The term special needs can apply to a wide array of circumstances that cause individuals to require assistance or non-standard accommodations. Cognitive delays and learning disabilities are commonly referred to as special needs, but visual and hearing impairment, physical disabilities that affect mobility, and even congenital conditions of the major organs and body systems can all be considered special needs. The websites below, listed in no particular order, are the best resources on the Internet for learning about a wide variety of special needs. Some of the sites simply chronicle an individual’s or family’s journey with Down Syndrome or another condition, and some of the sites offer advice or links to other resources for those doing research about special education or a specific type of special need.

Special Education

Education systems that are based on standardized testing and built to cater to high numbers of average students do not serve those with special needs well. Developmental delays, learning disabilities, and issues with sight, hearing, and cognition can all make it nearly impossible to make use of public education systems. The sites below cover special education both inside and outside public systems, and offer new perspectives and insights on what education should be like for those with special needs.

  1. Liz Beck’s Art Therapy Blog

  2. Special Education Law Blog

  3. Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities

  4. The Shut Down Learner by Dr. Richard Selznick

  5. I Speak of Dreams

  6. Assistive Technology

  7. I Love Special Education

  8. The Life that Chose Me

  9. Apace of Change

  10. Ms. Rachel’s Room

  11. Teacher Sol

  12. Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs

  13. Barto’s World

  14. ABC Therapeutics Blog

  15. Cooke Center Special Education Blog

  16. Learning Ally

  17. Special Education Advisor

  18. Reality 101

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Down Syndrome

Down (or Down’s) Syndrome, also known by the name trisomy 21, occurs when an extra copy of chromosome 21 is present in a person’s genome. Down syndrome is diagnosed at birth, and can be tested for very early in pregnancy. Those with the condition usually have low IQs and unusually broad, flat, and round faces, as well as large tongues, which may cause their speech to be impeded. Since trisomy 21 is the most common known chromosomal disorder, special education programs are often well equipped to serve people with Down Syndrome. Additionally, a strong support community of bloggers and others willing to share their stories about Down’s Syndrome has evolved. The sites below are some of the best sources for info on parenting, education, and other aspects of raising a child with Down’s.

  1. The Bates Motel

  2. Got Down Syndrome

  3. Blessed By Beau

  4. Braska Bear

  5. Life is simple. It’s just not easy.

  6. Results Not Typical

  7. Our Cora Bean

  8. Prayers for Mason

  9. Snippets

  10. Runnin’ Down a Dream

  11. Our Version of Normal

  12. Down Syndrome: Up, Up, and Away

  13. A Brighter Sunshine

  14. Big Blueberry Eyes

  15. Zoromski Chronicles

  16. Down Syndrome New Mama

  17. Ella Grace with the Pretty Face

  18. Daily Smiles

  19. Just a Little Muchier Muchness

  20. Noah’s Dad

  21. Ben’s Blessings

  22. Garden of Eagan

  23. Down Wit Dat

  24. Life With My Girls

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Autism Spectrum

The Autism Spectrum includes a range of disorders characterized by obsessive behavior, delayed social development, and difficulty with non-verbal communication. Asperger syndrome, Heller’s syndrome, and other “pervasive developmental disorders” are often said to be “on the autism spectrum,” though people with these conditions show a wide range of cognitive ability and learning aptitude. Someone with Asperger’s may experience all of the social difficulties associated with the syndrome while having an average or above average IQ, but autism spectrum disorders are often associated with learning delays as well. The following websites contain reliable information as well as personal stories of people with autism spectrum disorders.

  1. The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism

  2. Aspie from Maine

  3. Adventures in Aspergers

  4. Amy’s Tiny Corner of Existence

  5. Drive Mom Crazy

  6. No Stereotypes Here

  7. Big Daddy Autism

  8. Austintistic

  9. We Go With Him

  10. Uncharted Territory: My Journey With Mommyhood and Autism

  11. Adventures in Extreme Parenthood

  12. Try Defying Gravity

  13. Diary of a Mom

  14. Joy’s Autism Blog

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Batten Disease

Batten Disease is an autosomal recessive degenerative disorder that drastically reduces life expectancy, though the number of years varies depending on the variant of the disease. Onset of symptoms comes around four years of age at earliest, and the disease eventually leads to degradation of vision, speech, and motor skills, and is usually accompanied by increasingly severe seizures. The sites included below range from charities that are raising awareness about the disease, to personal accounts of raising a child with this tragic, always fatal disease.

  1. Bee for Battens

  2. Kaitlin’s Journey

  3. I Am Especially Fond of You

  4. Tatyanna’s Hope

  5. Raising Redheads

  6. Betz Family Columbus

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The parents of children with learning disabilities or other special needs have a different set of challenges than most parents, and many have taken to the web to share their stories and find other parents of special-needs children to learn from and communicate with.

  1. Souls Never Wrinkle

  2. Different Dream

  3. Taking it Day by Day with Developmental Delays

  4. Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid

  5. Four Sea Stars

  6. Fighting Monsters with Rubber Swords

  7. Love That Max

  8. Special Needs Mom

  9. Raygen’s Hope

  10. Faith’s Mom’s Blog

  11. Feeding Raya

  12. Special Needs Reads

  13. Logan’s Story

  14. Hopeful Parents

  15. Terra Talking

  16. Support for Special Needs

  17. Special Moms

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Finding stories about uncommon special needs can be harder and more frustrating than learning about the most common disorders. The sites below have information about an assortment of special needs not covered above, from attention deficit disorder to Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Additionally, some of the sites offer services tailored for those with special needs, from financial planning to religious inclusion and assistance finding employment.

  1. Primarily Inattentive ADD

  2. Special Moms


  3. 18 Channels

  4. Positive Thinking and ADHD

  5. A Splintered Mind

  6. ADD Sherpa

  7. My ADD/ADHD Blog

  8. Aidan with EOS

  9. Taste Life – Living with Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE)

  10. Living While Living Without

  11. Eos Mom

  12. The Far Side of Complexity

  13. The Inclusive Church

  14. Children with Special Needs

  15. Special Needs Financial Planning

  16. Employment Horizons

  17. Thomas Marshall Does it All

  18. Visually Impaired Children

  19. Feeding Raya

  20. Beautifully Blind

  21. Blind Spot

  22. Eye on the Cure

  23. The Independent Little Bee

  24. Special Needs Planning


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