St. Louis-area families of children with disabilities now have a one-stop online shop to find services thanks to the work of students at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Undergraduate students in the College of Education enrolled in the class Psychology of the Exceptional Child, taught by Betty Davidson, adjunct assistant professor of teaching and learning at UMSL, have been spending their semesters researching area agencies that offer services and support to children and families. Those agencies were then input into a website and the Resource Directory for Children with Disabilities was born.

“The directory is searchable and easy to read and access,” Davidson said. “In order for families and professionals to quickly search for a particular disability category and by categories of a type of services, Richard Stanton, senior research analyst at UMSL, provided us with the framework for our students to enter information into a database.”

The directory includes 271 agencies. Individuals can search by agency name, type of disability or type of service needed. The search will then pull up the agency, contact information and services provided.

Davidson said the directory could also be helpful for those who serve families with children with disabilities.

“I find that counselors social workers, and teachers are not able to access and provide others with the free opportunities our agencies in the area are able to provide to our students with special needs,” she said. “Professionals are busy, and I want to share the information that we have researched. A directory of resources can benefit everyone.”

The directory is an ever-growing site. Davidson said students will continue to maintain and update the directory.

“I hope that agencies and school districts will be aware of the directory and use it to access opportunities for all students with disabilities. We would like to include more agencies, have them inform us of changes and link our directory to their websites. We are a community working together to provide access and knowledge to all,” she said.

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Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton