National Resources

Family Empowerment Representatives | Support Services | Travel and Leisure Resources

Specialized Volunteer Family Empowerment Representatives

Family Empowerment Representatives provide emotional support, information and resources to families affected by Rett syndrome. Several of our reps specialize in areas listed below:

New Families:  Samantha Brant,,  sbrant@rettsyndrome.org1-913-221-8157

Adults with Rett syndrome:  Judy and Clifford Fry, 

Grandparents: Glenna Gallagher,  1-512-694-5908

Spanish Speaking Families: Tracy Kieth,  1-513-874-3020 x 234

All resources are parent-suggested.  To suggest your own, please email the information to

Online Communities & Social Media Facebook


Support Services

There are many services and supports available to your child, and accessing them sooner than later could help her development tremendously. Take advantage of them. Follow-up and be persistent. Ask for advice from other parents if you are running into walls, but don't give up. Eligibility for many of these are based on her diagnosis, not your status or income

Insurance Navigation

Paying for health care (medical services, vision, dental, prescription drugs, therapies, durable medical equipment DME) can be an additional burden to families of children with special needs. For many people, obtaining insurance coverage is a complex process, but it is required in the U.S. and not having insurance could result in both health and financial risks. Understanding, predicting, and managing health care costs begins with understanding your options.

Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide health coverage to children with disabilities. The federal government sets minimum guidelines for Medicaid eligibility but states can choose to expand coverage beyond the minimum threshold.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Social Security programs serve as vital financial protection for many. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. Under the age of 18 years, qualification is based on family income. The Compassionate Allowances List (CAL) initiative is a way to expedite the processing of SSDI and SSI disability claims for applicants with specific conditions like Rett syndrome. It is not a separate program from SSA's two disability programs, SSDI and SSI.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (enacted 1975)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth-2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth (ages 3-21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.


EP (Exceptional Parent) is a 44 year old, award winning publishing and communications company.  ep provides practical advice, emotional support and the most up-to-date educational information for families of children and adults with disabilities and special healthcare needs as well as to the physicians, allied healthcare professionals and educated professionals who are involved in their care and development

Funding Sources

Research other community resources and philanthropy groups such Rotary International, Lion's Club, Kiwani's and Make-A-Wish to help fund conferences, medical appointments, therapies, equipment, transportation, housing and modifications.

Smart 911

Smart911 is a free online resource that allows you to create a Safety Profile for your household which will proactively provide details that 9-1-1 may need in order to send help in the event of an emergency. It is a service used by many (but not all) public safety agencies across the country to enhance communication and response for their community.

Medical Baseline Discount for Gas and Electric

Many have a physician form to complete that will allow you a minimum baseline usage without charge or offer discounts based on your child's inability to regulate her temperature, therefore requiring extra heating or air-conditioning year-round. Also, if a Speech Generating Device, or other Durable Medical Equipment requiring power is in the home, you may qualify for bi-pass consideration during Brown-Outs. Please check with your own gas and electric provider.

Medical & Therapy (National)

Parent Resource Center

There are many ways that our children can communicate beyond speech. Seek a communication assessment for your child, and try out a variety of devices through these centers.

Tobii Dynavox

Tobii Technology uses eye gaze technology to allow a nonverbal individual to communicate.


PRC uses eye gaze technology to allow nonverbal individuals to communicate.

Autism Resources for Parents – The Ultimate New Guide

Autism Parenting Magazine provides expert advice from respected professionals about autism and offers solutions for families.

Wills & Trusts


Conservatorship is a legal proceeding in which an individual or agency (to be known as the "conservator") is appointed by a court to be responsible for a person who needs assistance in activities of daily living (the "conservatee"). Families should check with their child's Regional Center, high school and/or your county Superior Court Probate Office for information on low/no cost Self Help Clinics. This process should be started approximately 6 months before the 18th birthday.

Life Planning

Plan for a protected future for your child with Rett syndrome. This requires a thorough understanding of financial and legal planning, guardianship, and documenting your vision of how and where she will live, learn and thrive in the event anything happens to you. This is easy to defer with day-to-day priorities, but it's important, and easier to accomplish with the help of a knowledgeable experienced professional.

Protected Tomorrows Professional Advisor: Mary Anne Ehlert, Protected Tomorrows. Protected Tomorrows, Inc. is an advocacy firm that enhances the lives of people with special needs through a comprehensive life planning process.

Special Needs Alliance

The Special Needs Alliance is a national, non-profit organization committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Many of our member attorneys have family members with special needs; all of them work regularly with public benefits, guardianships/conservatorships, planning for disabilities and special education issues.

Special Needs Answers

The Academy of Special Needs Planners consists of special needs planning professionals such as attorneys, financial planners and trust officers that assists them in providing the highest quality service and advice to persons with special needs and to their families.


The Arc Across a Lifetime

The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.

Center for Parent Information and Resources

There are many ways to find someone who will help be your expert at the negotiating table if needed. There are federally funded agencies, and often the best source for a particular type of Advocate is by word of mouth - ask other special needs parents in your community.

Other Resources

Magic Wheelchair

Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit organization that makes epic costumes for children in wheelchairs.  Their vision is to put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair by transforming their wheelchairs and creating custom costumes for them at no expense to their families.

Google Maps

Google Maps has made their app wheelchair and accessibility friendly.  Click above for more information about this new app.

Disability Resources for College Students guide is a comprehensive career resource with a mission to help students and aspiring professionals understand what it takes to land their perfect career. This resource guide for students with disabilities contains information for students who are effected by a variety of disabilities.

Retail Savings Guide for People with Disabilities

This guide provides a detailed walkthrough of discounts and special offers for individuals with disabilities.

Kids Wish Network

Kids Wish Network grants wishes for children who are between the ages of 3 and 18 and have a life-threatening illness.  Anyone can refer a child, including a family member, friend , nurse, doctor, or social worker.  In addition, the organization's "Hero of the Month" program was developed to honor children also between the ages of 3 and 18 who have overcome life-altering circumstances and have stayed in or been treated at one of our Hero pediatric care facilities.

The Dream Factory

In 1980, The Dream Factory began with one all-volunteer chapter in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Since then, The Dream Factory has grown into the largest all-volunteer children’s wish-granting organization in the United States, all while maintaining a grassroots approach. 

The Dream Factory is the largest children’s wish-granting organization that does not limit its mission to children who have life-threatening illness. The organization believes children with chronic illnesses and disorders also suffer from substantial emotional and physical pain. We strive to provide hope and relief from the trauma and corresponding stress and depression that both the children and their families can endure on a day-to-day basis. Doctors agree that providing a dream can improve the quality of life for these children and extend the life of a critically ill child.

Make a Wish America

Tens of thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters advance the Make-A-Wish® vision to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a critical illness. In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 34 minutes. They believe a wish experience can be a game-changer. This one belief guides them and inspires them to grant wishes that change the lives of the kids they serve.

Travel and Leisure Resources

Autism on the Seas

Autism on the Seas has  collaborated with Royal Caribbean International since 2007 developing cruise vacation services to accommodate adults and families living with children with Special Needs, including all Cognitive, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  These services quickly expanded to other cruise lines.  

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