What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 in 68 children have been identified with ASD.

“There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave and learn in ways that are different from most other people,” according to the Center for Disease Control. “The learning, thinking and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.”

ASD occurs among all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Most children with ASD are diagnosed after age 4, even though ASD can be diagnosed as early as age 2.

You can learn more about the Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Causes and Risk Factors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 


About the Project, Autism: Breakthrough to Hope

Thursday, April 27 at 9 p.m., tune in to WEDU PBS as we host a community town hall on autism.

The Town Hall

 

The Webcast

 

A live taping of this community conversation about autism was held on April 1, 2017 at WEDU PBS. Families and caregivers of children or adults with autism, professional experts, business leaders and companies who advocate through education and employment discussed autism and other related disabilities. The program will highlight some of the struggles and successes through personal experience.

Featured guests included:

  • Dr. Eric Tridas, Pediatrician, Tridas Center for Child Development, Tampa
  • Dr. Karen Berkman, Executive Director, Center for Autism & Related Disabilities, USF-Tampa
  • Sheldon Hershman, Executive Director, The ARC Tampa Bay, Clearwater
  • Yadira Calderon, community autism advocate and parent
  • Ann Millan, author and parent
  • Peggy Millan, individual with autism
  • Mark Fleming, personal trainer who works with autistic individuals
  • Rachel Barcellona, Miss Florida International, individual with autism
  • Barbara Barcellona, parent
  • Adam Ricketts, filmmaker
  • Karenne P. Levy, President & CEO, MacDonald Training Center

 


NOTICE: WEDU PBS does not provide medical or legal advice or services. WEDU PBS, through this webpage, provides a collection of information about Autism as a service to the community. The information provided on this webpage is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method or service provider. This information should not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals. WEDU PBS has not validated and is not responsible for any information or services provided by third parties. You are urged to use independent judgment and request references when considering any resource within this or any other services related to Autism or other health issues.

 


PBS Videos & Resources

PBS Newshour

Meeting ‘Autism’s First Child’

“Autism’s First Child” is a profile of Donald Triplett, a 77-year-old Mississippian whose diagnosis of autism was the first to appear in the medical literature — in 1943. More

Independent Lens

Autism in Love

Finding love can be hard enough for anyone, but for those with an autism spectrum disorder, the challenges may seem overwhelming. Matt Fuller’s Autism in Love offers a warm and stereotype-shattering look at four people as they pursue and manage romantic relationships. More

PBS Newshour

Autism Now Series

This six-part special series takes a unique — and uniquely personal — look at Autism and explores the latest scientific and medical thinking, chronicling the impact of autism on families, educators and clinicians. More

 


First Steps

You have received a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – Now What? Where do you start? Who do you contact? Know That You Are Not Alone – Let’s Get Started!

Click to open each section.

Birth to 3-Years Old

Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD): The Agency supports persons with developmental disabilities in living, learning, and working in their communities. APD works in partnership with local communities and private providers to assist people who have developmental disabilities and their families. APD also provides assistance in identifying the needs of people with developmental disabilities for supports and services.

Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD): The Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD), a statewide organization that provides support and assistance with the goal of optimizing the potential of people with autism and related disabilities. CARD sites | Birth to Five Resources

Florida Health Early Steps: Early Steps, within Children’s Medical Services (CMS), serves families with infants and toddlers, birth to 36 months of age, who have developmental delays or an established condition likely to result in a developmental delay. Families and caregivers also receive support to develop the skills and confidence they need to help their children learn and develop.

Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS): A statewide organization providing diagnostic, instructional, and technology support services to district exceptional education programs and families of students with disabilities. Service centers include 19 centers that directly serve school districts in the areas of Child Find, Parent Services, Human Resource Development (HRD), and Technology. In addition, the FDLRS Network also includes 6 Multi-disciplinary Centers who focus on in-depth evaluations and several statewide projects offering specialized services. View FDLRS Associate Centers by Region

Child Find: A service within the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS), Child Find assists parents and schools with the early identification of children, birth through age 21, who have, or are at risk of, a disability. Every child grows mentally and physically at his or her own pace. However, some children experience disabilities that can hinder their potential progress. Child Find offers parents services to help in identifying these children. Child Find is a free service and parents are under no obligation to enroll their child in any service.

