Partner Organization Resources
Autism Society of Iowa
Advocacy, support and information organization of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, their families, professionals, and communities throughout the state of Iowa.
Brain Injury Alliance
BIAIA develops, deploys and evaluates an array of research-based and national best-practice services designed to support Iowans with brain injury in accessing and keeping a range of services and supports to help reduce the level of “disability” resulting from brain injury. BIAIA has also become increasingly active in influencing policy that impacts not only Iowans with brain injury but also other Iowans with disabilities. We also provide education, to help raise awareness about brain injuries and help prevent them. We are here to serve the estimated 95,000 Iowans live with long-term disability from brain injury.
GiGi's Playhouse--Des Moines
GiGi’s Playhouse Des Moines provides free programs that are educational and therapeutic in nature to individuals with Down syndrome from birth through adulthood, their families and the community. GiGi's Playhouse offers more than 25 therapeutic and educational programs that advance literacy, math skills, motor skills and more; all of which are free of charge. Programs are created by professional therapists and teachers who generously donate their time and expertise. All programs are based on best practices for Down syndrome learning styles, and customized to ensure individual success.
Hearing Loss Association of America
The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) is the nation’s leading organization representing consumers with hearing loss. HLAA strives to give people the tools they need to live more successfully with hearing loss and to show them they do not have to face hearing loss alone. HLAA reaches people with hearing loss through its network of chapters and state organizations. HLAA State organizations and chapters provide strategies and support that are modeled after HLAA Founder Howard “Rocky” Stone’s self-help philosophy.
HLAA Omaha Area Chapter
Iowa Department of Aging
Serves as a focal point for needs and concerns of older Iowans.
Iowa Department for the Blind
The Iowa Department for the Blind supports and encourages independent living and full participation in life – at home, at work and in communities. Vision loss knows no boundaries with respect to age, gender or ethnicity. It should not and does not need to limit accomplishment in whatever a person wishes to do.
Iowa Foundation Epilepsy
Statewide organization serving those living with seizure disorders and epilepsy, caregivers and professionals in all 99 counties of Iowa. Programs and services include: Seizure Recognition & First aid education programs for a variety of audiences, support groups, information and referral to resources, scholarships to attend epilepsy youth camp, an annual family caregiver conference, advocacy and much more.
Iowa School for the Deaf
Iowa School for the Deaf is not just a ‘special’ school. It is an extraordinary language and learning environment for children who sign, talk or use both communication methods. We welcome children who have cochlear implants, hearing aids, or who use no assistive hearing devices. We value our students’ strengths and design individual learning goals centered around each student’s unique needs.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Anxiety and Depression of America The ADAA is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and co-occurring disorders through education, practice and research. ADAA focuses on improving the quality of life for those with the disorders, provides education about the disorders and helps people find treatment, resources and support.
Catholic Charities Counseling Services Stress and anxiety are part of our daily lives, but what do you do when it gets to be too much? Professional therapy is one way to work through stress and anxiety, and the therapists in Catholic Charities Counseling Program provide the insight and support needed to manage life problems in a more productive way.
Our license, professional therapists work with clients of all faiths and backgrounds to address issues including depression, anxiety, stress, marital issues, relationship problems, child behavior problems, trauma, abuse and more. We specialize in treating couples and families with a focus on observing the patterns among family members and helping each member to make changes in how they relate to one another.
National Alliance on Mental Illness/NAMI NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental. Includes individual and family support group meetings throughout the state.
Greater Des Moines Chapter
Iowa Chapter This is a list ofNAMI programs in Iowa which include programs for individuals living with mental illness and their family members, the general public, and school and health professionals.
