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Supporting Special Needs Parents: Empowering Organizations Making a Difference

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Parenting a child with special needs can be both rewarding and challenging. Fortunately, several organizations are dedicated to providing support and resources to these parents. In this post, we will explore seven notable organizations—PASEN, COPAA, Long Island Advocacy Center (LIAC,) Nassau/ Suffolk Autism Society of America (NSASA,) IBCCES, The Arc, and GiGi’s Playhouse—and how they are making a positive impact on the lives of special needs parents.

Please note that while some of the organizations mentioned, such as LIAC, NSASA, and The Arc, are specific to the New York region, their missions and services can serve as valuable examples for parents in other locations. By exploring these organizations and their resources, parents outside of New York may gain insights into the types of support and services available and be encouraged to seek out similar organizations in their own communities. It’s important to reach out to local disability advocacy groups, community centers, or parent support networks to discover organizations specific to your area that can provide tailored assistance to special needs parents.

Let’s explore some of these organizations further:

PASEN logo: navy blue lettering on a cadet blue circular background with the Usa outline in the background

1. PASEN (Parent Alliance for Students with Exceptional Needs):

PASEN is committed to advocating for the rights and needs of special needs children while offering support to their parents. They provide guidance, resources, and a strong community network to help parents navigate educational systems, access services, and make informed decisions. For more information on PASEN, please follow this link:

COPAA logo: blue lettering on a whit background with a green swipe underneath

2. COPAA (Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates):

COPAA is an organization dedicated to protecting the legal and civil rights of students with disabilities. They provide resources, training, and advocacy support for parents seeking appropriate educational services and accommodations for their children. COPAA empowers parents to effectively navigate the legal aspects of special education. For more information on COPAA, please follow this link:

LIAC logo. black wording on a white and green rectangular background black silhouette of an adult and child holing their arms up

3. LIAC (Long Island Advocacy Center):

The Long Island Advocacy Center offers support and advocacy services to parents of children with disabilities on Long Island. They provide guidance in areas such as special education, behavior management, and access to appropriate services. The center empowers parents to advocate for their child’s rights and ensures they have the necessary tools for success. For more information on LIAC, please follow this link:

NSASA logo  green words on a white background with colorful lined threaded together

4. NSASA (Nassau/ Suffolk Autism Society of America):

The Nassau Suffolk Autism Society is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families. They provide a wide range of services, including support groups, educational programs, recreational activities, and advocacy initiatives. Through their comprehensive support, the society empowers special needs parents with the resources and connections needed to navigate the autism journey. For more information on NSASA, please follow this link:

ibcces logo white letters on a blue and grey rectangular background

5. IBCCES (International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards):

IBCCES is a global organization focused on training and certifying professionals who serve individuals with cognitive disorders, including autism. Through their certification programs, IBCCES ensures that educators, therapists, and other professionals are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide high-quality support to individuals with special needs. By raising the standards of care and education, IBCCES contributes to the overall empowerment of special needs parents. For more information on IBCCES, please follow this link:

the arc logo: an orange yellow swirl a

6. The Arc:

The Arc is an organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They offer a wide range of services, including advocacy, employment support, residential programs, and community inclusion initiatives. The Arc empowers special needs parents by providing resources, support networks, and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to thrive. For more information in The Arc, please follow this link:

Gigi's playhouse logo: colorful kid print wording with the I dotted with a heart on a white background

7. GiGi’s Playhouse:

GiGi’s Playhouse is a network of Down syndrome achievement centers that offer free educational, therapeutic, and social programs for individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Their programs focus on skill development, confidence building, and fostering a sense of belonging. GiGi’s Playhouse empowers special needs parents by providing a positive and inclusive environment where their children can learn, grow, and connect with others. For more information on Gigi’s Playhouse, please follow this link:

Organizations like PASEN, David’s Refuge, COPAA, LIAC, NSASA, IBCCES, The Arc, and GiGi’s Playhouse play vital roles in the lives of special needs

parents. Through their support, resources, and dedication, they provide much-needed assistance to parents who are navigating the unique challenges of raising children with special needs. By highlighting their efforts and encouraging further awareness, we can collectively create a more inclusive and supportive world for these parents and their remarkable children.


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