Disability Services Links--General
Massachusetts Office on Disability
This state agency advocates for people with disabilities, making sure that disabled people are informed of their rights and services to them under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Serves people of all ages.
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
This state agency assists individuals with disabilities (except those who are blind, who are served by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind) to live and work independently.
Disability Law Center
A private non-profit agency for Massachusetts offering assistance on legal matters to people with all types of disabilities with problems such as discrimination, abuse or neglect, or denial of services, when they are related to a person’s disability.
Disabled Persons Protection Commission
This state agency offers a training program for persons with disabilities and their families and supporters about how to recognize and respond to abuse of people with disabilities.
An index website which may be searched by type of disability, services needed, and location. There are also fact sheets with information on hundreds of specific health issues and disability types. Fact sheets provide basic information as well as links to professionals and organizations who offer help.
As their web site states, “Easter Seals provides services to ensure that children and adults with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play.” These include assistive technology, employment and training services, rehabilitation services, disability resource information, camps, advocacy, youth leadership programs, and youth transition services.
Helps individuals with disabilities to find assistive technology, coordinates services in Massachusetts. Includes information about loans and other funding options. According to the United States Assistive Technology Act of 1998, assistive technology (also called adaptive technology) refers to any "product, device, or equipment, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized, that is used to maintain, increase, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."
Boston Center for Independent Living
Promotes independence for people with disabilities; this organization was created by people with disabilities and provides information and referral, peer support, skills training, and a personal care program.
Exceptional Lives is an independent non-profit organization that provides free, trustworthy, easy-to-follow information for parents and caregivers of children and young adults with disabilities.
Blind and Visually Impaired
Massachusetts Commission for the Blind
This is the Massachusetts agency concerned with rehabilitation and social services to help blind individuals to be independent and to fully participate in their communities. Programs include vocational training, in home services, and assistive technology.
Massachusetts Early Intervention (EI) Division Specialty Services
Information about statewide services available to "children enrolled in EI programs who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Blindness/Vision Loss, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, or who have complex medical needs."
Perkins School for the Blind
Provides education and services for children and adults around the world who are blind, deafblind or visually impaired, based in Watertown, Massachusetts. Offers resources for teachers, in-home outreach for infants, and special classes and programs for the community.
Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library
Provides free audio books and Braille materials to Massachusetts residents of any age who are unable to read traditional print materials due to a visual or physical disability.
Perkins Online Library Catalog
Worcester (Massachusetts) Talking Book Library
Provides free services to Massachusetts residents of any age who are unable to read traditional print materials due to a visual or physical disability. Provides mail-order service by telephone.
Perkins Scout: An Information Clearinghouse on Blindness and Visual Impairment
A searchable database of online resources related to blindness and visual impairment which have been evaluated by Perkins School for the Blind professionals. Well organized, easy to use, includes information on making everyday activities easier.
American Foundation for the Blind
An advocacy group dedicated to helping people with vision loss to overcome barriers to living a full life. Their activities include education, publications, and helping businesses to develop and market technology to assist people with vision loss. Sponsors a “family” of web sites, including, listed below:
- FamilyConnect for parents of children with visual impairment: https://familyconnect.org
- Career Connect, an employment information resource for job seekers who are blind or visually impaired: https://aphcareerconnect.org/
- VisionAware, which has information to help with everyday life for people with vision loss: https://visionaware.org/
- Braille Bug, a website that introduces children to Braille through games and other fun activities: https://braillebug.org
A large online library of copyrighted content (Ebooks, audiobooks and other technology) for people with a physically-based disability that makes it difficult or impossible to read a printed book. Free for U.S. students and schools serving them. Non students can join and pay an annual fee.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
This is the principal state agency serving and advocating for people of all ages who are deaf and hard of hearing. It provides interpreter services; technology services, including telecommunication and assistive listening devices; information services, and public education.
Massachusetts Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program
All babies born in Massachusetts hospitals are screened for hearing loss, and this state agency works to ensure that early intervention begins as soon as possible and that families are connected with other families for support and education.
The Children’s Center for Communication/Beverly School for the Deaf
Located in Beverly, MA, this school educates students from ages 3-22; provides community education, including signing classes for babies through adults, outreach to schools, businesses, interpreter services; has an extensive list of resources for deaf and hard of hearing people.
American Society for Deaf Children
This organization is a good source of information for parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing. It advocates for early bilingualism (English and visual language) and sponsors conferences. Its site has links to articles and other resources.
Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
Find an interpreter or learn about education and opportunities for those interested in becoming interpreters
National Association for the Deaf
The national civil rights organization for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States, advocating for the rights of the American deaf community since 1880.
Hearing Loss Association of America
Provides assistance and resources for people with hearing loss and their families to learn how to adjust to living with hearing loss.
Minute Man Arc Deaf and Hard of Hearing Specialty Program
This local resource provides early intervention for hearing loss. Family centered services include parent-child playgroups, parent groups and individual therapy.
Minute Man Arc
This agency serves Acton and other area towns with many programs to support people of all ages with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Programs include after school and school vacation programs, recreation for children and adults, Special Olympics, trainings, adult family day care, residential services, and employment services.
Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (Formerly known as Department of Mental Retardation)
This agency works to create opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to participate in the lives of their communities. It provides services for children and adults and family support
Eliot Community Human Services
The Developmental Disabilities Division operates residential homes, independent and family support services, shared living services, employment supports, and day programs.
Massachusetts Coalition of Families and Advocates, Inc. (COFAR, Inc.)
COFAR, Inc. is a statewide nonprofit organization established in 1983 that advocates on behalf persons with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and on behalf of their families and guardians.
A national organization that advocates for high quality care and human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their work includes providing action alerts and toolkits to inform legislators and families of pertinent issues and situations.
National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts
The mission of this organization is to improve the quality of life of people with mental illness and their families through education, peer support, and advocacy. Free educational programs are taught by volunteers, trained by NAMI Mass staff, peers who have the experience to relate to class participants. The site provides information on what to do in a crisis, advice on housing, youth in transition, legal matters, access to education, web sites offering mutual support for those suffering from mental illness. There is a network of local affiliates and an extensive resource listing. The affiliate for Acton is NAMI Central Middlesex https://www.nami.org/MSTemplate.cfm?Site=NAMI_Central_Middlesex
Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
This state agency is charged with assuring that the mental health needs of individuals of all ages are met, enabling them to live, work, and participate in their communities.
Eliot Community Human Services
Offers outpatient programs for children, adults, families and elders at their clinic in Concord, Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition
An organization dedicated to helping people with long term mental illness find employment, housing, education, services, and support in their communities. There are 32 recovery and rehabilitation centers in Massachusetts with more than 15,000 members.
National Institute of Mental Health
Their primary mission is research on mental illnesses; their web site also has easy to understand information about all mental health topics and information about participating in clinical trials.