Southwest Iowa Chapter
NAMI Iowa offer individual and family support groups throughout the state. Their are two virtual support groups through October. Family Support Group will meet Monday evenings and Connections will meet Wednesday evenings. To sign up for either group, fill out this registration form. They also have a private Facebook group called NAMI Iowa Casserole Club that provides online support & networking for parents and guardians of children with mental health challenges in Iowa. With the private Facebook group no one outside of the group can see member or member posts, members can invite others, and Admins must admit all members. For more information on this group contact NAMI Iowa at 515-254-0417 or email@example.com
NAMI Iowa also offers a resource and referral line for mental health questions and services. Lines are open Monday - Friday, 8:30 to 4:30. Call 515-254-0417.
Programs including education classes and presentations are available through NAMI Iowa for individuals living with mental illness and their family members, the general public, school and health professionals. NAMI Basics is a class for parents, guardians, and other family caregivers who provide care for youth (age 22 and younger) who are experiencing mental health symptoms. This course is also available in Spanish Bases y Fundamentos de NAMI, in person and online through NAMI Basic OnDemand. The presentation, NAMI Ending the Silence, is designed for different audiences to help young people, educators and families/community members learn about the signs and symptoms of mental illness including how to recognize the early warning signs and the importance of acknowledging those warning signs.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the largest biomedical research agency in the world. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
National Suicide Prevention Lifelineis a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We're committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. It includes a tab called Treatment Locators to help find treatment facilities and programs in the United States or U.S. Territories for mental and substance use disorders.
Your Life Iowa is from the Iowa Department of Public Health to assist you or a loved one facing a problem with alcohol, drugs, gambling, mental health or suicidal thoughts, you're not alone. They provide resources so Iowans can chat live, text, or call and get reliable information and treatment options, and find nearby help.
Hamilton Relay provides telecommunications relay services for the state of Iowa including TTY, Voice Carry Over (VCO), Hearing Carry Over (HCO), Speech-to-Speech (STS), Visually Assisted Speech-to-Speech (VA STS), Spanish and CapTel®. When you connect with Iowa Relay, a Communication Assistant (CA) will connect on the phone with you. Simply give the CA the number you wish to call and your call will be processed promptly, professionally and accurately.
Telecommunications Access Iowa
Our goal is to provide access and assistance to individuals in selecting equipment that best suits their communication needs. Qualified individuals can receive a voucher that pays for approximately 95% of the average cost of specialized telecommunications equipment. Telecommunications Access Iowa (TAI) is a program of the Iowa Utilities Board and is administered by Deaf Services Unlimited, Inc. This program was established as a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to work in conjunction with Relay Iowa.
United States Spinal Association Iowa Chapter
Iowa Chapter of United Spinal Association strives to CONNECT individuals impacted by spinal cord injuries or disorders, including families, caregivers, and professionals. Our members EMPOWER each other to ENGAGE in active and healthy lifestyles.
Delivering Jobs, is an inclusion campaign dedicated to creating pathways to one million employment and leadership opportunities for people with autism, intellectual and/or developmental differences by 2025. They have teamed up to launch the campaign with Autism Speaks, Best Buddies and Special Olympics, in partnership with the Entertainment Industry Foundation. The Delivering Jobs campaign is building a foundation of sustainability for inclusive workplaces through consumer awareness and community activation, skills development and job preparedness, and workforce commitment and readiness.
Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Iowa VR is an employment program for individuals who experience a disability. We focus on service delivery that assists individuals to prepare for, obtain, retain, and advance in employment. For those who have been determined eligible, it is an individualized program that delivers employment services based on your unique individualized employment plan.
Job Accommodation Network/JAN
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.
JAN's Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR) system is designed to let users explore various accommodation options for people with disabilities in work and educational settings
Financial and Legal Resources
Guardianship and Conservatorship in Iowa
In partnership with Iowa Legal Aid, the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council released an updated Guide to Guardianship and Conservatorship in Iowa.
ABLE accounts are tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities and their families. ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience. With IAble, you can save for qualified disability expenses without losing your eligibility for certain assistance programs, like SSI and Medicaid..
Social Security Administration--Disability
(Federal government) Offers assistance on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both provide a minimum monthly income in the form of cash payments to qualified persons who meet income and disability eligibility requirements.
The ARC of Iowa
A statewide advocacy organization of parents and others representing people with intellectual and other disabilities. Chapters throughout Iowa offer a variety of services dedicated towards advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
ASK Resource Center
We are the state of Iowa's Parent Training and Information Center for families of children with disabilities. We are a family-focused nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower families by providing innovative and collaborative resources, training, advocacy, and support.
Assistive Technology Center
The Easterseals Iowa Assistive Technology Program helps Iowans learn about and access the assistive technology (AT) they need as part of their daily lives to learn, work, play and participate in community life safely and independently. Services include durable medical equipment loans, demonstration center, lending library, and Iowa Assistive Technology Exchange.
Rural Solutions represents their only hope of returning to farming and their communities. Easterseals Iowa offers agricultural work site and home modification consultations, peer support, services for the family, information and referrals, and medical equipment loan services.
Best Buddies International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
CDC Disability and Health Overview
Definitions on what is a disability and the three dimensions of impairment, activity limitation and participation restrictions and includes links to additional resources including links that provide information from CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities on certain disability-related health conditions.
Disability Resource Library
The Disability Resource Library (DRL) is a resource for people of all ages with disabilities of all kinds. It is also a resource for families, and for the service providers with whom they work. DRL collections focus on information for, by, and about people with disabilities. Materials come in a variety of formats -- books, DVDs, training curricula, software, and assistive technology. About 60% of the materials you'll find in the DRL are not found in any other SILO (State of Iowa Library Organization) library. You can borrow materials in person or by mail.
Iowa Compass Resource Database
Iowa Compass connects people with disabilities and complex health-related needs to services and supports in their communities throughout Iowa.
Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council
Our purpose is to assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to needed community services, individualized supports and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity and integration and inclusion in all parts of community life. We achieve this through engaging in advocacy, capacity building and system change activities.
Iowa's Independent Living Council
State connection to Iowa’s six Centers for Independent Living (CIL). Centers provide services in areas of information and referral, peer support, independent living skills development, individual and systems advocacy and transition services.
Living Well Iowa
Helping Iowans with disabilities achieve and maintain an optimal level of wellness in order to lead a full life. Prevention and a healthy lifestyle enables people with disabilities to learn, work, and live actively in their communities. The site includes information, tools, and resources related to healthy living, inclusive community wellness and preventative health care for use by Community Public Health and Wellness Providers, Disability Service Providers, Health Care Providers and People with Disabilities.
Nourish for Caregivers
Nourish for Caregivers is a Christ-Centered program and resources to support family caregivers. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit was created to improve the health and spiritual well-being of family caregivers...they provide faith-based programs and resources to churches and organizations to support caregivers. Our mission is to equip churches to create a spiritual home that ministers to the practical, emotional and spiritual needs of caregivers, giving them the tools and resources to help caregivers connect with their faith and encounter Christ, so that they can see the grace and blessings in their caregiver journey.
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
PALS Programs creates immersive experiences where young adults with Down syndrome and their peers have fun, grow as individuals, and build transformative friendships. PALS creates inclusive camp experiences for people with and without Down syndrome. Our volunteer-led programs change attitudes, transform lives, and inspire a world of belonging.
The Congratulations Project is an initiative of PALS Programs. During every program, participants spend a few hours writing letters for The Congratulations Project. Authors are encouraged to write about their lives, their hopes, and their dreams. The only requirement is that every letter must begin with “Congratulations.”
After the program, letters are scanned into a database and paired with a photo of the author during their week at PALS. When requests are received, a letter is chosen and packaged with a handmade PALS bracelet, and a “Future Camper” onesie that entitles the recipient to their first week of PALS for free. You can request a letter for a friend or family member. Or you can purchase The Congratulations Projectbook containing handwritten, original letters from individuals with Down syndrome to be shared with expecting and new parents whose child has received the same diagnosis.
