Engaging Parents with Disabilities and Learning Differences

Related Resources

The materials below provide information that can support your work with parents with varied types of disabilities. Many of these resources were developed to support parents specifically, while others were developed for disabled adults in general. These resources cover a wide variety of topics, from vocabulary to advocacy to parenting tips. Remember, not all this information will apply to every parent with a disability.

General Resources for and About Parents with Disabilities

The Administration for Community Living is a federal agency that provides information and advocacy resources “to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities, and the integration and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American society.”

Disability and Health Overview from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines and explains important terms like disability and impairment.

The Disability Glossary, developed by the Anti-Defamation League, includes the definitions of important words related to disability.

Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is a text and phone line that provides connections for information on local transportation, housing support, and disability rights and advocacy support. Communication in American Sign Language is available. The toll-free number is 888-677-1199.

Discrimination on the Basis of Disability compiles the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) resources on disability. 

Easter Seals is an organization that supports children and adults with disabilities.

Know the Rights That Protect Individuals with Disabilities from Discrimination briefly explains the laws and regulations that apply to HHS services, like Head Start programs.

The National Center for Disability and Pregnancy Research provides research, training, and education focused on improving the experiences of disabled people’s pregnancies.

The National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities presents research and advocacy resources, including parenting tips, to improve the lives of parents with disabilities.

Parenting Tips and Strategies from Parents with Disabilities provides links to resources that support parents with a wide range of disabilities. This advice is important to staff supporting parents with disabilities as well as parents with disabilities themselves.

Parenting with a Disability: Know Your Rights Toolkit is an advocacy resource that provides information about disability law and other safeguards important to parents with disabilities and their families.

People with Disabilities and the Accommodations They Need defines what accommodations are and explains how they are needed to combat ableism and bias. It is provided in both English and Spanish.

State Resources for Parents with Disabilities is a website from the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities that provides links to state-level advocacy resources for parents with disabilities.

Parents with Intellectual Disabilities and Other Learning Differences

Connect with a local ARC chapter for resources and support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Association for Successful Parenting is a national organization that supports families when parents have learning differences and difficulties. They provide trainings and information for staff who work with families and provide parenting tips.

Being Good Parents: A Guide for Parents with Intellectual Disabilities is a National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities resource that supports parents with intellectual disabilities.

Pregnancy Among Women with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities from the National Center for Disability and Pregnancy Research includes several relevant resources.

Toolkit to Support Home Visiting Services for Caregivers with Learning Differences: Conceptual Model and Resource Compendium presents home visiting staff, programs, models, and policymakers with important information, a conceptual model, and key resources to support parents or caregivers with intellectual disabilities or other learning differences.

Parents with Physical Disabilities

The National Association of the Deaf has four regional affiliates, and also offers resources directly to parents and service providers.

The National Federation of the Blind offers resources to support blind parents and links to state affiliates.

Pregnancy Among Women with Physical Disabilities and Pregnancy Among Deaf Women are helpful resources from the National Center for Disability and Pregnancy Research.

Several resources from the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities, including Adaptive Parenting Strategies and Equipment, Nighttime with a Newborn, and Parenting Tips and Strategies from Parents with Disabilities, support parents with physical disabilities.

Parents with Health, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse-related Disabilities

Look for a national organization that supports people with a specific health condition. For example, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society can connect parents or staff to local resources and information about living with the condition.

ACF and Behavioral Health from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) includes links to many resources about and for caregivers, youth, and children with mental health issues.

Addressing Substance Use and Recovery is a set of resources that presents strategies to help families access substance use treatment, mental health services, and other tools to support recovery.

Mental Health and Wellness: Depression includes tips and strategies for supporting families dealing with depression.

The Head Start Heals campaign provides resources and information about trauma, including how it relates to mental health issues.

How Right Now is a program from the CDC designed to “promote and strengthen the emotional well-being and resilience of people disproportionately impacted by mental health challenges.”

The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline at (toll-free) 833-TLC-MAMA (833-852-6262) provides free, confidential 24/7 support before, during, and after pregnancy. The service is available in English and Spanish, with interpreters in 60 languages.

Neurodiverse Parents

Advocacy and Support Tips for Parents on the Autism Spectrum is one of the resources from the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities that supports parents on the autism spectrum.

Being a Parent on the Autism Spectrum presents brief personal accounts that describe some of the supports and challenges important to many parents on the autism spectrum.

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is an organization designed to support children and adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the providers who work with them.

A Survival Guide for Parents with ADHD: Strategies from Preschool to High School presents strategies that support parents to engage with their children’s education.

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) Resources About Parents with Disabilities

The Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC), the official Head Start website, is fully accessibile to all users.

A collection of attendance resources helps Head Start programs to understand the requirements and identify and address barriers to attendance.

Building Partnerships with Families Series supports staff to engage with families, including families in which parents or children have disabilities.

Strategies for Family Engagement: Strengths-based Attitudes and Relationship-based Practices helps staff to use strengths-based strategies to engage families.

Community engagement resources guide staff build partnerships to support families with a parent with disabilities.

Engaging Community Partners to Strengthen Family Services supports staff to develop collaborative relationships between programs and other community agencies.

The Engaging Parents in Conversations About Sensitive Topics resource guides staff to engage in effective, strengths-based conversations on sensitive topics like housing, economic mobility, health or mental health challenges, or concerns for the safety of a child or a family.

Facilities and Learning Environments provides information for Head Start programs on relevant regulations and resources.

Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework is a road map for enhancing and coordinating services for families, including families with parents with disabilities.

Intake and enrollment and outreach and recruitment resources provide questions that encourage reflection on equitable eligibility, recruitment, selection, enrollment, and attendance (ERSEA) practices.

What Access and Equity Mean to ERSEA offers information about how to adopt equitable practices to recruit and enroll families, including families with parents with disabilities.