Partner Organization Resources

  puzzle pieces with words community partners

Links listed on this site are provided for information purposes only and are not necessarily sponsored by the Diocese of Des Moines.

Disability Type

                                                                 group of people standing of different race, age, and physical ability and a dog                            

The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support.  There is also an Iowa Chapter available.

Association for Science in Autism Treatment is an resource that provides a well-respected, comprehensive website that tackles the array of considerations surrounding autism treatment. Our website is the go-to source for research summaries of the full array of autism treatments for families and professionals to make informed choices before considering treatment options.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have unique strengths and challenges. Understanding the underlying characteristics of ASD and effective practices that support their needs is essential.

Designed for those who support, instruct, work with, or live with someone with autism, the Autism Internet Modules (AIM) guide users through case studies, instructional videos, pre- and post-assessments, discussion questions, activities, and more.


The Autism Research Institute (ARI) works to support the health and well-being of people affected by autism through innovative, impactful research, and education. ARI is a leading advocate for autism research and a unique resource for individuals with ASD, their families, healthcare professionals and, last but certainly not least, investigators working to find key symptoms and signs for early diagnosis and appropriate treatment. ARI has awarded more than 100 research grants over the past 10 years.

Advocacy, support and information organization of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, their families, professionals, and communities throughout the state of Iowa.

Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. 

ACA helps meet the needs of children  and families affected by autism. The goal of ACA is to support children with an autism spectrum disorder by providing information, education and financial assistance to their families and relevant community service organizations. Funds donated to ACA will be used to address any and all kinds of issues in assisting children with autism and their families. By providing financial assistance to families and autism-specific organizations, together we are able to give autistic children and their families the resources they need to grow.

Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.

 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.

This is a ministry for aging and cognitive impairment. We offer hope for families impacted by dementia through practical caregiving strategies and through the doctrine & tradition of our beautiful Catholic Faith. We are pro-life, pro-family, and pro-eternal life. Their work includes:  

  1. One-on-one virtual appointments with caregivers for guidance
  2. The Peace with Dementia Rosary: Education, Intentions, Community
  3. Speaking at conferences and Catholic parishes
  4. Our community, including the Dementia Prayer wall for your intentions
  5. Daily FB videos, weekly e-newsletters, monthly interview videos/podcasts


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide multiple resources on cerebral palsy for children and adults.

CommunicationFIRST is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights of the more than 5 million children and adults in the United States who, due to disability or other condition, cannot rely on speech alone to be heard and understood.

Our mission is to protect and advance the rights, autonomy, opportunity, and dignity of people with speech-related disabilities through public engagement, policy and practice reform, and systemic advocacy.

Dementia Friendly Iowa promotes change and education in communities across Iowa to create a more informed, safe, and respectful place for people living with dementia and their caregivers. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, at least 66,000 people are living with dementia in Iowa, and this number is expected to grow to at least 73,000 by 2025.

Dementia Friendly Iowa seeks to make the state more dementia friendly through two initiatives- Dementia Friends and Dementia Friendly Communities. The movement is part of the greater Dementia Friendly America movement, and it is locally supported by the Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging (NEI3A), Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging (I4a), and the Iowa Geriatric Education Center. The initiative is staffed by NEI3A.

Dementia Letters Project is here to help you along the dementia journey. Whether you are a care partner, a person living with dementia, or a neighbor wanting to grow in knowledge and understanding, we are here to come together in community.  Becoming relational with individuals living with dementia and their care partners is the most important element in helping all with dementia live the life they were created to live. We cannot provide the best care possible without first becoming relational.  Includes resources of workshops, Art Bin, The Hem of Christ and Purple Angel Dementia Project.

Video of children and young adults with Down Syndrome tell a worried expectant mother what to expect- just try not to cry! 

