Important Community Resources – Orlando Traditional

by Bright Feats

APD – APD Cares

The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) supports persons with developmental disabilities in living, learning, and working in their communities. APD works in partnership with local communities and private providers to assist people who have developmental disabilities and their families. Register with APD as soon as possible! It can take years to get services but you’ll be glad you did not delay. apd.myflorida.com

Children’s Medical Services (CMS)

CMS implements a collection of programs for eligible children with special needs. Each one of their programs and services are family-centered and designed to help children with a variety of conditions and needs. Families and caregivers can also receive support to develop the skills and confidence they need to help their children learn and develop. Early Steps is Florida’s early intervention system that offers services to eligible infants and toddlers (birth to thirty-six months) with significant delays or a condition likely to result in a developmental delay. cms-kids.com

Crisis Care

In moments of urgent need the following resources may offer support: 211 Help Me Grow, Abuse Hotline, ACCESS Florida Food Stamps, Catholic Charities of Orlando, Coalition for the Homeless, Children’s Home Society, Christian Sharing Center, Shepherds Hope and UP Center Orlando (emergency food service and more uporlando.org).

Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST)

Serves Floridians with disabilities by providing free access to information, referral services, educational programs, and publications in accessible formats on topics such as disability rights, laws, and policies. They also provide assistive technology (AT) device loans as well as funding opportunities for AT. faast.org

Florida Developmental Disabilities Council FDDC

was established to help plan individual and family-centered supports for persons with disabilities in Florida. The Council also guides the development and administration of services for people with developmental disabilities by planning and funding research, innovations, and programs designed to improve the quality of their lives. fddc.org

Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS)

A statewide organization providing diagnostic, instructional, and technology support services to district exceptional education programs and families of students with disabilities. Service centers include 19 centers that directly serve school districts in the areas of Child Find, Parent Services, Human Resource Development (HRD), and Technology. In addition, the FDLRS Network also includes 6 Multi-disciplinary Centers who focus on in-depth evaluations and several statewide projects offering specialized services. fdlrs.org

Florida Inclusion Network (FIN)

FIN collaborates with all districts and schools to provide customized services and supports ensuring all students with disabilities have the same educational, social, and future opportunities as their peers. floridainclusionnetwork.com

Grants and Funding Sources

For those times when you need financial assistance to meet the needs for your child, consider these sources: Autism Care Today ( act-today.org/apply-for-grant), Autism Speaks, and Step Up for Students.

Special Needs Ministries

Churches often welcome all people, including those with disabilities, into church life and ministry. It’s a great place to get connected in your community and to receive support. Churches also often host respite programs like Nathaniel’s Hope Buddy Break. Buddy Break is a FREE Parents’ Day Out/respite program where kids with all types of special needs have fun while their parents get a break. nathanielshope.org/our-programs/buddy-break

SSI Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. ssa.gov/ssi

State & County Education

Serving as the single repository of education data from school districts, state and community colleges, universities, and independent postsecondary institutions. Take the Exceptional Education Parent Survey or view school options with lists of McKay Schools, Gardiner Scholarship Providers and other educational choices. fldoe.org

Support Groups

Connect with the many local support groups that best suit your particular needs including SNAP (Special Needs Ability Programs) specialneedsabilityprogram.org

, Family Care Council fccflorida.org, ASGO (Autism Society of Greater Orlando), Autism and Related Disabilities Gym, Putting the Pieces Together, NAMI, Central Florida DADs, Central Florida Brain Injury Group, Down Syndrome Foundation, Epilepsy Association of Central Florida, Hydrocephalus Association, Lake County Support Group with Kandi Alexander, Lift Disability, Special Needs Parent Support of Seminole County and the Spina Bifida Association of Central Florida. specialneedsabilityprogram.org

The Family Café

The Family Café exists to provide individuals with disabilities and their families with an opportunity for collaboration, advocacy, friendship and empowerment by serving as a facilitator of communication, a space for dialogue and a source of information. familycafe.net

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)

Federal-state program that helps people who have physical or mental disabilities get or keep a job. VR is committed to helping people with disabilities find meaningful careers. Services include Transition Youth Resources, Career Resources, Supported Employment, Ticket to Work, Independent Living Program and more. If you qualify VR may assist with assessments for college accommodations or to help identify employment opportunities to best meet your needs. rehabworks.org