by Lisa Küpper
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)
There’s disability expertise at your fingertips—literally. You can access a goldmine of disability know-how, in fact, by typing this address into your web browser: http://www.tadnet.org/home
The link will take you to the home page of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination network—the TA&D, for short. The TA&D is a network of more than 40 centers funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to help states, schools, educational professionals, and families address the special needs of children and youth with disabilities. NICHCY is one such project.
If you haven’t heard of the TA&D Network and you’re involved with children with disabilities (birth to 21) in any capacity, we think you’ll be pleased to connect with the network’s wealth of information and expertise, which is offered across a spectrum of disability topics and concerns.
What’s Relevant to Your Concerns?
Not every center in the TA&D will be relevant to your needs and concerns, but you can quickly find the ones that are, by considering the specialties listed in the red box on the network’s home page.
Which specialties or areas of expertise intersect with your questions? Which might be relevant to the needs of the child or children with whom you are involved?
So, start your search of the TA&D with yourself. For example, are you…
- a parent or family member looking for information on your child’s disability?
- a professional interested in learning or staying abreast of best practice for helping infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities?
- a general or special educator looking for resources to help you address a student’s disability or behavior?
- an administrator at the school, district, or state level, with systems-level concerns that involve students with disabilities?
There will likely be one (or several) centers funded to share expertise that fits your need or role.
Let the Treasure Hunt Begin
The TA&D, by design, offers resources for just about every stakeholder whose life or work involves children with disabilities. You can call some centers for individualized assistance (such as NICHCY or the Parent Centers), but most make their resources available to the nation via information-rich websites.
Example: Resources for Educators, K-12
Let’s say that you’re an educator in the public schools and you have one or more students with disabilities in your class. What type of information are you looking for, to help you support these students’ learning? Here’s a sampling of centers you might visit.
Learn more about each student’s disability.
Visit NICHCY, which offers fact sheets on many different disabilities. NICHCY can also connect you with organizations specializing in specific disabilities. On the TA&D network’s site, we’re listed under the category of Dissemination.
Need accessible textbooks and materials for certain students?
First stop would be the National Center on Accessible Instruction Materials (AIM Center), which will tell you “all” and then some! There are even pages and materials designed expressly for teachers. Find AIM under the category of Technology.
Improve students’ reading (especially those with learning disabilities).
Visit Reading Rockets, which is listed under the category of Dissemination.
Manage classroom behavior issues.
Go to the IRIS Center, which offers multiple training modules on how to set up a behavior management system in your class. Find IRIS listed under Professional Development/Personnel.
What If You’re Not an Educator?
Stay tuned! We’ll be exploring the TA&D network’s centers and resources in upcoming blogs on this site, looking through the eyes and disability concerns of different groups, including parents; early interventionists and early childhood personnel; administrators at the school building level; and administrators at the district and state levels. The treasure hunt is only beginning.