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder FASD United takes our 30+ years of experience and partnerships across public, tribal, and private sector communities, and puts it towards bridging the gaps between research, policies, practices, and living experiences. In order to, address the extraordinary complexities of FASD and PSE while supporting and encouraging those living with them to reach their full potential.

Fi & Friends will cultivate relationships and community partnerships that will allow us to bring you and your families a variety of events and opportunities, both big and small, while always keeping our focus the same: Through an autism lens. In addition to hosting our own events, we will guide businesses in making their spaces more accessible and inclusive for individuals on the spectrum.

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. 

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

Interacting with Autism  is a video-based website that presents the most reliable evidence-based information currently available on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

This website is designed primarily for those on the spectrum and their families, as well as educators and healthcare workers, to help them make informed choices about what approaches might be most effective for any specific individual diagnosed with autism. By making this information accessible and documenting how it is currently being used by actual families, the website strives to offer hope about what is possible for those on the spectrum. We are especially interested in reaching families from ethnic communities and economic groups who are usually under-served and whose children typically do not receive early diagnosis. For that reason, the website is multilingual—accessible in English, Chinese, and Spanish.


  • Iowa Department of Aging                                                                     

Serves as a focal point for needs and concerns of older Iowans.      man walking on sidewalk in park using a cane

 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.

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 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.

IRIS is a free news and information service that broadcasts 24 hours a day, every day of the year to thousands of listeners throughout Iowa. Each day, volunteers in seven locations across the state sit down in front of an IRIS microphone and read aloud from their local newspapers.  These dedicated volunteers, over 300 strong, are the voices that help keep our listeners connected to their communities.

  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Sideview head with circles coming out of all sizes and words Mental Health Resources
  • 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.
  • Catholic Psychotherapy Association Clinical, Academic and Student Memberships Clinicians, academics, students, and persons working in related fields join the Catholic Psychotherapy Association for many reasons.
  • Hotlines to make available at your parish:

       Upper Room Crisis Hotline is a face based hotline in the Catholic Tradition.  Contact them at 1-888-808-8724 

        988 National /Suicide and Crisis Hotline There is hope. Providing 24/7, free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress works. The Lifeline helps thousands of people overcome crisis situations every day. There is tool kits and resources for promoting this hotline.

  • 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. NAMI FaithNet is an interfaith resource network of NAMI members, friends, clergy and congregations of all faith traditions who wish to encourage faith communities who are welcoming and supportive of persons and families living with mental illness.

                        Iowa Chapter This is a list of NAMI programs in Iowa which include programs for individuals living with mental illness and their family members, the general public, and school and health professionals. 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 warming signs and the importance of acknowledging those warming signs.           

                        NAMI Southwest Iowa offers educational classes, presentations, resource referral, and support groups (in person and virtual) for individuals and  family members impacted by mental illness in Southwest Iowa. They serve nine counties in southwest Iowa (Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Monona, Page, Pottawattamie, and Shelby). The Connection (Peer) Support Group currently offers four in-person support groups (Atlantic, Clarinda, Council Bluffs and Harlan) as well as a virtual group. Here is the current Connection (Peer) Support Group schedule. The Family Support Group currently meets in person in Clarinda and virtually and here is the current schedule. To find out more about what NAMI Southwest Iowa offers, visit their website link above or call (712) 542-7904 or access information on this website link for.   

  • 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 Lifeline is 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.
  • Pathways to Promise is an interfaith cooperative of many faith groups which was founded in 1988 by fourteen faith groups and mental health organizations to facilitate the faith community’s work in reaching out to those with mental illnesses and their families. We provide training, consultation and other resources for faith groups who want to become supportive, caring communities for people with mental illnesses and their families. Our written resources, which include ministry manuals, bulletin inserts, and training curricula, are used by people at all levels of faith group structures from local congregations to regional and national faith group staff. Some written materials are available in Protestant, Roman Catholic or Jewish versions.  PATHWAYS is committed to creating an atmosphere in the faith and mental health communities which promotes recovery from mental illness and invites people with mental illnesses to enrich the community through actively sharing their gifts and interests.
  • Provider search options:

Catholic Psychotherapy Association supports mental health practitioners by promoting the development of psychological theory and mental health practice which encompasses a full understanding of the human person, family, and society in fidelity to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. They also offer a Directory Search Option to find a mental health practitioner near you.

