Explore a Topic

Topics on this Page

This page contains a list of disability-related topics to help direct you to more in-depth information. This list is updated regularly, and now includes:

  • A: ADA, ADD/ADHD, Advocacy, Aging, Assistive Technology, Autism
  • B: Behavioral Intervention, Brain Injury
  • D: Disabilities (General)
  • E: Early Intervention, Education, Employment
  • F: Family Support, Foster Care and Adoption
  • H: Health
  • I: Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • L: Legal
  • M: Mental Health
  • P: Person-Centered Supports
  • S: Safety
  • T: Transition, Transportation




Administered by the US Department of Justice, ADA.gov is a comprehensive information and technical assistance resource. It includes links to ADA settlements, regulations, specific disability-related topics of interest, and much more. Visit ADA.gov.

Great Plains ADA Center

Established in 1991, the Great Plains ADA Center serves individuals, families and groups of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. The Center combines expertise on ADA federal guidelines with years of hands-on experience to provide technical assistance, training, and products that are effective and user-friendly. Learn more here.

Iowa Department of Human Rights - Service Animals FAQs

Information about service animal laws in your locale is available in a factsheet from the Iowa Department of Human Rights. The information spells out federal law, Iowa law, and what may be pertinent from local ordinances regarding licensing and vaccination of service animals in the community. Learn more.


National Resource Center on ADHD

The National Resource Center on ADHD (NRC) is an international clearinghouse for the latest evidence-based information on ADHD. It is primarily funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. The NRC serves as a National Public Health Practice and Resource Center with the mission to provide information, education and consultation about assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and issues of health and well-being for children with ADHD and their families. Visit the Resource Center.


Disability Rights Iowa

Disability Rights IOWA helps people with disabilities, including mental illness, deal with discrimination. Help is provided in several ways, depending on the areas of focus set by Disability Rights IOWA’s Board of Directors. All Disability Rights IOWA services are free. But callers’ issues must relate to their disability or mental illness. Problems Disability Rights IOWA deals with may include abuse, neglect, education, employment, housing, or denial of services. Learn more.

Heartland Self-Advocacy Resource Network

The Heartland Self-Advocacy Resource Network (HSRN) is a four-state partnership which includes Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. Funded by the federal Administration for Community Living, the HSRN strives to strengthen the voice of self-advocates by offering them regional opportunities for mentoring, training, and leadership development. The organization’s website, serves as a virtual technical assistance and resource center.

ID Action

Iowans with Disabilities in Action (ID Action) is a nonpartisan project that was launched because Iowans with disabilities have been too long overlooked and underrepresented as a group. ID Action is designed to increase the active participation of Iowans with disabilities in political and civic opportunities that promote positive change. Learn more.

Iowa Long-Term Care Ombudsman

In Iowa, the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is charged with advocating for the rights and wishes of residents and tenants who live in nursing homes, assisted living programs, residential care facilities and elder group homes. All services provided are confidential and free of charge. Learn more.

Iowa Statewide Independent Living Council

The Iowa Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) is an independent nonprofit corporation, whose council members are appointed by the Governor. A majority of members are persons with disabilities.  Under the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the SILC is responsible for planning the coordination and expansion of independent living services in Iowa, and promoting the development of a statewide network of Centers for Independent Living (CILs). Find information about the Council and links to Iowa’s six Centers for Independent Living on the SILC website.

Self-Advocacy Online

Self-Advocacy Online is a gathering place to help people with developmental and intellectual disabilities find their voice. Discover self-advocacy groups by state. Hear stories from self-advocates across the country. Learn about taking care of yourself, speaking up, relationships, getting organized, and leading a healthy life. Find research that makes important information accessible. Put your thoughts into play through the website’s Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus feeds. This website is a program of the Research and Training Center on Community Living at The University of Minnesota. Learn more.

Self-Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center

The mission of the Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC) is to strengthen the self-advocacy movement by supporting self advocacy organizations to grow in diversity and leadership.  SARTAC is administered by Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered through a grant from the Administration for Community Living.  It’s website serves as an online location to categorize, promote, and share the best tools and resources for self-advocacy across the country.  Learn more.

Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered

Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) is a national organization led by persons with disabilities. Its mission is to ensure that people with disabilities are treated as equals and that they are given the same decisions, choices, rights, responsibilities, and chances to speak up to empower themselves; opportunities to make new friends; and to learn from their mistakes. In 2016, SABE received a self-advocacy resource Center grant from the Administration on Community Living. To learn more about SABE and the Self-Advocacy Resource Center, click here.

