275 Prospect Street, PO Box 67, Norwood, MA 02062
781.762.6804 Phone | 781.762.0229 Fax

Special Education Resources

Special Education: Understanding Federal and State Statutory Requirements (MTA, 2008)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is estimated to affect 3 to 5 percent of school-age children and includes the following core symptoms:

  • Developmentally inappropriate level of attention & concentration
  • Developmentally inappropriate levels of activity
  • Distractibility
  • Impulsivity

The diagnosis of ADHD can be made reliably using well-normed diagnostic testing, interview and observation methods. However, there is no one independent, valid test for ADHD (National Institutes of Health, November 1998).


Attention Deficit Disorder Association

The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA) is designated as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization by the Internal Revenue Service. This international organization has been in existence since 1989. The mission of ADDA is to provide information, resources and networking to adults with AD/HD and to the professionals who work with them.

  • http://www.add.org/index.html

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) is a national non-profit organization founded in 1987 in response to the frustration and sense of isolation experienced by parents and their children with AD/HD.

Many individuals and families dealing with AD/HD turn to CHADD, the national organization representing individuals with AD/HD, for education, advocacy and support. The organization is composed of dedicated volunteers from around the country who play an integral part in the association's success by providing resources and encouragement to parents, educators and professionals on a grassroots level through CHADD chapters.


What is Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a neurologically-based, often familial, disorder, which interferes with the acquisition and processing of language. Varying in degrees of severity, it is manifested by difficulties in receptive and expressive language, including phonological processing, in reading, writing, spelling, handwriting and sometimes in arithmetic.
Dyslexia is not the result of lack of motivation, sensory impairment, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities, or other limiting conditions, but may occur together with these conditions.

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals with dyslexia, their families and the communities that support them. IDA is the oldest learning disabilities organization in the nation -- founded in 1949 in memory of Dr. Samuel T. Orton, a distinguished neurologist. Throughout their rich history, their goal has been to provide the most comprehensive forum for parents, educators, and researchers to share their experiences, methods, and knowledge.

  • http://www.interdys.org/


What is Autism?

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. The result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, autism and its associated behaviors have been estimated to occur in as many as 2 to 6 in 1,000 individuals (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2001). Autism is four times more prevalent in boys than girls and knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries. Family income, lifestyle, and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism's occurrence.

Children within the pervasive developmental disorder spectrum often appear relatively normal in their development until the age of 24-30 months, when parents may notice delays in language, play or social interaction. Any of the following delays, by themselves, would not result in a diagnosis of a pervasive developmental disorder. Autism is a combination of several developmental challenges.

The following areas are among those that may be affected by autism:

  • Communication:

language develops slowly or not at all; uses words without attaching the usual meaning to them; communicates with gestures instead of words; short attention span.

  • Social Interaction:

spends time alone rather than with others; shows little interest in making friends; less responsive to social cues such as eye contact or smiles.

  • Sensory Impairment:

may have sensitivities in the areas of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste to a greater or lesser degree.

  • Play:

lack of spontaneous or imaginative play; does not imitate others' actions; does not initiate pretend games.

  • Behaviors:

may be overactive or very passive; throws tantrums for no apparent reason; perseverates (shows an obsessive interest in a single item, idea, activity or person); apparent lack of common sense; may show aggression to others or self; often has difficulty with changes in routine.

Other conditions in the spectrum of Pervasive Developmental Disorder include Asperger's Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.

The Autism Society of America was founded in 1965 by Bernard Rimland, Ph.D.,who authored in late 1964, his book, Infantile Autism: The Syndrome and Its Implications for a Neural Theory of Behavior one of the first on autism. The mission of the Autism Society of America is to promote lifelong access and opportunity for all individuals within the autism spectrum, and their families, to be fully participating, included members of their community. Education, advocacy at state and federal levels, active public awareness and the promotion of research form the cornerstones of ASA's efforts to carry forth its mission

  • http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer

Massachusetts Resources:

Autism Society of America - Massachusetts Chapter
789 Clapboardtree Street
Westwood, MA 02092

Autism Support Center
64 Holten Street
Danvers, MA 01923

Community Autism Resources Adsum, Inc.
240 Elm Street
PO Box 1511
Fall River, MA 02722
508.677.9329 fax: 508.673.3061

Family Autism Center
789 Clapboardtree Street
Westwood, MA 02092

TILL's Autism Support Center
20 East Brook Road
Suite 201
Dedham, MA 02026-2056

The following Websites provide helpful information and links specific to the needs of those with Intellectual Impairments:

  • Family Village

A global community that integrates information, resources, and communication opportunities on the Internet for persons with mental retardation and other disabilities, their families, and those that provide them services and supports.

Home page for AAMR, the national organization for professionals and others interested in the field of mental retardation. Along with The Arc, AAMR is a founding member of the United States International Council on Developmental Disabilities.

The Arc is the national organization of and for people with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities and their families. It is devoted to promoting and improving supports and services for people with mental retardation and their families. The association also fosters research and education regarding the prevention of mental retardation in infants and young children.