Catholic offers a referral database of qualified Catholic Therapists. Their blog also addresses relative to therapy, the emotional and spiritual life, relationships, as well as marriage and family issues. And our store offers hand-picked books and other materials that can be helpful in your healing  and  spiritual journey.

Iowa Latino, Bilingual and/or Bi-cultural Mental Health Providers list is a compilation from the Office of Latino Affairs in the Iowa   Department of Human Rights provided as a courtesy to the community. 

Psychology Today provides a great resource to search for a therapist in your area that meets your needs.  You can filter by insurance type, issues, types of therapy and under the More box by language, faith and price.

  • 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.

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 Project book containing handwritten, original letters from individuals with Down syndrome to be shared with expecting and new parents whose child has received the same diagnosis.

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.

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.

NCAEP conducted a systematic review of the current intervention literature targeting individuals on the autism spectrum. NCAEP is a continuation of the evidence review that was completed by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders (NPDC) which included research published through 2011. We reviewed research studies published between 2012-2017 which examined the impact of behavioral, educational, clinical and developmental practices and service models used with individuals on the autism spectrum from birth through age 22. The literature is expanding rapidly so we hope to establish an active yearly review that will provide families, practitioners, and researchers with more timely updates. In the future, NCAEP hopes to expand this important work to identify EBPs for adults on the autism spectrum and to include pharmaceutical interventions. 

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. 

Employment Resources

                                                          magnifying showing words job seekers on a laptop computer

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 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.

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. 

Job Rides is a non-profit organization that helps people get to work by providing reliable transportation to and from work for those in need.

Mentra is a neurodivergent-friendly talent platform that intelligently matches neurodiverse individuals with employers that value their strengths. Mentra puts recruiters in front of candidates rather than forcing them to navigate through the challenging process of finding a job. How? Through humantistic AI and community-driven design.

The National Organization on Disability (NOD) increases employment opportunities for Americans with disabilities. Our programs and services enable companies to realize the competitive advantages of hiring people with disabilities.  We envision a world where all people with disabilities enjoy full opportunity for employment, enterprise and earnings, and employers know how to make the most of our talents.

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, Social Security Disability, Special Education & Legal Resources

                                                              gavel on stand, stacked books with glasses sitting on top

People with disabilities are too often overlooked or forgotten when they get involved in the criminal justice system, as victims or as suspects/defendants.

They often face fear, prejudice, and a lack of understanding or resources when they do become entangled in the system. Justice professionals may lack experience and accurate knowledge about IDD, leading to misidentification of disability, a heightened risk of false confessions, inaccurate assumptions about competency and credibility, inappropriate placement in institutions, and the unknowing waivers of rights.

Individuals with disabilities are valuable, and they have the right to access justice. They should not experience discrimination or mistreatment in any justice system. They should also have meaningful access to criminal justice services and programs. People with disabilities should be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of criminal justice involvement or any other status or identity.

Read The Arc’s position statement on criminal justice.

According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Between 2011 and 2015, individuals with disabilities were at least twice as likely to be victims of violent victimization as people without disabilities." (Crime against Persons with Disabilities 2009-20013 ... 

Individuals with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to crime for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to reliance on caregivers, limited transportation options, limited access to Sign Language interpreters and assistive devices, and isolation from the community.  The Central Iowa Trauma Recovery Center (CITRC) is an innovative, clinically proven model of comprehensive care, advocacy and outreach that supports and improves physical and emotional health outcomes for survivors of trauma and loss.  The National Center for Victims of Crime have developed a Crimes Against People with Disabilities Fact Sheet.