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC): This service was established to help plan individual and family-centered supports for persons with disabilities in Florida. The Council also guides the development and administration of services for people with developmental disabilities by planning and funding research, innovations, and programs designed to improve the quality of their lives.

Autism Speaks: The world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Early Access to Care Resources for Parents:

National Autism Society: The nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.

Family Network on Disabilities (FND): A national network of individuals of all ages who may be at-risk, have disabilities, or have special needs and their families, professionals, and concerned citizens. The mission of FND is to strive for the complete integration and equality of persons with disabilities in a society without barriers and to serve families of children with disabilities, ages birth through 26, who have the full range of disabilities described in section 602(3) of IDEA. FND is a parent organization as defined in section 671(a)(2) of IDEA 2004.

Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST): Serves Floridians with disabilities by providing free access to information, referral services, educational programs, and publications in accessible formats on topics such as disability rights, laws, and policies. We also provide assistive technology (AT) device loans as well as funding opportunities for AT.

Pre-K to 5th Grade

Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD): The Agency supports persons with developmental disabilities in living, learning, and working in their communities. APD works in partnership with local communities and private providers to assist people who have developmental disabilities and their families. APD also provides assistance in identifying the needs of people with developmental disabilities for supports and services.

Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD): The Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD), a statewide organization that provides support and assistance with the goal of optimizing the potential of people with autism and related disabilities. CARD sites | ASD Specific & General Organizations

Autism Speaks: The world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. School Age Children:

Department of Education (FLDOE): The Department of Education serves as the single repository of education data from school districts, state and community colleges, universities, and independent postsecondary institutions. Services To Floridians With Disabilities:

  • The Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS) administers programs for students with disabilities and for gifted students. Additionally, the bureau coordinates student services throughout the state and participates in multiple inter-agency efforts designed to strengthen the quality and variety of services available to students with special needs.
  • The Division of Blind Services helps to ensure blind and visually impaired persons living in Florida have the tools, support, and opportunity to achieve success.
  • The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation serves as an employment resource for businesses and people with disabilities. Our mission is to enable individuals with disabilities to obtain and keep employment.
  • ADA Coordinators and Compliance – Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination based on disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) require that the Department of Education and all organizations or firms contracting with the Department of Education, except those providing tangible goods, comply with ADA/504 accessibility requirements. 

Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS): A statewide organization providing diagnostic, instructional, and technology support services to district exceptional education programs and families of students with disabilities. Service centers include 19 centers that directly serve school districts in the areas of Child Find, Parent Services, Human Resource Development (HRD), and Technology. In addition, the FDLRS Network also includes 6 Multi-disciplinary Centers who focus on in-depth evaluations and several statewide projects offering specialized services. FDLRS Associate Centers by Region

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC): was established to help plan individual and family-centered supports for persons with disabilities in Florida. The Council also guides the development and administration of services for people with developmental disabilities by planning and funding research, innovations, and programs designed to improve the quality of their lives.

The Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology: serves Floridians with disabilities by providing free access to information, referral services, educational programs, and publications in accessible formats on topics such as disability rights, laws, and policies. We also provide assistive technology (AT) device loans as well as funding opportunities for AT.

Family Network on Disabilities (FND): A national network of individuals of all ages who may be at-risk, have disabilities, or have special needs and their families, professionals, and concerned citizens. The mission of FND is to strive for the complete integration and equality of persons with disabilities in a society without barriers and to serve families of children with disabilities, ages birth through 26, who have the full range of disabilities described in section 602(3) of IDEA. FND is a parent organization as defined in section 671(a)(2) of IDEA 2004.

Florida Inclusion Network (FIN): The Florida Inclusion Network (FIN) collaborates with all districts and schools to provide customized services and supports ensuring all students with disabilities have the same educational, social, and future opportunities as their peers.

6th to 8th Grade

Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD):  The Agency supports persons with developmental disabilities in living, learning, and working in their communities.  APD works in partnership with local communities and private providers to assist people who have developmental disabilities and their families. APD also provides assistance in identifying the needs of people with developmental disabilities for supports and services.

Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD): The Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD), a statewide organization that provides support and assistance with the goal of optimizing the potential of people with autism and related disabilities. CARD sites | ASD Specific & General Organizations

Autism Speaks:  The world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. School Age Children:

Department of Education (FLDOE): The Department of Education serves as the single repository of education data from school districts, state and community colleges, universities, and independent postsecondary institutions. Services To Floridians With Disabilities:

  • The Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS) administers programs for students with disabilities and for gifted students. Additionally, the bureau coordinates student services throughout the state and participates in multiple inter-agency efforts designed to strengthen the quality and variety of services available to students with special needs.
  • The Division of Blind Services helps to ensure blind and visually impaired persons living in Florida have the tools, support, and opportunity to achieve success.
  • The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation serves as an employment resource for businesses and people with disabilities. Our mission is to enable individuals with disabilities to obtain and keep employment.
  • ADA Coordinators and Compliance – Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination based on disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) require that the Department of Education and all organizations or firms contracting with the Department of Education, except those providing tangible goods, comply with ADA/504 accessibility requirements.   

Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS): A statewide organization providing diagnostic, instructional, and technology support services to district exceptional education programs and families of students with disabilities. Service centers include 19 centers that directly serve school districts in the areas of Child Find, Parent Services, Human Resource Development (HRD), and Technology. In addition, the FDLRS Network also includes 6 Multi-disciplinary Centers who focus on in-depth evaluations and several statewide projects offering specialized services. FDLRS Associate Centers by Region

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC): was established to help plan individual and family-centered supports for persons with disabilities in Florida. The Council also guides the development and administration of services for people with developmental disabilities by planning and funding research, innovations, and programs designed to improve the quality of their lives.

The Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology: serves Floridians with disabilities by providing free access to information, referral services, educational programs, and publications in accessible formats on topics such as disability rights, laws, and policies. We also provide assistive technology (AT) device loans as well as funding opportunities for AT.

Family Network on Disabilities (FND): A national network of individuals of all ages who may be at-risk, have disabilities, or have special needs and their families, professionals, and concerned citizens. The mission of FND is to strive for the complete integration and equality of persons with disabilities in a society without barriers and to serve families of children with disabilities, ages birth through 26, who have the full range of disabilities described in section 602(3) of IDEA. FND is a parent organization as defined in section 671(a)(2) of IDEA 2004.

Florida Inclusion Network (FIN): The Florida Inclusion Network (FIN) collaborates with all districts and schools to provide customized services and supports ensuring all students with disabilities have the same educational, social, and future opportunities as their peers.

High School to Adult

Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD):  The Agency supports persons with developmental disabilities in living, learning, and working in their communities. APD works in partnership with local communities and private providers to assist people who have developmental disabilities and their families. APD also provides assistance in identifying the needs of people with developmental disabilities for supports and services.

Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD): The Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD), a statewide organization that provides support and assistance with the goal of optimizing the potential of people with autism and related disabilities. CARD sites | Secondary Transition

Autism Speaks:  The world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Transition Age:

  • Transition Tool Kit
  • Community-based Skills Assessment
  • Advocacy Tool Kit
  • Individualized Education Program: Summary, Process and Practical Tips
  • Postsecondary Educational Opportunities Guide

Department of Education (FLDOE): The Department of Education serves as the single repository of education data from school districts, state and community colleges, universities, and independent postsecondary institutions. Services To Floridians With Disabilities:

  • The Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS) administers programs for students with disabilities and for gifted students. Additionally, the bureau coordinates student services throughout the state and participates in multiple inter-agency efforts designed to strengthen the quality and variety of services available to students with special needs.
  • The Division of Blind Services helps to ensure blind and visually impaired persons living in Florida have the tools, support, and opportunity to achieve success.
  • The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation serves as an employment resource for businesses and people with disabilities. Our mission is to enable individuals with disabilities to obtain and keep employment.
  • ADA Coordinators and Compliance – Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination based on disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) require that the Department of Education and all organizations or firms contracting with the Department of Education, except those providing tangible goods, comply with ADA/504 accessibility requirements.   

Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS): A statewide organization providing diagnostic, instructional, and technology support services to district exceptional education programs and families of students with disabilities. Service centers include 19 centers that directly serve school districts in the areas of Child Find, Parent Services, Human Resource Development (HRD), and Technology. In addition, the FDLRS Network also includes 6 Multi-disciplinary Centers who focus on in-depth evaluations and several statewide projects offering specialized services. FDLRS Associate Centers by Region

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC): was established to help plan individual and family-centered supports for persons with disabilities in Florida. The Council also guides the development and administration of services for people with developmental disabilities by planning and funding research, innovations, and programs designed to improve the quality of their lives.

The Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology: serves Floridians with disabilities by providing free access to information, referral services, educational programs, and publications in accessible formats on topics such as disability rights, laws, and policies. We also provide assistive technology (AT) device loans as well as funding opportunities for AT.

Family Network on Disabilities (FND): A national network of individuals of all ages who may be at-risk, have disabilities, or have special needs and their families, professionals, and concerned citizens. The mission of FND is to strive for the complete integration and equality of persons with disabilities in a society without barriers and to serve families of children with disabilities, ages birth through 26, who have the full range of disabilities described in section 602(3) of IDEA. FND is a parent organization as defined in section 671(a)(2) of IDEA 2004.

Florida Inclusion Network (FIN): The Florida Inclusion Network (FIN) collaborates with all districts and schools to provide customized services and supports ensuring all students with disabilities have the same educational, social, and future opportunities as their peers.

 


Social Development & Communications

Social skills are the skills we use to communicate and interact with each other, both verbally and non-verbally. Communications skills are key to developing meaningful relationships at school, in the community and at work.

Show Resources

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA): Making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all. Social Communication Disorders in School-Age Children: Social communication can be defined as "the synergistic emergence of social interaction, social cognition, pragmatics (verbal and nonverbal), and receptive and expressive language processing."

Autism Speaks: The world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

Carol Grey Social Stories: Carol is best known for the development of Social Stories, a respected evidence-based practice used worldwide with people with autism of all ages. Carol began writing stories for her students to share information with them that they seemed to be missing, information that so many of us take for granted. Many of the stories resulted in immediate and marked improvement in her students’ responses to daily events and interactions. Social Stories are a social learning tool that supports the safe and meaningful exchange of information between parents, professionals, and people with autism of all ages.

do2Learn:  provides thousands of free pages with social skills and behavioral regulation activities and guidance, learning songs and games, communication cards, academic material, and transition guides for employment and life skills.

Interactive Autism Network (IAN): IAN’s goal is to facilitate research that will lead to advancements in understanding and treating autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A Partnership of Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Simons Foundation

National Autism Society: The nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy. Social/Relationships: Although young children with autism sometimes seem to prefer to be by themselves, one of the most important issues, especially for older children and adults, is the development of friendships with peers. It can take a great deal of time and effort for people with ASD to develop the social skills needed to interact successfully with others, so it is important to start developing social ability early. Furthermore, bullying in middle and high school, not to mention at the workplace for some adults, can be a major problem for people with autism, and the development of friendships is one of the best ways to prevent it.

Social Thinking:  Their mission is to help people develop their social thinking skills to better connect with others and live happier, more meaningful lives. Core to their teachings of Social Thinking, parents and professionals, must avoid assumption of what our students understand when it comes to their social knowledge and related social skills. Using Social Thinking’s teaching tools, they teach explicitly what most people are expected to learn implicitly. They do not their social thinking skills to better connect with others and live happier, more meaningful lives. assume that a person with normal to high intelligence and solid language skills understands the dynamics of social engagement. Social Thinking (the concept) is the process of thinking about a situation in order to determine which social behaviors to display that will help us achieve our goals (such as friendship, safety, a promotion, etc.).

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), conducts and supports research in the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language. Autism Spectrum Disorder: Communication Problems in Children

Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI) takes the research that shows which practices improve the social-emotional outcomes for young children with, or at risk for, delays or disabilities and creates FREE products and resources to help decision-makers, caregivers, and service providers apply these best practices in the work they do every day. Backpack Connection Series was created by TACSEI to provide a way for teachers and parents/caregivers to work together to help young children develop social emotional skills and reduce challenging behavior.

Understood: In collaboration with 14 founding nonprofit organizations, the National Center for Learning Disabilities will operate and manage Understood. These organizations have joined forces to support parents of the one in five children with learning and attention issues throughout their journey.

 


Behavior

Behaviors are communications. For individuals with limited or no functional communication, behaviors may be the only way to communicate needs, wants or frustrations. Full community participation requires meaningful communication. Verbal, augmentative and alternative communication and evidence based instructional practices are paramount.

Show Resources

Association for Positive Behavior Support (APBS): An international organization dedicated to improving the support of individuals in order to reduce behavioral challenges, increasing independence, and ensure the development of constructive behaviors to meet life goals in the areas of social relationships, employment, academic achievement, functional life-skills, self-determination, health, and safety.

