MAIER’s graduate assistant, Taylor Roos, has developed a new graphic resource especially for families, educators, and support personnel to direct you to research-supported tools and information for sexuality education. MAIER’s Sexuality Education Resource will link you to a variety of resources, all in a handy graphic to lead you through topics and conversations, many specifically developed for families of children, teens, and young adults with special learning needs. 

Healthy Bodies Toolkits
Downloadable guides and helpful tools developed by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) specific for parents of children with disabilities.  These easy-to-read booklets offer guidance to parents and caregivers for talking with your son or daughter about bodily changes and expectations as they enter puberty and beyond. Toolkit Appendices include social narratives and visual supports you can download and laminate for use.
A Parent Guide to Puberty for Boys with Disabilities                              A Parent Guide to Puberty for Girls with Disabilities

Love, Dating, Relationships and Disability
Explore the world of relationships and dating through the eyes and words of individuals with disabilities, including autism. This website explores mature relationships in all its forms through personal stories and words of advice from those who live life with a disability.

Downloadable informational booklets designed to provide parents and caregivers with strategies to improve sleep in their child affected by autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Developed and reviewed by child neurologists, sleep specialists, professionals, and parents, these guides are produced and made available through the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network.
Stategies to Improve Sleep in children with ASD
Sleep Strategies for Teens with ASD

Toilet Training
Toilet Training and Autism Spectrum Disorders
Handout developed by the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) offering helpful suggestions and visual tools for beginning the toilet training process with young children with ASD.

Toilet Training: A Parent’s Guide
Includes helpful information to approaching toilet training with children with ASD. Offers practical tools and examples of recommended toileting plan and visual schedules, FAQs, and additional resources. Produced and made available through the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network.

Health and Doctor Visits

How Nurses Can Support Children with Autism During Medical Visits. Nurses and other healthcare professionals can take steps to support children with autism and build relationships with parents to make medical visits less stressful for everyone involved.

Suicide Awareness & Prevention for Healthcare Students

Students with Unstable Housing