Disability Rights Iowa equips Iowans with the knowledge, advocacy, representation, and assistance they need to defend their rights. Our services are free to adults and children with a wide range of disabilities and mental illnesses. DRI aims to break down the barriers that keep Iowans with disabilities from experiencing equality in everyday life. They provide legal services to individuals of all ages with disabilities or mental illness. We provide these services free of charge if we decide to provide information or represent an individual.

Habitat for Humanity of Iowa is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, rehabilitating and preserving homes; by advocating for fair and just housing policies; and by providing training and access to resources to help families improve their shelter conditions. Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, durable place to live in dignity and safety, and that decent shelter in decent communities should be a matter of conscience and action for all.

Aging at Home and Home Preservation programs serves Polk, Dallas and Jasper counties and is focused on accessibility.  They are open to discussion on leveraging this program to serve local parishes. Assistance with ramps, grab bars, new steps, accessible restrooms, etc. so that people can be active in their community are examples of how they can help.  They do not charge for labor and supplies are at their cost. Contact Jenna Ekstrom . For other counties in southwest Iowa please contact the state Habitat for Humanity Office to inquire about possible similar opportunities.

  • Guardianship, Conservatorship and Supportive Care/Advance Care Directive resources 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.

Iowa Able Foundation is non-profit organization that helps people of all abilities become financially independent by providing solutions of financial needs and empowering them to achieve financial goals. Iowa Able Foundation was founded to help low-income Iowans with disabilities get access to assistive technology by providing affordable loans.

Since 1993, we have provided an accessible borrowing option to Iowans for purchasing products and services related to living independently.   On their website, take a look at their link to the guidebook which gives a lot of information about their programs. 

The above link to Supporting Crime Victims with Disabilities toolkit was designed to provide comprehensive and culturally responsive informational and educational resources, tools, videos, and examples of best practices for law enforcement, forensic interviewers, victim advocates, and others to prepare them to effectively respond to victims of crime with disabilities across the lifespan. Leveraging the guidance and expertise of representatives from these fields, the toolkit embodies ideals of intersectionality, accessibility, and usability among others. The toolkit includes video testimonials from survivors with disabilities, recorded lectures from professionals across a variety of systems, and interactive activities. You can review the content from beginning to end or select specific topics of interest.

Rebuilding Together is the leading volunteer organization that, in partnership with the community, rehabilitates the homes of veterans,  older adults, people with disabilities, and families with dependent children. There is no cost to qualified families for the services provided. Our office is located at 1111 9th Street #265, Des Moines, IA 50314. Our main phone number is 284-7403.

(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. 

Social Security's Ticket to Work Program supports career development for Social Security disability beneficiaries ages 18 through 64 who want to work. The Ticket Program is free and voluntary. The Ticket Program helps people with disabilities progress toward financial independence.

The Ticket Program is a good fit for people who want to improve their earning potential and are committed to preparing for long-term success in the workforce. This program offers beneficiaries with disabilities access to meaningful employment with the assistance of Ticket to Work employment service providers called Employment Networks.  Ability Leads is an American Dream Employment Network(ADEN) Member and can help determine  if the Ticket to Work (TTW) program is the right fit to meet someone's employment goals.

 Special Education Advocacy Library from Wrightslaw

Parents, advocates, educators, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, up-to-date information about advocacy for children with disabilities. Resources are available related to advocacy and special education law.

Reginald Robinson, former Acting Director of the Office for Victims of Crime, asked the Symposium participants "How can we better identify and serve all crime victims who need advocacy and services? Are we rising to the challenge of being inclusive as we define the populations that deserve our attention and support?" This Bulletin highlights the main discussion points and recommendations developed by the Symposium participants and seeks to encourage victim assistance program staff to take the necessary steps to better serve crime victims with disabilities in their communities.