Voting with Disabilities

The Voting with Disabilities website addresses most concerns people with disabilities have right up to election day. The site is maintained by the Office of the Iowa Secretary of State and was developed with input from Disability Rights Iowa. Persons with vision impairment can call 888-SOS-VOTE (888-767-8683) or get in touch via email to receive accessible information and services. Visit the website.


Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging

Through its website, the Iowa Department on Aging provides an online and printable directory listing Area Agencies on Aging by county. Staff of Area Agencies on Aging possess expertise at a local level, allowing them to guide consumers to a multitude of services such as nutrition, long-term care, legal aid and caregiver assistance. There is no charge to the consumer for information and referral services. Access the directory.

LifeLong Links™

LifeLong Links™ is Iowa’s network of Aging and Disability Resource Centers, whose purpose is to expand and enhance the state’s information and referral resources for older adults, adults with disabilities, veterans and caregivers as they begin to think about and plan for long-term independent living. Administered by the Iowa Department on Aging and enriched by a collaborative partnership with Iowa’s six Area Agencies on Aging, LifeLong Links is modeled on the “no wrong door” approach, meaning it is available to any Iowan in need of home-based and community services and is accessible through physical locations across Iowa, a toll-free call center (1-866-468-7887) and a website.

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Collection at the Disability Resource Library

The Disability Resource Library,  located at the Center for Disabilities and Development on the University of Iowa campus, houses an assistive technology collection funded by the Iowa Program for Assistive Technology (IPAT).  The collection  includes educational technology and computer peripherals for loan as well as software for use on the library premises.  Other items include alternative keyboards, innovative switches, and tablet interfaces.  It’s important to note that the library does not sell this equipment; it is available for home or school trial for one month. Learn more here or call 1-800-272-7713.

Easter Seals Iowa Assistive Technology Center

With funding from the Iowa Program for Assistive Technology, the Easter Seals Iowa Assistive Technology Center (AT Center) provides opportunities for individuals to learn about, sample and use assistive technology including an equipment loan program, a demonstration center, and a lending library. The AT Center also takes in donated devices which it cleans, repairs and provides to those who need them. The AT Center also manages the popular Used Equipment Referral Service (UERS), a “classified ad” service connecting sellers with potential buyers of assistive technology. Click here.


Autism Society of Iowa

The Autism Society of Iowa (ASI) is a statewide non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. ASI provides information and resources to families and educators, offers a wide range of scholarships, sponsors workshops and conferences on topical information related to autism, and provides a lending library for families and educators. Learn more.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) is a nonprofit organization run by and for Autistic people. ASAN’s activities include public policy advocacy, the development of Autistic cultural activities, and leadership trainings for Autistic self-advocates. ASAN provides information about autism, disability rights, and systems change to the public through various educational, cultural, and advocacy related projects.  Learn more.

Regional Autism Assistance Program

Iowa’s Regional Autism Assistance Program (RAP) is a statewide program based at the University of Iowa Child Health Specialty Clinics. RAP provides care coordination and family-to-family support for any family caring for a child 0-21 years of age who presents with concerns or a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). RAP teams are available to help families apply for the Autism Support Program and also to assist families who do not qualify for funding in order to connect them to ASD services in their community. To learn more read the brochure here.

University of Iowa Autism Center

The University of Iowa Children’s Hospital Autism Center brings together a wide range of specialists to provide the best possible care for children with autism. The Center offers assessments, treatment recommendations, and ongoing follow-up care. Services include, but are not limited to diagnosis, medication management, behavior assessment, and early intervention. Learn more about the Autism Center.


Behavioral Intervention

Challenging Behavior Training Service

The Challenging Behavior Training Service at the University of Iowa Center for Disabilities and Development has provided training to Iowa's Area Education Agencies that support students in the state who receive special education services, as they developed their challenging behavior services. Learn more about the program here.

Brain Injury

Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa

The mission of the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa (BIAIA) is to create a better future through brain injury prevention, advocacy, education, research, and support. BIAIA serves the brain injury community by working to secure and develop community-based services, encouraging research, establishing support groups, creating and advocating for legislation supporting the needs of individuals with brain injury and their families, and providing access to pertinent information and resources. Learn more.


Disabilities (General)

Iowa Compass

Iowa Compass has information about programs and services for Iowans with disabilities, their families and service providers. Access thousands of local, state and national programs for people with health-related conditions and disabilities.  Call, email, chat, text or search the website for answers to your disability-related questions.