Autism Speaks: The world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

AutismWeb.com: A community of parents interested in autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and Asperger Syndrome. Educating Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders Overview of the Major Teaching Methods

Behavior Can Change: An easy to read digest of information on Applied Behavior Analysis. What You Need to Know About Effective Autism Treatment

Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies:  The Autism Section of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies web site presents a scientific view of the causes of Autism and the Applied Behavior Analysis approach to its treatment. Advice for Parents on Selecting Appropriate Treatments

Center for Autism & Related Disabilities at USF (CARD-USF): a community-based project that provides information and consultation to individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and related disabilities. Behavior Materials & Links

Interactive Autism Network (IAN) – IAN’s goal is to facilitate research that will lead to advancements in understanding and treating autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A Partnership of Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Simons Foundation. Challenging Behaviors

National Autism Society: The nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy. Supporting Appropriate Behavior in Students with Asperger’s: Challenging behaviors are frequently the primary obstacle in supporting students with Asperger’s. Effective behavioral support requires highly individualized practices that address primary areas of difficulty and strength.

Organization for Autism Research (OAR):  The product of the shared vision and unique life experiences of OAR’s seven founders. Led by these parents and grandparents of children and adults on the autism spectrum, OAR set out to use applied science to answer questions that parents, families, individuals with autism, teachers and caregivers confront daily. No other autism organization has this singular focus. Frequently Used Interventions

OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS): The Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports is established by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Emphasis is given to the impact of implementing PBIS on the social, emotional and academic outcomes for students with disabilities.

SEDNET: The Multiagency Network for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities: A discretionary grant through the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS).Florida’s statewide network of SEDNET projects serve as a collaborative resource for school districts, agencies, and families working to promote positive educational and community-based outcomes for children with emotional and behavioral disabilities (E/BD).

Success 4 Kids & Families: A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization offering in-home treatment services for families in Hillsborough County, Florida.  Offering a helping hand for parents and families when kids begin to experience problems in school, at home or even with the law. Beginning with a family and child assessment by certified clinicians, they offer family counseling- as well as help to for troubled children, offeing a wide range of services including assistance for substance abuse, depression, mental and behavioral health, learning difficulties, anger management, bullying, problems at school, as well as pre-natal and post-natal services.

Florida Association for Behavior Analysis: promotes the ethical, humane, and effective application of behavior principles in settings ranging from the community group home to the corporate boardroom.

Florida’s Positive Behavior Support Project: Positive Behavior Support (PBS) gives people a new way to think about behavior. PBS is based on understanding why problem behaviors occur – the behavior’s function. This approach to behavior can occur on a school-wide level, in a specific setting, classroom, or with an individual student.

 


Transition to Adulthood

Begin to think about planning for transition to adulthood at the elementary school level, keeping in mind the necessary behavior, communication, social, academic and employability skills that are required for successful transition to post-secondary (after high school) life.

Show Resources

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act allows individuals with disabilities and their family and friends to save for future expenses, like popular Roth IRA and 529 college savings plans, while maintaining government benefits.

Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD):  The Agency supports persons with developmental disabilities in living, learning, and working in their communities. APD works in partnership with local communities and private providers to assist people who have developmental disabilities and their families. APD also provides assistance in identifying the needs of people with developmental disabilities for supports and services.

Autism Speaks: The world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD): The Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD), a statewide organization that provides support and assistance with the goal of optimizing the potential of people with autism and related disabilities. CARD sites | Secondary Transition

Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR): A central resource of information and products to the community of Parent Training Information (PTI) Centers and the Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs), so that they can focus their efforts on serving families of children with disabilities. Transition from School to Adult Life

Department of Education (FLDOE): The Department of Education serves as the single repository of education data from school districts, state and community colleges, universities, and independent postsecondary institutions. Services To Floridians With Disabilities:

  • The Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS) administers programs for students with disabilities and for gifted students. Additionally, the bureau coordinates student services throughout the state and participates in multiple inter-agency efforts designed to strengthen the quality and variety of services available to students with special needs.
  • Secondary Transition
  • ADA Coordinators and Compliance – Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination based on disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) require that the Department of Education and all organizations or firms contracting with the Department of Education, except those providing tangible goods, comply with ADA/504 accessibility requirements.

