Links and Resources

Articles & News Reports: Recent articles featuring contributions from John Nadworny and Cynthia Haddad.

Investment Planning Tools - Current Conditions Index & the Portfolio Company Report from LPL

FAQ: Frequently asked questions.

Glossary of Terms - Definitions of terms used in estate planning, government benefits and insurance.

The Special Needs Planning Guide: How to Prepare for Every Stage of Your Child's Life by John W. Nadworny, CFP®, ChFC & Cynthia R. Haddad, CFP®

The Special Needs Trust Administration Manual, A Guide for Trustees - more information

Massachusetts Advocacy Groups

Massachusetts Disability Law Center- "Planning for Life After Special Education", A Transition Services Online Manual.

The Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC), established in 1983, is a non-profit organization made up of parents, professionals and anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of Down syndrome.

Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC) - A statewide, grassroots coalition of individuals with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses and their families. They advocate that supports for individuals and families can be more responsive, more comprehensive, more flexible, and designed to respond to the actual needs people have.

Massachusetts Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee was established in 1973 by the Massachusetts Legislature the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee (MHLAC) to secure and protect the legal rights of persons involved in mental health and developmental disabilties programs in the Commonwealth. The work of MHLAC is carried out by a small staff of lawyers who seek to make full use of the law to ensure that the rights of persons who are or may be regarded as mentally disabled are recognized and protected.

ARCMASS (ArcMassachesetts) is a statewide volunteer educational and advocacy organization dedicated to helping individuals with specific developmental disabilities. Their mission is to "enhance the quality of life for individuals with specific developmental disabilities by promoting quality community services and advocating for enlightened public policy." This is achieved via a local network of parents, professionals and friends joined together to advocate for better programs and supports for these individuals and their families.

The Federation for Children with Special Needs serves as a center for parents and parent organizations to work together on behalf of children with special needs and their families. Organized in 1975 as a coalition of parent groups representing children with a variety of disabilities, the Federation operates a Parent Center in Massachusetts with other Centers in various states.

National & Regional Advocacy Groups:

The Asperger's Association of New England (AANE)'s mission is to foster awareness, respect, acceptance, and support for individuals with AS and related conditions and their families.AANE offers a full array of educational events (conferences, seminars, & courses) for people with an interest in Asperger's Syndrome. - an incredible website for anyone looking for information about services, outreach, contacts and family supports throughout the U.S. It is designed for you to easily find information in your home state. Well worth looking at.

The Arc of the United States is the national organization of and for people with developmental and related disabilities and their families. Good resource of information.

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilites (AAIDD) - Promotes global development and dissemination of progressive policies, sound research, effective practices, and universal human rights for people with intellectual disabilities Online resource for brain injury and spinal cord injury survivors.

Parents of Galactosemic Children - a national, non-profit, volunteer organization whose mission is to provide information, support, and networking opportunities to families affected by galactosemia.

Autism Society of America - the official web site of the Autism Society of America.

Cognitive Compass- helps enable people with cognitive disabilities or neuro-divergent thinking styles to become productively engaged in employment and in their communities. 

Developmental Disabilities Council - This site will help you connect with your state chapter of the DDC.

Easter Seals - A general service provider for individuals with disabilities.

National Endowment for Financial Educations - General source for financial information

IDEA 2004 - Extensive Information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Massachusetts Government Agencies

Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services is the state agency that provides support to the Commonwealth's citizens who have developmental disabilities. It is part of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Massachusetts Division of Medical Assistance (DMA) is the single state agency in Massachusetts that administers Medicaid (Title XIX) and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) (Title XXI). In Massachusetts, Medicaid and CHIP are combined into one program called MassHealth. DMA also manages the Insurance Partnership for small businesses.

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) is the state agency whose mission is to improve the quality of life for adults with serious and persistent mental illness and children with serious mental illness or severe emotional disturbance. This is accomplished by ensuring access to an integrated network of effective and efficient services that promotes consumer rights, responsibilities, rehabilitation and recovery.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is the state agency whose mission is to ensure that the people of the Commonwealth receive quality health care and live in a safe and healthy environment.

Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) is the state agency whose mission is to provide services to enable blind persons to lead more fulfilling, independent and productive lives. MCB provides services such as vocational rehabilitation, independent living and social services, orientation and mobility training, rehabilitation teaching, radio reading, and more.

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) is the state agency whose mission is committed to increasing the independence of disabled citizens of the Commonwealth through services that result in competitive work and/or reduce reliance on benefit programs. The degree of independence achieved is based on individual ability, desire, professional intervention and commitment.

Federal Government

The official site of the Social Security Administration. Includes information on SSI.

The official site of Housing and Urban Development. Provides information on housing resources and various web-site links.

