Welcome to AFT Massachusetts’ resource page for educating students with disabilities. The page was created through the work of the AFT MA Special Education Task Force and is intended for all educators.
The Task Force runs free workshops to help AFT MA members—regular education teachers, special education teachers, and paraprofessionals—understand and access the resources on this page. If your local would like to request a workshop, please call Dan Murphy, director of educational policy and programs, at 617.423.3342, or send an email.
Even if you don’t participate in a workshop, you can still benefit from the resources below. We encourage you to spend some time exploring each site.
The Legal Framework for Special Education
Understanding Special Education: An Introduction
Designed for teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, parents, and service providers, this user-friendly website is a clearinghouse for all topics related to students with disabilities. It covers laws and regulations, effective practices, research and trends, professional development resources, and much more. Resources in Spanish are also available.
Explore extensive resources on IDEA, including dialogue guides that facilitate conversations among stakeholders at the local level.
Understanding Response to Intervention (RTI): An Introduction
RTI is a process that uses evidence-based strategies to determine if and how students respond to specific changes in instruction. It can also be used to help identify students who are at risk of learning problems. This site offers an introduction to RTI, along with tools and resources for educators.
Effective Programs and Practices
The Access Center helps educators identify and implement research-based programs, tools, and materials that enable students with disabilities to access the general education curriculum. The site features a series of professional development modules, as well as information briefs on key topics.
WWC is a central source of scientific evidence for what works in education. The site assesses the effectiveness of various interventions and provides research-based instructional practice guides for classroom educators. Topics include how to use RTI to support students struggling with reading and math.
School Mental Health Issues
This site for educators and parents contains extensive research-based resources, covering topics such as behavior management, bullying, and violence prevention.
Resources for Paraprofessionals
Here you can find news, resources, and training manuals designed specifically for paraprofessionals.
The American Occupational Therapy
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
National Association of School Psychologists
National Association of State Directors of Special Education
National Research Center on Learning Disabilities
Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights