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Resources and Schools for Children with Special Needs in Dallas

In the local Dallas/Fort Worth area alone, there are nearly 350,000 people with disabilities.  (2008 United Way Community Needs Assessment). Dallas has several schools for special needs, providing a variety of options for special needs schooling. A child with special needs is eligible for public school at age 3; programs differ greatly between districts.  


In Texas, an IEP (Individualized Education Program) is called an ARD (Admission, Review and Dismissal). To start your search, utilize one of these resources; once you have options, contact district or school officials for more information on enrollment and eligibility.


Thrive Magazine

A great resource for finding doctors, therapies, ARD advocates and other needs is THRIVE magazine. It is free and copies are located in some clinic offices, or you can read it online:






Plano PTA SAGE (Special and Gifted Education).




The Connections Project


It is a magazine with all services available in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for kids with special needs. 


Texas Virtual Academy 


A charter school that has helped a lot of autistic children who are mostly in need of help with sensory and attention issues, as well a lot of other disabilities like dyslexia. The program is carried out at home on a computer that the school provides. The curriculum is K-12





Autism Speaks


6380 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy, Dallas (972) 960-6228


Child Find


The Dallas Independent School District has special services available to eligible infants, children, and young adults identified with a disability. Federal and State laws require that school districts maintain a Child Find system for identifying, locating, and evaluating individuals with disabilities (birth through 21 years of age) within its jurisdiction who are in need of special education or related services.



Our Children's House


Our Children’s House provides specialized medical care to children with any type of disability. Children’s Health partners with Children’s House locations across the region. The centers provide care to children from infancy to 18 years of age, including surgery, feeding programs, and outpatient centers.


Early Childhood Intervention


Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) is a statewide program within the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for families with children birth up to age 3, with developmental delays, disabilities or certain medical diagnoses that may impact development. ECI services support families as they learn how to help their children grow and learn.





Metrocare is a community resource with a Mental Retardation Authority, which works to determine eligibility for, and appropriateness of, community services. The Authority also considers cases outside of mental retardation, from autism to cerebral palsy.


Children with Special Health Care Needs Services Program: 


This program offers assistance and benefits such as health care, family support services, and therapies. More information is available here



Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Children’s Medicaid:


Families with children who receive Children’s Medicaid pay nothing for health care coverage, and children with CHIP pay no more than $50 per year. The coverage can assist with many special needs expenses, from medication to therapy. Be aware that both programs may have a waiting list

Abundant Life HCS



Abundant Life provides home and community-based services that help individuals with learning disabilities and their families in the comfort of their own homes. They understand that families know more about their loved ones than they do, and incorporate a family's goals and experiences into their programs.


ADD/LD Parent Support Group of Collin County



This support group hold meetings at the First United Methodist Church of Allen, which features guest speakers, videos, and information for parents of developmentally disabled children.                                                                                


The ARC of Dallas



The Dallas chapter of ARC serves as a voice for children with disabilities and their families in the areas of education and workforce rights. They seek to empower people with developmental and intellectual disabilities in order to improve their quality of life.


Association for Independent Living (AFIL)



For parents whose children will be finishing school, AFIL is a great program to get them ready to live more independent lives by offering them a half-way home and life skills to help them transition into independence.


Avid Quality Care



Avid focuses on caring for an individual's emotional, social, physical, and intellectual needs in order to enhance their quality of life. They provide HCS, residential, and skill development assistance to individuals of all ages.


Birth Injury Justice Center



The Birth Injury Justice  Center was created as a helpful resource focused on victims of birth injuries and their families.  Their mission is to provide legal information and guidance and serve all families with disabilities caused by physical birth injuries. 


Cerebral Palsy Group



Cerebral Palsy Group is here to provide free educational information and support to those who have been affected by cerebral palsy. Cerebral Palsy is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person's ability to move. Cerebral Palsy Group is an online resource that brings information directly to you in a helpful way.



Community For Permanent Supported Housing


CPSH collaborates with parents, property owners, all levels of government and the larger community in North Texas to establish safer, more affordable, housing options for adult loved ones with special needs. Housing created through CPSH is not a traditional group home, but an innovative approach to affordable, sustainable housing for people with special needs.

DHI (Disability Help, Inc)



DHI is an organization that provides assistance to people with disabilities in getting benefits from social security. Their services include assistance with filing claims, representing claimants in hearings, and answering SSI questions.


Easter Seals of Greater Dallas



This is the local office of Easter Seals, a national organization which provides advocacy and education services for disabled persons.


Frisco Area Listening and Learning



Listening and Learning offers children a chance to improve their focus, reading, social skills, auditory processing, and general classroom performance, helping children improve their education and overall quality of life. Services include both private tutoring and group activities.


Happy Hands Learning



Happy Hands provides inclusive learning and social opportunities for children with special needs. Their programs often include children with typical learning abilities to better teach functional, social, and life skills to children with learning disabilities.



Independent Steps



Independent Steps provides rehabilitation services in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for children and adults with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, brain injury, or post-stroke conditions. We specialize in the Conductive Education methodology, which is aimed at rebuilding the mental processes and cognitive skills needed to overcome basic challenges such as learning to roll, crawl, sit, stand, walk, eat, write, and become potty trained.