Call or text: 800-779-2001

Search or chat: https://iowacompass.org/

Email: information@iowacompass.org


Early Intervention

EPSDT Care for Kids

EPSDT Care for Kids is Iowa's federally mandated Medicaid program for children. The role of EPSDT (Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment) is to promote the physical, mental, social, emotional and behavioral health of children from birth to age 21. The EPSDT program emphasizes the use of a regular schedule of recommended well-child health visits, called screenings, to provide preventative health care and identify medical, developmental and social-emotional concerns. The EPSDT program requires that Medicaid pay for any medically necessary diagnostic and treatment services for problems detected as part of a well-child screening exam. Learn more here.

Iowa Family Support Network

The Iowa Family Support Network provides support through Early ACCESS, Iowa's IDEA Part C early intervention system. If you have questions or concerns about how your infant or toddler plays, hears, sees, talks, eats or moves, contact Early ACCESS at 1-888-425-4371 or via email. If a subsequent health screening indicates eligibility for this program, the Iowa Family Support Network can assist you in home-based supports and group-based services. Learn more.


ASK Resource Center

ASK (Access for Special Kids) Resource Center is a parent training, information, and advocacy center for families of children with special needs across the state of Iowa. Depend on ASK to address your IEP and Section 504 Plan questions. Learn more about ASK.

Family and Educator Partnership

The Family and Educator Partnership program based at the Iowa Department of Education promotes effective partnerships between families, educators, and community providers to promote success for all children and youth with disabilities and special health care needs. Each Area Education Agency in the state has a parent and an education coordinator on staff to run the program locally. Learn more here.

Iowa Area Education Agencies

Iowa Area Education Agencies (AEAs) were created in 1974 by the Iowa legislature to ensure equal educational opportunities for all children from birth through age 21. As regional service agencies, AEAs provide special education and school improvement services for students, families, teachers, administrators, and their communities. Learn more about all nine agencies.

Iowa Compass Scholarships List

The state's information and referral service for people with disabilities, Iowa Compass, maintains a list of scholarships available to students with disabilities. Access the list.

Iowa Special Education

The Special Education page of the Iowa Department of Education’s website contains links to educational programs and services for students with a variety of disabilities. Visit the Special Education page.

Think College!

Think College! College Options for People with Intellectual Disabilities is a project of the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston that researches and realistically presents college life to a first generation of non-traditional, on-campus students. Learn more about Think College.

University of Iowa REACH (Realizing Educational and Career Hopes)

The University of Iowa’s REACH campus residential program is a two-year transition and certificate program for high school graduates with multiple intellectual, cognitive, and learning disabilities. Program goals encourage independence and career preparation. Courses, campus life, and career orientation give students new confidence and skills to live their adult lives more fully in the community. Tuition and fee payments are based on in-state and out-of-state residency and are equal to those of any University of Iowa student. Limited need-based scholarships are available for qualifying UI REACH students. Learn more about REACH.

University of Iowa Student Disability Services Disability-Related Scholarships, Grants and Financial Resources

The University of Iowa Student Disability Services maintains an annually updated national scholarship directory for students with disabilities. Access the directory.



The mission of Iowa APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment First) is to change beliefs, practices, systems and funding so that employment in the general workforce is the first and preferred outcome in the provision of publicly funded services for all working age Iowans with disabilities, regardless of level of disability.  Iowa APSE hosts an annual employment summit and offers a variety of community employment training opportunities.  Visit them online.

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services/Iowa Department for the Blind

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Iowa Department for the Blind are state/federal programs which work for and with individuals who have disabilities to achieve their employment, independence and economic goals.  Services include vocational assessment, training, job development, and job placement/retention.  To learn more about Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, click here.  To learn more about the Iowa Department for the Blind, click here.

Job Accommodation Network

The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) can help if you have a question about workplace accommodations, or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related legislation. The website contains an ADA library, a self-searchable database, guides, and resources for workers, employers, elected officials, legal and medical professionals. Learn more.

Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is an international trademarked and copyrighted program model, which focuses solely on employment for Project SEARCH interns. The sole definition of a successful outcome is competitive employment in an integrated setting for each Project SEARCH intern. Targeting transition-aged high school students and young adults, Project SEARCH is a unique, business-led, one-year program that takes place entirely at the workplace. Total workplace immersion facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration and hands-on training through worksite rotations. To learn more, click here.