WIPA is a grant-funded program from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provides individualized, in-depth, benefits counseling and work incentives planning to Social Security beneficiaries who are:

  • Receiving a Title II disability benefit, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Childhood Disability Benefit (CDB), and Disabled Widow/Widower’s Benefit (DWB), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) due to a disability,
  • At least 14 years old but not yet reached full retirement age, AND
  • Interested in, actively looking for, or already engaged in work through wage employment or self-employment.

The program aims to improve employment outcomes and increase economic self-sufficiency for Social Security disability beneficiaries through their understanding of how employment can be an option for them.



outline person digging, women and kids holding hands, person on ladder,  person being pushed in a wheelchair

211 is a free, one-stop source of information for people looking for services. Iowa maintains a comprehensive system that links to thousands of health and human service programs, community services, disaster services, and government programs. A trusted resource to connect people, including those with disabilities, to resources. Call 211, search website, text or use Iowa211 app to access a clearinghouse of services.

  • Accepting the Gift is run by Catholic special needs parents just like you.
  • We know first hand the unique challenges that come from parenting a child with special needs. We are the parents of children with autism, learning disabilities, genetic conditions, physical disabilities, and everything in between. We're sharing our stories, advice, and encouragement to help you not only survive, but thrive, and find JOY, in your vocation as a special needs parent. We see you. You are not alone. 

  • You can join their Facebook Group, and Instagram group, , where they connect families. They have been praying the rosary a few times a month on Instagram and they will soon be releasing a new curriculum for home-based religious education.  Check them out.

Nationally, AAAs were established by the Older Americans Act (OAA) which provided funding to support home-based services for people 60 years of age or older. Initially, core programs were developed to help vulnerable older adults live with independence and dignity in their homes and communities. In the last 45+ years, family caregivers and adults with a disabilities have been added to the people we serve.

  • Service is provided by different agencies for counties in Iowa:

 Dallas, Polk, Warren and Madison are served by Aging Resources of Central Iowa

Guthrie and Auduban are served by Elderbridge Area Agency on Aging

Remaining Iowa counties in southwest Iowa are served by Connections Area Agency on Aging

  •  Iowa My Resource Directory using Lifelong Links provides access to local services and resources.  You also can call 1-866-468-7887.
  • A variety of free trainings available on a variety of topics related to aging are available.  One is called Being a Dementia Friend.  This is a global movement that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. Developed by the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom, the Dementia Friends initiative is underway in Iowa and across the United States.

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. 

ARC's Virtual Program Library is resource for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their caregivers can find and share on-demand activities that they can use whenever it is convenient for them in the comfort of their own homes. Service providers can also find and share resources that they can use to facilitate or deliver live, remote programming for people with IDD.

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.

 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.  You can set up an account and access the Assistive Technology Library and Exchange Program database.

Several Assistive Technology Centers across the United States share information on how apps and mobile devices can help people of all abilities reach their highest levels of physical, social and cognitive development.  Several resources to assist you in finding applications that work for your needs include:

  • Bridging Apps:  Given the number of apps on the market and the diverse skills of children and adults with special needs, these resources provide caregivers and professionals with the best resources for choosing apps to enhance everyday life for people with disabilities and sharing their successes with others. In collaboration with speech language pathologists and occupational therapists, we have created an app review system that focuses on skills rather than age, diagnosis or developmental level to help improve outcomes for a person with a disability.
  • National Assistive Technology Act Technical Assistance and Training (AT3) Center: Must have applications for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • AT3 Center Blog on mobile apps: here's a wonderful post from the USSAAC SpeakUp blog by Lauren Enders, MA, CCC-­SLP. She focuses on apps for making learning language fun Also a link to a story of empowerment through technology.
  • 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).

Beyond Words is an organization that helps people who can’t read or who don’t like written words are often very good at reading pictures. That’s why there are no words in our picture stories.