  • Best Buddies

Best Buddies is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment.

Physical Disabilities and Health Disorders

Cerebral Palsy 

Brain Injury Association of America

The mission of the Brain Injury Association of America is to create a better future through brain injury prevention, research, education and advocacy.

  • http://www.biausa.org/

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
The nation's leading supporter of biomedical research on disorders of the brain and nervous system .

National Organization for Rare Disorders 

Searchable databases and an alphabetical index of disease names.

  • Search Database - http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdbsearch.html
  • Alphabetical Index - http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html

The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD)


A searchable, on-line database of information regarding all aspects of physical activity as well fact sheets and bibliographies on topics related to specific disabilities and physical activity. Visitors can also conduct searches on organizations, agencies, books, videos, and ways to obtain information from multiple sources on a wide range of general or specific topics.

Mental Health and Counseling

KidsPeace - KidsPeace is a private, not-for-profit charity dedicated to serving the critical behavioral and mental health needs of children, preadolescents, and teens.

  • http://www.kidspeace.org/

Social Skills Websites:

Beyond Words Center for Social Skills Training

  • Kid Source OnLine

Kid Source OnLine: The teacher's role in developing social skills.

Other Useful Websites:              

A parent support organization

An organization formed to promote the prevention and cure of anxiety disorders. This site includes a significant amount of research, message boards, and other useful resources to help you better understand anxiety disorders.

The National Mental Health Association is the country's oldest and largest nonprofit organization addressing all aspects of mental health and mental illness.

Founded by a group of individuals with OCD in 1986, the mission of the OCF is to educate the public and professional communities about OCD and related disorders; to provide assistance to individuals with OCD and related disorders, their family and friends; and to support research into the causes and effective treatments of OCD and related disorders.

Visual and Hearing Impairments

Resource Sites on Blindness:

(AFB), a U.S. nonprofit organization enabling blind or visually impaired people to achieve equality and access. Provides information and referrals about living with visual impairment. Helen Keller devoted over 40 years of her life to AFB.

A Unique Way of Learning - Teaching Young Children with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia. Available from the Blind Children's Center LA CA

MCB is a multi-purpose state agency serving children as well as adults and elders, whose homepage has many external resource links, as well as information about its own services.

NFB is the largest organization of the blind in America.

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) created the Braille Bug web site to teach sighted children about Braille, and to encourage literacy among all children.

  • California School For The Blind: Assistive Technology Curriculum Guides (2004)


  • Strategies for Teaching Students with Vision Impairments


  • Science Teacher Website - There are software simulation programs that can be used for low vision students.  http://chem.lapeer.org/

For a Tactile Image Enhancer, check out the diagram CD from Purdue University 

Organizations Supporting the Visually Impaired:

Helen Keller National Center
111 Middleneck Road
Sands Point, NY 11050
(516) 944-8900
Center for training youths and adults who are deaf and blind. A variety of skill training is available, including working with computers.

New England Region
89 Broad Street
Suite 1135
Boston, MA 02110-8702
(617) 350-8702 (voice and TDD)

National Braille Press, Inc.
88 St. Stephen Street
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 266-6160
Print/Braille books at the same price as the print edition. Children's Braille Book Club features a different print/Braille book each month. Interest level of books: preschool to grade 3.

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic
58 Charles Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
Phone: (617) 577-1111

Massachusetts Association for the Blind
200 Ivy Street
Brookline, MA 02446
Local Telephone: (617) 738-5110
Toll Free Telephone: (800) 682-9200

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary: Vision Rehabilitation Center
243 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
Local Telephone: (617) 573-4177

Perkins School for the Blind: Braille and Talking Book Library
175 North Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02472
Local Telephone: (617) 972-7240
Toll Free Telephone: (800) 852-3133

Resources for the Hearing Impaired:

The Boston Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children (BCDC) at Children's Hospital Boston provides state-of-the-art, comprehensive evaluation and consultative services to deaf and hard of hearing children.

MCDHH is a commission, under the Executive Office of Human Services, which serves as the principal agency in the state on behalf of deaf, late deafened, and hard of hearing people.

ASHA provides information and resources about communication disorders for students, parents, professionals an others.    

American Sign Language:

  • Information and Resources


  • ASL Access is a 100% volunteer, non-profit organization

providing American Sign Language video resources to libraries. http://www.aslaccess.org/

Speech and Language Resources:

  • Speech and Language Milestone Chart
  • American Speech Language Hearing Association
  • Social Stories

Childhood Health

American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • AAPA great resource committed to optimal physical, mental, and social health. Professional education, publications, research, and more.

Kids Health:

Created by the pediatric medical experts at The Alfred I. duPont Institute Children's Hospital, The Nemours Children's Clinic and other children's health facilities nationwide. Parents will find accurate, up-to-date information on important issues ranging from child behavior and development, to nutrition, growth, surgery, immunizations, and more. Medical professionals also will find important resources addressing their needs.

  • BAM!

BAM! is brought to you by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). BAM! was created to answer kids' questions on health issues and recommend ways to make their bodies and minds healthier, stronger, and safer.

This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.