Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs

Resources for Schools and Early Childhood Programs

Here you will find information and resources to support children and youth with disabilities in schools and early childhood programs.

Information and Tools

  • Center on Inclusion in Early Childhood: Child Care Plus+. Fact sheets, assessment tools, and other resources for purchase by families and child care providers about including children with special health care needs in early childhood programs.
  • Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL). Tools and practical strategies for teachers and child care professionals for promoting young children's social and emotional development.
  • Department of Education (ED): Disability Discrimination. An overview of the laws involving disability discrimination in education and links to resources on the topic.
  • Department of Education (ED): Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Programs, grants, research, monitoring efforts, national studies, and other resources for ensuring that infants, children, and youth with disabilities receive quality education and related services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). View OSEP Ideas that Work for a wide range of research-based products, publications, and resources to assist states, educators, and families with improving results for students with disabilities.
  • Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC): Disabilities. Resources about program planning, health and development issues, working with families, and staff support and supervision for including and supporting children with disabilities in Head Start, a national program that serves the development needs of infants and children from birth through age 5 and their families with low incomes through the provision of education, health, nutrition, social, and other services. Includes an online directory of Head Start programs.
  • Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA Center). Resources to improve state early intervention and early childhood special education service systems, increase the implementation of effective practices, and enhance the outcomes of these programs for young children with disabilities and their families. Includes contact information for state agencies and national organizations; webinars and presentation materials; research and reference resources; information about upcoming events; news; and resources for families.
  • Head Start Center for Inclusion. Information and tools for Head Start staff on supporting and including children with special needs in the classroom and home.
  • Special Olympics: Project Unify. Tools to support this school-based initiative that focuses on social inclusion, bringing youth with and without intellectual disabilities together through sports and related activities.
  • SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library. Training tools for including infants and children with special needs and their families in early care and education settings.
  • Do you need information about a specific chronic illness or disability, tools to help with transition planning, or resources for rehabilitation and assistive technology? See NCEMCH's knowledge path, Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs for resources on these topics and more.
  • Do you need information to share with the families of your students? See NCEMCH's family resource brief, Kids and Teens with Special Health Care Needs.

Databases for Further Research

  • Child Care and Early Education Research Connections: Research Collection. Online catalog of child care and early childhood education research documents.
  • Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) Database. Information about documents covering all aspects of education-related issues. Search the database to identify many items about education and children and youth with special health care needs. Enter disabilities (or the name of the condition) in the search box. Click on Search. Use the filters in the left navigation bar to further limit your search.
  • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Surveys and data about education in the United States and internationally. Presents tools for searching and analyzing data and annual reports, fact sheets, and other publications with education statistics. For example, to find the number of children 3 to 21 years old served under IDEA, Part B, by race and ethnicity and type of disability, go to the box, Popular Topics: select a topic here. Select Search tables and figures. Enter disability and click on Search Now. Select the table from the list of titles.

Related NCEMCH Resources


Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs: School Resource Brief, 2nd ed. (April 2014). (Updated July 2014).

Author: Susan Brune Lorenzo, M.L.S., NCEMCH.
Reviewers: Lauren Agoratus, M.A., parent of a child with special health care needs, Family Voices and Family-to-Family Health Information Resource Center at the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of N.J.; Olivia K. Pickett, M.A., M.L.S., NCEMCH.
Editor: Ruth Barzel, M.A., NCEMCH.