The Learning Center of North Texas



TLC offers affordable, accessible, and practical resources and services to people with learning disabilities. They offer services to help kids develop study practices and strategies to overcome their individual learning challenges.




Metrocare Services



Metrocare is a nonprofit organization which serves people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and sever emotional problems. They value integrity, quality, diversity, and perseverance when serving families in the DFW area.


MHMR (Mental Health Mental Retardation)



MHMR has a multitude of mental health and developmental learning programs to assist disabled people of all ages. Their services include an ECI program for children under the age of 3 as well as Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities programs for those older than 3 years of age.


Touch of Class

Dallas: 972-918-0612

Fort Worth: 817-541-9435


A Touch of Class offers in-home care for people with disabilities, including various forms of therapy, respite, and supported employment, among others. They are approved for CLASS, PHC, MDCP, and DBMB care for qualified individuals, and have two locations in the DFW area.



Texas Resources


The ARC of Texas


The ARC is a great resource that promotes advocacy, education, and independent living. They also host some excellent conferences and keep you updated on legislative issues and government benefits for people with disabilities.


CSHCN (Children with Special Healthcare Needs)



As part of the Department of Health, CSHCN provides case management and support for family-centered, community based strategies for improving quality of life for children with special health care needs.


Disability Rights Texas



Disability Rights Texas is an advocacy organization which fights discrimination and negative stigmas regarding disabilities and is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency for Texans with disabilities.


ECI (Early Childhood Intervention)



A division of the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, ECI is a statewide program for families with children, birth to three, with disabilities and developmental delays. ECI supports families to help their children reach their potential through developmental services. Services are provided by a variety of local agencies and organizations across Texas.


Federal and State Regulations and Commissioner’s Rules



The Texas Education Agency breaks down all special education laws currently in effect in Texas, including Federal regulations and additional rules for Texas.


Special Education Monitoring and Review Procedures


This page summarizes how special education programs are monitored to make sure your child is getting the support he or she needs; It is a good, short read to help parents familiarize themselves with monitoring procedures.


Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services



DADS is an agency that administers long-term services and support for aging and disabled people in Texas. They have extensive resources and information about assisted living, as well as rules and statutes for people with disabilities.


Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services

DARS Inquiries line: 800-628-5115


DARS provides advocacy for Texans of all ages who are deaf or hard of hearing. DARS also provides services and programs for Texans of all ages who are blind or visually impaired, including transition services for those aged 13-22, as well as assistance in vocational rehabilitation and job counseling for Texans with disabilities (all ages).


Texas Parent to Parent

512-458-8600 or  866-896-6001


Texas Parent to Parent is a statewide non-profit organization developed for parents by parents. It provides parent-to-parent matches, support, information, website, resources, a newsletter, training.


National Resources


Cerebral Palsy Guidance


CerebralPalsyGuidance.com is a comprehensive informational website on cerebral palsy. From information on cerebral palsy symptoms to financial assistance to daily living articles, CerebralPalsyGuidance.com covers all aspects of cerebral palsy. All information is thoroughly researched and cited.


Cerebral Palsy Guide



Cerebral Palsy Guide is an organization dedicated to the wellbeing and education of individuals with cerebral palsy. This organization aims to focus on the families, children, and caregivers who cope with a CP diagnosis on a daily basis.


Easter Seals Disability Services



Easter Seals is one of the oldest organizations help disabled persons and persons with special needs. They provide education, advocacy, outreach, and exceptional services to the disabled community.


Exceptional Parent Magazine



Exceptional Parent is a monthly magazine for parents and professional caretakers of people with special needs. The national website includes resources for parent to parent programs, information and referral centers, a disability library, services, products and much more.


MUMS (Mothers United for Moral Support)



Once a national parent-to-parent network, MUMS now provides information and emotional support to parents whose child has a rare (or not so rare) disorder.


NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness)



NAMI provides information and training programs for caregivers of individuals with mental health issues or brain disorders, as well as the opportunity to connect with others.


National Center for Learning Disabilities



NCLD enables young adults, empowers parents, and advocates for policy creation in an attempt to improve the lives of disabled people. They have great resources for parents, adults with disabilities, and educators.


NICHY (National Information Center for Children and Youth w/ Disabilities)



NICHY is a list of various resources for people with disabilities and their families. The site provides links to various education, learning disability, and mental disorder resources.


NICHCY (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities)


NICHCY encourages families to learn everything they can about learning disabilities, education, and legislation, and they provide comprehensive resources for this purpose. While funding for the NICHCY has ended, the website and its resources will be available until September 30, 2014.


NIH (National Institute of Health)



NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and shares information on new developments and studies regarding mental and physical health. Stephen Groft at the office of rare diseases provides information on which hospitals and physicians are doing research or clinical trials on any disease.


NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders)



NORD provides information and resources for patients, families, other organizations, and medical professionals regarding rare disorders. They also advocate for consistent and fair government policies and support innovative research.


Social Security Supplemental Security Income



The Social Security Administration provides certain benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income sources. Give them a call or check out their website to find out how you can get these benefits.


Waisman Center


While located in Wisconsin, the Waisman Center is an excellent resource for staying up to date on the latest research on developmental disabilities and neurodegenerative diseases.

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