Our books all tell a story, but they also let the reader tell their own story – the one they see in the pictures. This can tell you a lot about a person’s inner world and their understanding of situations. There is plenty to talk about and each story explores feelings and relationships as well as giving information. All the pictures used in our books are tested by people who find pictures easier than words, to make sure they are easy to understand.

The books help to remove barriers.  For someone who struggles with words, there are a lot of barriers to getting the right health or social care and support. Even when a person with a problem reaches someone who can help, like a doctor, a social worker or a therapist, there can be communication problems and anxieties on both sides. By telling the whole story in pictures, each Books Beyond Words narrative gives people the chance to work together and explore different types of situations:

·       everyday opportunities and experiences

·       things that are about to happen, like going to hospital or appearing in court

·       life decisions, like having a relationship or agreeing to an operation.

·       things that have already happened, like abuse or losing someone you love

They also offer a Beyond Words Story App that is a fast and convenient way to access pictures that will help enable the people you care about to explore and understand their world and the things that affect their lives.  The app brings together 1800+ pictures and 400 short stories taken from the Books Beyond Words series, and makes them all available to browse in one place.

This unique and easy-to-use mobile tool provides supporters with a comprehensive library of resources that offer people with learning disabilities opportunities to better understand situations, make informed decisions, explore their feelings and emotions, and share their own experiences.

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. You can also find a resource of Disability and Health Infographics with statistics on titled: "Disability Impacts All of Us."

Central Iowa Center for Independent Living (CICIL) is a community based, nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower people with disabilities to control their lives and participate and integrate in their community. 

CICIL works side-by-side with individuals - assisting each to achieve their personal goals in the following 7 counties; Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Polk, Story, Warren. CICIL advances the independent living philosophy through the provision of the following Five Core Services:  Information and Referral, Independent Living Skills Training, Individual and Systems Advocacy, Peer Support and Transition Services. CICIL recognizes the unique and unmet needs by offering information and referral, advocacy, employment, peer support, and transition services free of charge to each of our clients.

The mission of the Collaborative on Faith and Disability is to support people with disabilities, their families, and those who support them by providing national and international leadership in the areas of research, education, service, and dissemination related to disability, religion, and inclusive supports.

The Collaborative was launched with eight University Centers of Excellence for Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD’s). Twelve UCEDDS are now involved. Members have collaborated by presenting at national conferences, crafting grant proposals, supporting the initiatives of its members (e.g., the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability), developing courses in collaboration with seminaries, designing internships for LEND trainees interested in spiritual supports, and webinars.

Search for programs and resources in your community. With the MercyOne Community Resource Directory you can:

  • Find local programs, resources and support
  • Search for free and privately
  • Connect with community programs based on your needs and preferences


This website is Iowa's hub for information on disability related training and topics.  Connection’s mission is to support Iowans with disabilities to live as fully participating members of their communities through the provision of training resources and technical assistance to consumers, their family members and service providers, and other disability advocates. The Conner mission, in short, is advancing community living. The Conner Training Connection is housed at the Center for Disabilities and Development, Iowa’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (Iowa's UCEDD). It is funded by an annual appropriation to the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services.

Our mission is to grow and support the health and well-being of persons with different abilities through care farming practices. We will cultivate growth through the planting of knowledge and skills that are transferrable to everyday life through the incorporation of animals, agriculture, and recreation. Our family-centered program provides a unique learning environment for participants to work on their individual goals and guide them towards a successful future.

Cultivating Hope Farms is an inclusive care farm. We welcome all individuals regardless of diagnosis.  We are a working farm where individuals can practice the skills learned in therapy while learning about farming and having fun!

Your child’s disabilities might include medical, developmental, Autism, physical, mental health, genetic disorders, intellectual, neurological, or any other additional care needs. As guides on your journey, we’d like to equip you with the tools you’ll need in order to thrive in the midst of your caregiving stress. We’ll give you practical tips, new helpful blog articles, inspirational stories, and provide you with FREE resources to help you live fully as you care for your family. Whether it’s learning ways to get through your daily challenges or strengthening your faith, marriage, or mental health, we’re here to help you live strong. They even have a link to help with Disability Traveling Tips.