Family Network on Disabilities (FND): A national network of individuals of all ages who may be at-risk, have disabilities, or have special needs and their families, professionals, and concerned citizens. The mission of FND is to strive for the complete integration and equality of persons with disabilities in a society without barriers and to serve families of children with disabilities, ages birth through 26, who have the full range of disabilities described in section 602(3) of IDEA. FND is a parent organization as defined in section 671(a)(2) of IDEA 2004. Special Needs Trusts

Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST): Serves Floridians with disabilities by providing free access to information, referral services, educational programs, and publications in accessible formats on topics such as disability rights, laws, and policies. We also provide assistive technology (AT) device loans as well as funding opportunities for AT.

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC): was established to help plan individual and family-centered supports for persons with disabilities in Florida. The Council also guides the development and administration of services for people with developmental disabilities by planning and funding research, innovations, and programs designed to improve the quality of their lives. Guardianship and Other Decision-Making Alternatives information regarding guardianship and alternatives to guardianship for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation National: Federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or keep a job. VR is committed to helping people with disabilities find meaningful careers. Transition Youth: Youth Resources, Youth Career Resources, Supported Employment, Ticket to Work, Independent Living Program

National Autism Society: The nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.

  • Future Planning: Ensuring quality of life for a loved one with autism requires a care plan with a sound legal and financial foundation. The purpose of a special needs estate plan is to ensure the economic security and ongoing well-being of your family member, even when you’re no longer able to assume that responsibility.
  • Transition-Preparing for a Lifetime:  The dramatic change from the secure world of school to the uncertainty of adulthood can be stressful and challenging. Unfortunately, despite years of mandated transition planning and a continued interest in preparing students for real life, many students with ASD leave school unprepared for employment, independence and maintaining social relationships.
  • Preparing to Experience College Living:  Going away to college can be a daunting experience for students on the autism spectrum, as supports from family, friends and school may no longer exist. New college students face academic demands while learning to take care of themselves, managing finances, meeting new people, etc.

National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability (NCWD): NCWD/Youth is a source for information about employment and youth with disabilities.

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT):  Improving Postsecondary Outcomes for All Students with Disabilities. Their purpose is to assist State Education Agencies, Local Education Agencies, State VR agencies, and VR service providers in implementing evidence-based and promising practices ensuring students with disabilities, including those with significant disabilities, graduate prepared for success in postsecondary education and employment.

Organization for Autism Research (OAR):  The product of the shared vision and unique life experiences of OAR’s seven founders. Led by these parents and grandparents of children and adults on the autism spectrum, OAR set out to use applied science to answer questions that parents, families, individuals with autism, teachers and caregivers confront daily. No other autism organization has this singular focus. Life Journey Through Autism Series Guidebooks include A Guide for Transition to Adulthood

Project 10: Transition Education Network: Assists Florida school districts and relevant stakeholders in building capacity to provide secondary transition services to students with disabilities in order to improve their academic success and post-school outcomes. Project 10 serves as the primary conduit between the Florida Department of Education, specifically the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS), and relevant school district personnel in addressing law and policy, effective practices, and research-based interventions in the area of transition services for youth with disabilities.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits: The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources.

The Able Trust (also known as the Florida Endowment Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation), is a 501(c)(3) public-private partnership foundation established by the Florida Legislature. Its mission is to be a key leader in providing Floridians with disabilities opportunities for successful employment.

The Family Café exists to provide individuals with disabilities and their families with an opportunity for collaboration, advocacy, friendship and empowerment by serving as a facilitator of communication, a space for dialogue and a source of information.

The Florida Youth Council is a group of youth and emerging leaders (age 15-30) with disabilities or special health care needs that live in Florida. a program of The Family Cafe.

The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET) coordinates national resources, offers technical assistance, and disseminates information related to secondary education and transition for youth with disabilities in order to create opportunities for youth to achieve successful futures.

Think College National: Providing training and technical assistance for professionals, families, and students related to postsecondary education for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.

BestColleges.com – Disability: Prospective college students with disabilities will find that many campuses are equipped with offices and services that address accessibility, accommodation, and assistive technology for a diverse range of needs. Student services offices and disability coordinators at many colleges work to make campuses inclusive environments through specialized advocacy, support, and academic services. Overview of College Resources for Students with Disabilities

 

Sponsored by:

Community Foundation of Tampa Bay

Anonymous Donor

Bernard F. and Mary Ann Powell Foundation

Phyllis Guthman, Disability Resource Hub

Disability Resource Hub