Targeted Small Business Program

The certified Targeted Small Business (TSB) program is designed to help women, individuals with minority status, service-connected disabled veterans and individuals with disabilities overcome some of the hurdles to start or grow a small business in Iowa. Support for TSBs can occur either through an official third-party certification of the business or through the low-interest TSB loan program. Certified TSBs can be found in the online public directory. Learn more.

Choose Work: Ticket to Work

The Choose Work site is the official call and triage center for the TTW program. Ticket to Work is a free and voluntary program offered by Social Security that can help people age 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits and who are interested in returning to work or working for the first time. By participating, you receive support throughout your journey to financial independence. And, as long as you are making good progress toward your employment goal, Social Security will not review your case to see if you still have a disability. You may continue to access your cash and Medicare and/or Medicaid health care benefits as you transition to full-time work; and, you may be able to return to benefits if you are no longer able to work due to your disability. Learn more here.

Email: support@choosework.ssa.gov. Or call the Help Line: 866-968-7842; 866-833-2967(TTY), M-F 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM ET.


Family Support

ASK Resource Center

ASK (Access for Special Kids) Resource Center is a parent training, information, and advocacy center for families of children with special needs across the state of Iowa. ASK is a family-driven, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to empower individuals with disabilities and their family members. Find out more about ASK by reading their Mission, Vision, and Values.

Family Navigators - University of Iowa Division of Child and Community Health

Family Navigators are professional staff members who are also parents or primary caregivers for children and youth with special health care needs. They assist families by providing them with peer support, connecting them with community services and resources, helping them navigate the education system, and building advocacy skills while modeling healthy coping strategies. Any family of a child or youth, age 0-21, living in Iowa with a special health-care diagnosis is eligible to receive services from a family navigator. Contact the Family Navigator program at 1-866-219- 9119.

Foster Care and Adoption

Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association

The Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association (IFAPA) serves as a resource to foster, adoptive and kinship families in Iowa. IFAPA is a non-profit organization that empowers, supports and advocates for these families. Membership with IFAPA is free for Iowa's foster, adoptive and kinship families. Learn more.



National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability

The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) is a public health practice and resource center on health promotion for people with disabilities. NCHPAD helps people with disabilities and other chronic health conditions achieve health benefits through increased participation in all types of physical and social activities. NCHPAD provides individualized information, referral and consultation services through web-based materials and health communications. NCHPAD also conducts national training initiatives for disability and non-disability service providers in community health inclusion. Learn more.

National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC)

Find agencies, organizations, and online resources for treatment, benefits, and services regarding adults with physical disabilities, traumatic brain injury, and mental health diagnoses. Begin exploring resources here.

Office of Injury & Violence Prevention

The Office of Injury & Violence Prevention coordinates unintentional injury programs within the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services and houses programs that aim to prevent or reduce interpersonal violence in Iowa. Program staff collaborates with other programs, state agencies and community organizations to address injury and violence using public health strategies. . The Office is supported by grants from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Iowa Department of Justice, and the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.  Learn more here.


Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The Arc of the United States

For over 60 years, the Arc has been on the front lines of making change for individuals who experience a range of diagnoses across the spectrum of intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc works to protect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families on the federal, state and local levels through public policy efforts. In addition, the Arc provides a range of direct services and hosts advocacy and training events across the United States. Learn more here.

Iowa DD Council

The Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council) works to arm individuals who are affected by disability with the information, skills and confidence to stand up and take action; to offer solutions, and be a driving force for the change they want to see. The Council provides information about its priorities, strategies, activities and investments toward this effort on its website.

Iowa Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Disability Services

The Iowa Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS) is responsible for planning, coordinating, monitoring, improving and partially funding mental health and disability services for the State of Iowa. The division provides leadership and sets the direction of state policy for the system of mental health and disability services for Iowa. MHDS plans for and oversees the provision of disability-related services for children and adults with a wide range of disability conditions, including mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, and brain injury. Learn more here.

The University of Iowa Center for Disabilities and Development

The University of Iowa Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) is dedicated to improving the health and independence of people with disabilities and creating a life with opportunities for everyone. CDD’s clinic utilizes a team approach, bringing together the right experts to help families find answers. At the heart of each team are the patient and family. CDD has been designated the state's University Center for Excellence on Disabilities (UCEDD) and strives to be the state's most trusted resource for health care, training, research, and information for people with disabilities. Learn more.



