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About Us

CEC Leadership Institute

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the success of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.

CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides professional development, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice. CEC is known as THE source for information, resources, and professional development for special educators.

CEC has local Units in all 50 states and Canada, as well as 18 optional Special Interest Divisions focused on a specific topic, specialty area, role, or exceptionality. We also have CEC Student Chapters at hundreds of colleges and universities.


Our Mission and Vision


High-quality education that is inclusive and equitable for individuals with disabilities.



Cultivating, supporting, and empowering education professionals who work with individuals with disabilities by:

  • Advocating for education professionals and for individuals with disabilities, and/or gifts and talents
  • Advancing professional practice and scholarly research
  • Promoting diversity, equity, inclusivity, and accessibility
  • Building networks, partnerships, and communities

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CEC Bylaws

View CEC's bylaws and proposed revisions.

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Our Founding & History

Elizabeth Farrell

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) was organized by a group of educators attending the summer session at Teachers College, Columbia University, and their faculty members on August 10, 1922. The Council began with 12 members. Elizabeth E. Farrell was the Founder and first President from 1922-1926.

Learn More About Our First 100 Years

Contact Information

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