A resource for youth and young adults with disabilities, their families and the professionals who support them. The resources found here encourage high expectations and successful outcomes for all students.
Volunteer Support Services
Consider setting up a Volunteer Support Services organization in your community. Grimes, Dallas Center, Urbandale and Woodward-Granger utilize a model for a volunteer organization that provides transportation and other services without charge to those in need. Their focus has always been "neighbors helping neighbors". Set up a volunteer support services organization like these to serve neighbors in need in your community.
Weather Safety Materials for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrator (NOAA) has created symbol-supported weather safety content has been transformed into a symbol-supported text specifically for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Lightning, heat, flood safety, wildfires, cold and tornadoes and their accompanying safety precautions are discussed throughout the materials. By covering a wide range of weather categories, one can be certain individuals in all geographical areas can have life-saving information that is relevant to them, as well as information that can help them better understand complex concepts and new details and information.
These materials will help to educate individuals with disabilities on dangerous weather conditions in their area and the important safety precautions that come with them, which in turn, will ensure their safety and well-being and create a Weather-Ready Nation for all.
Iowa Department of Public Health and Human Services Disability 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 engages in a wide variety of activities that promote a well-coordinated statewide system of high quality disability-related services and supports
Disability Services you are looking for such as Community-Based Services, Intermediate Care Facilities, Employment Supports, Resource Centers, State Supplementary Assistance, and Targeted Case Management.
Home and Community Based Programs
HCBS Waivers in the Waiver Program that provides service funding and individualized supports to maintain eligible members in their own homes or communities who would otherwise require care in a medical institution.
Iowa Department of Public Health Brain Service Program
The Brain Injury Services Program works to improve the lives of Iowans living with brain injuries by linking those individuals and their families to needed information, services, and supports as well as training service providers and other professionals on how to best work with people who have sustained a brain injury.
Iowa Department of Public Health Disability and Health Program
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been awarded a five-year, grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Iowa was one of 19 states to be awarded funding through the "Improving the Health of People with Mobility Limitations and Intellectual Disabilities through State-based Public Health Programs" grant. The purpose of the grant is to promote and maximize health, prevent chronic disease, and increase the quality of life among Iowans with disabilities.
Grant funding from the CDC will support the following activities, with an emphasis of improving the health of Iowans with disabilities through increased physical activity, better nutrition and healthy weight:
- Improve Iowa public health system capacity
- Build healthy, inclusive Iowa communities
- Develop Iowa disability service organization capacity
- Increase Iowa healthcare provider knowledge and accessibility
National Aging and Disability Transportation Center
Our goal is to promote the availability and accessibility of transportation options for older adults, people with disabilities and caregivers.
Be Not Afraid
Be Not Afraid (BNA) is a private non-profit organization which provides comprehensive case management to parents carrying to term following a prenatal diagnosis. We believe that every baby is a gift, and we support parents not only in advocating for basic care, but also in obtaining the treatment they deem appropriate for their child after birth no matter the diagnosis. We follow the ethical teaching of the Catholic Church, but serve parents of all denominations.
Carrying to Term
Carrying To Term is dedicated to providing non-directive information on pregnancy continuation for prenatal diagnoses of life-limiting conditions. By broadening access to evidence-based resources and compassionate logistical and emotional support, we empower women and families to make fully informed choices as they navigate a deeply personal journey. We also work to equip health care providers with the knowledge and tools they need to clearly communicate carrying to term as an option to their patients, elevate the shared decision-making process, and implement a coordinated care strategy.
Gift of Time: Continuing your pregnancy when your baby's life is expected to be brief
Review in Linacre Quarterly by Byron Calhoun of the above listed resource.
Isaiah’s Promise was founded in 1995 to provide families, who decide to carry to term after receiving a severe or fatal prenatal diagnosis, support, information, friendship and hope. We understand, first-hand, the need to support these families who, after making this courageous, loving decision to continue the pregnancy, often feel isolated and alone. We draw on our own experiences – each of us, despite the diagnosis, carried to term. Although our babies’ lives were incredibly brief, they changed our lives forever.
