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5 online communities for educators working with special needs students

by Kelly Walsh on July 22, 2009


This week’s mid-week update builds on the series of posts I am currently publishing, focused on Internet resources for educators who work with students with special needs. While each of my main weekly posts in this series will focus on a specific category of special needs, there are various resources on the Internet that are geared towards the larger general category encompassing all such needs. One useful type of  web based resource is the topic-specific online community. I came across a number of online communities that have been created for educators who work with special needs students, and wanted to share some of them here. Most of these provide interactive forums (this sort of interaction, to me, makes a true ‘community’).

  • Special Education forum on At a quick glance, this looks like an impressively active and useful forum. Anyone can read and respond to the posts. A must see if you are interested in this kind of interactive community forum.
  • Education World’s Special Ed Community: This site bills itself as a ‘community’, but I did not notice any opportunities for interaction (there was a link to a message board but it was no longer active). What I did notice, however, was a good number of resources in the form of articles and links, many grouped into categories (on the left hand tool bar). The site is kind of busy to look at, but it seems like a pretty useful set of resources.
  • The Special Needs forum on I am a big fan of, and they have many active forums, and over 26,000 members (!), but this specific forum has not been highly active. Anyone can read the forum contents, but you have to sign up to reply or create new discussions. I can assure you that if you create a forum topic, you are highly likely to generate responses, as this is a very active educator’s community, with tremendous membership.
  • Technology Integration in Special Education: This is a pretty new site, but it looks promising, as it (like above) uses the excellent and highly interactive Ning social networking environment.
  • Web Site’s Special Ed Forum: This does not appear to be highly active, but there have been hundreds of topics discussed here over several years, and simply scrolling through them may provide some useful insights. Anyone can read the content here, but you have to become a user to reply or post a new topic.

If you’re an educator working with students with special needs, I hope you find some of these useful!


Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer at The College of Westchester, in White Plains, NY, where he also teaches. In 2009, Walsh founded As an education and instructional technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, regularly running Flipped Class Workshops online. His eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book is available here. Kelly also writes, records, and performs original music ... stop by and have a listen!

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, or those of other writers, and not those of my employer. - K. Walsh]

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