Disability Organizations

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Whether dedicated to influencing policy makers or providing services at a community level, disability organizations help fill a gap that can’t be addressed by government agencies.

About disability organizations

Disability organizations often work under the radar. Both multifaceted and focused, organizations that help people with disabilities do so in a variety of ways. Some nonprofits choose an advocacy route, and work to change people’s perceptions about what it means to be disabled. Others lobby lawmakers and policy influencers to draft legislation that makes full inclusion in all aspects of society possible.

Grassroots organizations operate within communities, to meet the specific needs of people living in the area they serve. These organizations either serve the greater good for all those with disabilities, or focus their services on a particular category of disability. Categories of disability include:

  • Intellectual or cognitive
  • Emotional
  • Learning
  • Sensory
  • Developmental
  • Physical
  • Mobility
  • Balance
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Somatosensory (insensitivity to stimuli)
  • Olfactory and gustatory (smell and taste)

What all of these groups have in common is they advance the notion that there is no longer room for discrimination and exclusion of individuals with special needs. By advancing both the civil and human rights of individuals with disabilities they ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to education, employment and social services.

In short, they break down barriers and service needs. Groups that help people with disabilities are varied – and some may not work directly with families.

Following are disability efforts that assist individuals with disability and with Cerebral Palsy.

Disability organizations focused on advocacy

Advocacy organizations engage in activities that promote inclusion by working to create a positive and inclusive environment for individuals with disabilities. These groups engage in campaigns that recommend to governments and policy makers to invest in programs that protect the civil rights of individuals with disabilities, and encourage the adoption of international and national standards for accessibility, employment, education, health care, and quality of life.


  • Amnesty International
  • World institute on Disability


  • Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • American Association of People with Disabilities
  • National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
  • National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
  • National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
  • National Organization on Disability
  • TASH

Learn more, visit Disability Organizations – Advocacy »

Disability organizations focused on policy

Policy organizations play a role in influencing official public policies and provisions. They help law makers draft and approve legislation that affects individuals with disabilities. While these organizations help frame the debate about disabilities internationally, nationally and locally.

Laws and policies implemented by governments have the potential to have long-lasting effects on individuals with disabilities; disability policy organizations help provide support and a voice to issues of public concern.


  • European Disability Forum
  • United Nations Enable
  • World Health Organization – Disabilities an Rehabilitation


  • Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Service
  • National Council on Disability
  • United States International Council on Disabilities

Learn more, visit Disability Organizations – Policy »

Disability legislation

Disability legislation is a vehicle to promote opportunity, progress and change for individuals with disability. International law promotes the rights of individuals throughout the international community. Domestic legislation facilitates social change. Legislation targets cultural, discriminatory and social barriers that deter individuals with disability from full participation, inclusion, and enjoyment in all aspects of life – civil, cultural, economic, educational, political and social.

Legislation promotes the rights of persons with disabilities in areas such as education, employment, health care, housing, culture, transport, and more. The following legislation helped to pave societal change for persons living with disability within the United States.

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act of 1980
  • Fair Housing Act of 1968
  • Architectural Barriers Act of 1968
  • Telecommunications Act of 1996
  • Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Learn more, visit Disability Legislation »

Disability Organizations

sisters, one pushing her sister's wheelchair through the park

Disability Organizations

People tend to think about disability in terms of limits placed on a person’s physical, mental, social or developmental ability to function. Once people move past myths and perceptions about disability, they learn that it’s more about a person’s ability to compensate for special needs than it is about not being able to complete tasks in a predictable manner. Disability advocacy is about furthering equal opportunity for inclusion, accessibility and participation for all.
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About Disability