Americans with Disabilities Act. Official ADA information web site.

US Dept of Education - Resources from the DOE  re: disabilities

General Resources

The Nickerson Collection - named after Daniel Nickerson and endowed by the Nickerson family in his memory. The collection, which contains books, videos and other materials on learning and developmental disabilities, is located at the Bedford Free Public Library, Bedford, MA. The collection is also available through the Minuteman Library Network. Click here to see the listing of books and other materials in the collection and for contact info.

Special Education Resources- Teaching Strategies for Students with Disabilities , Becoming a special education teacher, Teaching students with emotional disturbances, Tools for special education teachers

Family Village is a global community web site which includes informational resources on specific diagnoses, communication connections, adaptive products and technology, adaptive recreational activities, education, worship, health issues, disability-related media and literature, and more!

Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation The Foundation operates by providing seed funding that encourages new methods of service and supports, and through use of the Foundation's influence to promote public awareness of the needs of persons with developmental disabilities and their families.

New England INDEX - Information on Disabilities. Massachusetts programs, services, and providers.

Transitional Age Youth at Parent Information Network (TAYatPIN) is a program that provides educational and support services for parents and caregivers of youth, ages 14 to 25 years. Services and outreach to parents are provided through the facilitation of focus groups, parent support groups, and one-on-one support.

Housing Resources

~ Providers of Information:

Opening Doors is a housing initiative designed to provide information and technical assistance on affordable housing issues to people with disabilities, their families, advocates, and service providers across the United States.

National Low Income Housing Coalition. The NLIHC is committed to educating, organizing, and advocating to ensure decent, affordable housing within healthy neighborhoods for everyone. Provides up-to-date information, formulates policy, and educates the public on housing needs and the strategies for solutions.

Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Administers the state's public housing programs, coordinates its anti-poverty efforts, allocates federal community development programs and provides a variety of services to local government officials. Site provides helpful links to various Federal and State housing resources.

~ Providers of Housing Services:

Specialized Housing, Inc. Innovative Housing for Adults with Additional Needs. Developed the first housing program in the US to enable adults with special needs to own their own homes while receiving professional support. Creative use of homeownership with condominiums and co-operative housing models.

Privately set on 80 beautiful wooded acres in Pembroke, Massachusetts, New England Village is a unique and vibrant community for adults with developmental disabilities. Their mission is to help residents experience an enriched and dignified life in a supportive and dynamic community.

Toward Independent Living and Learning (TILL), Inc., is a private, not-for-profit human service agency established in 1980. Its mission is to develop and operate innovative programs and services to meet the needs of individuals of all ages who have unique needs, including developmental disabilites, mental health needs, physical handicaps, learning disabilities, emotional problems, brain injury and other disabilities.

Crotched Mountain Foundation - Offers a range of education, clinical, rehabilitation and residential support services for children and adults with disabilities at its rehabilitation center in Greenfield, NH and in many community locations.

Providers of residential and support services for young adults-

3L Place Life College –3 L Place Life College will open its doors in Somerville in 2014.  The College offers  a highly individualized residential transition program that offers experiential instruction and learning from 7:30 AM to 10:30 PM, 7 days a week, 11 months per year. The 3L Place Life College is a unique living, learning and linking program and is now interviewing transitioning students for admission.

Cooperative for Human Services -  To help individuals and their family members to successfully respond to these challenges, CHS has developed Turning 22, housing and support service options for students with special needs and their family members. CHS clinicians and specialists help assess your family member’s needs and then work with you to develop a community living plan that meets your personal vision for the future. 

Side by Side Supported Living, Inc.-  Step by Step Supportive Services provides both residential and outreach services to adults living with a variety of psychiatric and or developmental disabilities. They provide a flexible range of services that include vocational/educational, rehabilitation, social, and therapeutic supports.  Side by side (SBS) guiding principles include valuing the individual’s’ specific needs and interests, incorporating personal preferences into the service offerings, integrating each individual into their community and emphasizing a healthy lifestyle.


Additional Resources - great site for books, videos, DVDs, product info and much more.

Special Needs Alliance - A National Alliance of Disability Lawyers. A helpful resource to find a knowledgeable disability law attorney near you"

Special Needs Answers - A community resource provided by the Academy of Special Needs Planners. A helpful resource to find a knowledgeable disability law attorney near you"

 Cerebral Palsy Lawyers FAQ- a web portal containing resources related to CP research, treatment and education.


Please Note: These links are offered solely for the convenience of visitors to this web site. Contents are not screened by Special Needs Planning and inclusion on this list does not constitute endorsement by Special Needs Planning. LPL Financial and Shepherd Financial Partners are not affiliated with any of the above listed organizations.