When your child has a disability or special health care needs, you might not know about all the organizations out there that might be able to help.
On this page, we’ve put together a list of some of the nonprofits and government agencies that help children with disabilities or special health care needs and their families navigate legal, educational, and health care systems. These organizations all receive government funding to be able to help families like yours.
We’ve also included information on this page about some important laws that protect your child and other people with disabilities or special health care needs.
To help you sort through them all, here is a quick look at the ways the organizations listed on this page might be able to help you and your child. Please note that this chart is just a brief overview and each of these organizations does more than what’s listed here.
|For Help With:||Get In Touch With:|
|Special Education (education and advocacy)||
|Legal Issues and Rights||
|Disability Studies at Universities (research and education on best practices, as well as direct services for families like assistive technology, family support and training, and autism resources)||
|Advancement of Disability Issues (leadership in advocacy, employment, housing, and more)
Texas has a network of 20 Education Service Centers (ESC) that offer parent training and support as well as services to local school districts. If you want help working with your local school to get special education services for your child, you can call the special education contact at your regional ESC.
In addition, certain ECSs have special resources and services listed below.
The Texas Partners Resource Network helps parents get the right special education services for their children. They do this through 3 parent training and information (PTI) centers: PATH, PEN, and TEAM. Each serves a different area of Texas and they all offer training, education, information, referrals, emotional support, and other help to parents of children with disabilities. On their website, you can find information on how to reach someone and ask questions; workshops for parents and professionals, and online or printed resources.
Disability Rights Texas supports and fights for the rights of people with disabilities. They:
The Texas Center for Disability Studies at the University of Texas at Austin does research on best practices to educate professionals who want to work with people with disabilities or special health care needs. They also work with schools and state agencies, and offer education programs on housing, special education, adaptive technology, and many other areas that affect daily life for people with disabilities. Here is a list of some of their community programs:
The Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University offers research and education for professionals who want to work with people with disabilities or special health care needs. They have many community outreach programs listed below.
The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities works to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities. They offer:
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) are places around the state that have health care services. Some also have dental, mental health, or substance abuse services too.
FQHCs and RHCs give services to all people even if they can’t afford to pay for those services or pay the whole cost. This includes people who have Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), private health insurance, or no insurance. Depending on your situation and family income, your family might be able to just pay part of the cost. You can search for a FQHC or a RHC near you.
In addition to all of the programs and services listed on this page, many Texas state agencies have services for children with disabilities or special health care needs. See our State Agencies & Services page to learn more about those.
Section 504 of the American Civil Rights Act makes sure that people who need accommodations (changes) to the classroom or the way that material is taught can get them. See our Section 504 page to learn more.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an important law from 1990 that gives and protects many rights for people of all ages with disabilities or special health care needs.
It states that people with disabilities should have the same chance as everyone else to get jobs, housing, all types of government services, and transportation. It also defines ways that commercial buildings (like stores or offices) and public spaces (like parks, museums, and sidewalks) should be designed so that people with disabilities can use them.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives children with disabilities the right to a free and accessible public education in the least restrictive environment. Learn more about it on our page about your child’s right to a public education.