Our mission at Isaiah’s Promise is to help each family find some joy, fulfillment and peace in their decision to continue the pregnancy. It is our privilege to share in their journey as they find some meaning, some comfort and some hope in the knowledge that they gave their baby the greatest gift of all - the gift of life.
National Association for Down Syndrome
You have learned your baby will have Down syndrome. Now you are waiting—waiting for your baby to be born, waiting to see what changes that birth will bring and wondering what to expect. The waiting and the worrying can be difficult, but information and support is available. If you would like to learn more about Down syndrome or to speak to another parent who also received a prenatal diagnosis, reach out to this organization.
National Catholic Partnership Resources on Prenatal Diagnosis
Article "The New Eugenics: Eliminating the "Undesirable" by Prenatal Diagnosis, 2010
Perinatal Comfort Care Program
At Methodist Women's Hospital in Omaha, women and their families also receive support from a perinatal comfort care liaison, social worker and hospital chaplain as requested.
Perinatal Hospice and Bereavement, Mercy One
When faced with the potential death of a newborn or stillborn birth, parents may feel unprepared for the emotions they find themselves experiencing. Know that the feelings of loss, grief, anger and distance from those closest to you are normal and MercyOne Des Moines has created a support system to help address your questions, navigate decisions, provide you with resources, mementos and gentle support.
Perinatal and Hospice & Palliative Care
PerinatalHospice.org is a clearinghouse of information about perinatal hospice & palliative care, including many resources for parents and caregivers as well as an international list of more than 300 programs.
SHINE Perintal and Pediatric Palliative Care Program
Blank Children's Hospital SHINE program Perinatal Palliative Care focuses on families whose unborn baby has received a complex diagnosis. The SHINE team provides an additional layer of support to these families through their pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Supporting Families who Receive a Prenatal Diagnosis
USCCB resources in supporting families who receive a prenatal diagnosis. Pamphlets are available in English and Spanish.
Sports and Fitness
Adaptive Sports Iowa
Mission is to provide statewide leadership in the planning, promotion, education and organization of sports and recreation opportunities for Iowans with physical disabilities
Courage League Sports is a non-profit adaptive sports and recreation organization that offers year-round programming for children and adults who aren’t able to go full speed due to a physical, cognitive or emotional disability. By adapting the pace, equipment, or nature of an activity, Courage League can provide a safe and accessible environment where participants can go at their own speed.
Kiwanis Miracle League
Kiwanis Miracle League is truly a miracle as it provides a place for children and adults with special needs to enjoy our nation’s pastime, Baseball. It is an opportunity for families to come together and enjoy the great outdoors and the spirit of competition. Or at least what WE call competition. You see, everyone bats, everyone scores and every came ends in a tie.
We also have space for dedicated volunteers, our “buddies” who help our players get the most out of the experience. Groups and individuals from all walks of life have volunteered to be buddies or our youngsters and we welcome you as well.
The mission of Special Olympics Iowa is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for individuals with intellectual disabilities by giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.
Sport Ability of Iowa
SportAbility of Iowa is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded January 1, 2010 that provides ongoing sports and recreation programs to help people in the local community with physical disabilities to enjoy an active lifestyle. We collaborate with community partners, University of Iowa, physical therapists, trainers, Veteran’s Administration, coaches and volunteers to sponsor local competitive sports and recreational activities.
Train to Inspire
Train to Inspires mission is to is to make the seemingly impossible a reality for people with disabilities. They focus mostly on physical activities and creating a positive community for our participants. Whether it’s rock climbing, Tae Kwon Do, nerf gun battles, biking, or our premier annual accessible obstacle course, we make sure everyone has a chance to participate and do things many of them have never done before. They offer free personal training, group fitness, and several monthly events for individuals with disabilities.