Federal Government  “Connecting the Disability Community to Information & Opportunities.”

Federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): Administers all Medicaid programs.

Social Security Administration Information on Supplemental Security Income eligibility and application process.

Federal Administration on Intellectual and Developmental DisabilitiesThe U.S. Government organization responsible for implementation of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000, known as the DD Act. ADD, its staff and programs, are part of the Administration for Children and Families, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division:  How to file a complaint with the Civil Rights Division.

US Department of Justice, Americans with Disabilities Act: Good information on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

US Department of Education IDEA information

Affordable Care Act Information

State Government

Florida Bureau of Exceptional Education & Student Services (BEESS)Administers programs for students with disabilities and for gifted students.

Children’s Medical Services, Florida Early StepsFlorida’s early intervention system offering services from birth to 36 months for children with significant delays or a condition likely to result in a developmental delay.

Florida KidCare: Florida’s health insurance program for children from birth through age 18, including Medicaid (no premium based on income eligibility), MediKids (1-4), Healthy Kids (5-18) (sliding scale for premiums.)

Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation: A federal-state program that works with people who have mental or physical disabilities to prepare for, gain or retain employment. Link is to “School to Work Transition” program.

Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA): Oversight of all Medicaid programs.

Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) Oversight of the Developmental Disabilities Home and Community-Based Waiver programs.

Florida Department for Children and Families (DCF): Eligibility determinations for all public benefits, including Medicaid.

McKay Scholarships: Students with special needs may use scholarships to attend a participating private school, or if dissatisfied with the student’s current school, may choose to transfer the student to another public school.

Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Policy Manuals (by District)

Florida Division of Blind Services

Florida Central DirectoryRequired by the IDEA. Also known as the Florida Directory of Early Childhood Services.

Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS or “Fiddlers”):  State and federally funded support service (including 19 regional service centers) providing diagnostic, instructional, and technology support to school districts and families of students with disabilities. Online resources for both parents and educators.

Local Government (Alachua County)

Alachua County School Board, Exception Student Education/Student Services Contact information, local resources and support groups and more.

 Non-Governmental Organizations

 Disability Rights Florida (f/k/a The Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities): The official designated protection and advocacy program for Florida. This organization provides information and advocacy on a wide range of issues faced by persons with disabilities.

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC): Created by federal law and federally funded; “serves as an advocacy and planning body to influence the direction of programs and policies for individuals with developmental disabilities.”

Family Care Council Florida: Established by the state legislature to advise the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) on the needs of self-advocates and their families, with members appointed by the Governor.

Florida’s Voice on Developmental Disabilities (FVDD): A statewide independent advocacy and networking non-profit organization comprised of families and friends of persons with developmental disabilities.

Family Network on Disabilities: 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.  Provides a wealth of information on specific disabilities, resources and advocacy.

Centers for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD): Associated with FL DOE. Offers referral, information, training, individualized consultations on autism spectrum disorders.

Family Café: Coordinates annual event with information and resources.

Autism Speaks Research, advocacy, and information on treatment, rights and services related to autism spectrum disorder.

The Arc of Florida: Provides public policy advocacy, services, programs and support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Special Education

 National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY): A central source of information on disabilities in infants, toddlers, children and youth, and IDEA.

Learning Disabilities Online: Information on learning disabilities and ADHD.

Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy: Published by Pam and Pete Wright, special education attorneys. One of the most informative sites on IDEA and other education law issues, but also contains links to state resources at

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