Disability Rights IOWA (DRI)

Disability Rights IOWA aims to defend and promote the human and legal rights of Iowans who have disabilities and mental illness. Problems that Disability Rights IOWA address may include: abuse, neglect, education, employment, housing, or denial of services. DRI promotes safety, opportunity, access, and self-determination for Iowans through information and referral, protection, and advocacy. Learn more.

Drake Law: Finding an Attorney

Resources for finding free, low-cost, or private legal representation or advice, compiled by the librarians at the Drake University Law Library and the State Law Library of Iowa.  Learn more.

Iowa Legal Aid

Attorneys throughout Iowa help provide equal access to justice through the Iowa Legal Aid Volunteer Lawyers Project. These projects involve volunteer attorneys serving an average of 2,000 low-income Iowans each year, including people with disabilities. Fifteen Iowa offices serve the state. Types of cases include: housing, government benefits, health insurance, education, consumer, domestic abuse and other civil law cases. Iowa Legal Aid is unable to help with criminal law problems. Learn how to apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid.


Mental Health

University of Iowa Children's Hospital Mental Health Services

The University of Iowa Children's Hospital provides a full range of mental health services to children and adolescents, including behavioral and developmental concerns. Mental health staff members offer services ranging from outpatient care to acute inpatient treatment. Services include medication management, educational consultation and testing, psychological testing, individual therapy, and family counseling. Learn more here.

Mental Health First Aid: Find a Course

This site is intended to make mental health first aid as common as CPR. Enter a city near you where you would like to take the training and expand your search to include other communities by specifying the distance you are willing to travel for a class. The results will show multiple training sites within the radius you select. If classes are full, the website will tell you so; if not, click on a training and follow the directions to sign up. Find a Course.


NAMI Iowa (National Alliance on Mental Illness – Iowa) offers three free educational programs to families and individuals with mental illness. Programs include a course for family members and significant others of individuals with mental illnesses, a course for people with any serious mental illness, and a course for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illnesses. Learn more here.


Person-Centered Supports

Consumer Directed Attendant Care

Consumer Directed Attendant Care (CDAC) services in Iowa's Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver program provide the opportunity for people to have help in their own homes. CDAC services are designed to help people do things that they normally would for themselves if they were able. Learn more about CDAC.

LifeLong Links™

The LifeLong Links™ database allows anyone to independently search for services and information available in specific areas throughout Iowa for older adults, adults with disabilities, veterans and caregivers as they begin to think about and plan for long-term independent living. Learn more.



Office of Injury & Violence Prevention

The Office of Injury & Violence Prevention coordinates unintentional injury programs within the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services and houses programs that aim to prevent or reduce interpersonal violence in Iowa. Program staff collaborates with other programs, state agencies and community organizations to address injury and violence using public health strategies. . The Office is supported by grants from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Iowa Department of Justice, and the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.  Learn more here.



Centerlines on Transition

Behavioral health consultant Judith Warth from the Center for Disabilities and Development at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital provides transition information in her article, Transition: The Conspiracy of Hope and the Audacity of Action. The article is available in the Fall 2016 issue of CenterLines, published by University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, Center for Disabilities and Development. Access this article.

Got Transition Center

The Got Transition Center for Healthcare Transition improvement project is an excellent resource for professionals, teens and families. It covers all aspects of transition planning and has defined six core elements for Health Care Transition. The Got Transition website also provides sample transition policy letters, readiness assessment questionnaires for youth and family, sample letters for transfer of care to another provider, sample medical summary and emergency plans, and links to other resources. Visit the Got Transition website.

National Parent Center on Transition and Employment

Pacer's National Parent Center on Transition and Employment is a website for youth with disabilities, families and educators.  Current news and information, plus hundreds of short films and select resources offer all involved in the transition to adult life a reason to tune in and learn crucial information about the years from 12 through 25. Learn more here.

Transition Clinic

The Transition Clinic, housed at the Center for Disabilities and Development-University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, serves teens with disabilities age 12 and over. The interdisciplinary team assists families to develop action plans promoting the individual’s independence in multiple domains including health, employment, education and activities of daily living. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 877-686-0031.

Transition Iowa

Transition Iowa is a website developed by ASK Resource Center to guide high school students with disabilities to become young adults in the community. Visit the Transition Iowa website.


Iowa Mobility Management

Mobility coordinators at Iowa Mobility Management focus on meeting individual's transportation needs by identifying transportation options and service providers, while offering education on how to use public transportation. Learn more.