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.

Disabled World is an independent disability community established in 2004 to provide disability news, reviews, and information for people with disabilities, seniors, and their family and/or caregivers. 

People with disabilities are the largest minority group any person can join at any time - and due to accidents and old age eventually do. In fact, disability will affect the lives of everyone at some point during their life and it is time society changed to acknowledge this.

The primary focus of Disabled World is to present information received from world governments, educational institutions, disability organizations, and their own exclusive stories. 

  • Grief Resources for Persons with Disabilities

     1.  With Ministries--Walking Through Grief

With Ministries is pleased to present this resource to help you step into the grief journey with someone you care about. The resource is called Walking with Grief.  You have to set up a free account to access the library and the resource.

As a family member, friend, pastor, caregiver, Friendship group leader, or fellow Bible study participant, you are in a position to help someone with an intellectual or developmental disability who is hurting over a significant loss. This resource will help you help your loved one in the first days after the loss as well as in the long months and years of healing that will follow. This resource is written from a Christian perspective, and we hope that whatever your faith tradition, you will find ideas to help you walk with your loved one as they travel the grief journey.  

     2. Introduction to Grief and Loss for People with IDD

The above article is provided by the National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry (NAflm) an organization that in 2013 partnered and  joined forces with NCPD and continue its ministry as a Council on IDD within NCPD. NCPD also has an additional resource on this topic called When Persons with Intellectual Disabilities Grieve.

      3. Resources in Developmental Disabilities and Coping with Grief, Death and Dying from University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service New Jersey.

     4. Grief and Loss Booklet published by Scope Ltd in Australia.  It includes easy to read information with pictures for discussing death and loss for a person with IDD and includes information  and strategies that will be ready accessible to many people about grief and loss.

     5. Social Stories on the topic of grief from the Autism and Grief Project.  This includes resources for the person with autism, their family and friends and clergy and other professionals. They also have an Autism Grief Guide for Roman Catholic Rituals.

     6. Book resources from Dr. Karyn Harvey who has worked extensively with adults living with IDD In trauma recovery. Also check out the Download Workbooks Section that includes FREE resources such as My Goodbye Book and My Book of Hope resource and here is an adapted version of My Book of Hope from the Archdiocese of Washington DC.

     7.  All Soul's Day Lesson from the National Catholic Partnership on Disability.

     8. Grief and Loss Resources from the National Association for Down Syndrome.

     9. Grief--Ways to Help Support Someone with Down Syndrome who is Grieving from Advocate Medical Group.

11. Additional books that may be helpful include:  The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, The Invisible String, Buddy the Wonder Beagle: A True Story, When Dinosaurs Die:  A Guide to Understanding Death, I Miss You:  A first Look at Death.

HealthMatters™ Program is an evidence-based health promotion program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their supports in health-friendly communities. Through the HealthMatters™ Program, we engage people with IDD and their supports to have access to research, education and training, service learning, and evaluation tools to improve their health where they live, work, learn, and play. 

They have a virtual coach training program for the HealthMatters program to provide training to providers and front line staff to learn strategies and materials to support healthy options and choices among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking for inclusive and adaptive activities in Iowa? Explore your community with activities you can do with your whole family. Check out these spots in Iowa where everyone has access to the fun. 

Kids of all abilities and their families like to get out and experience the community around them. For kids with special healthcare needs, this can often look a little different and take extra planning from their caregivers. With help from ChildServe’s Family Advisory Council and Social Work team, we have compiled a list of accessible and inclusive activities for kids to enjoy near each of our locations. View our list of adaptive and accessible activities in Iowa below!

Iowa Compass connects people with disabilities and complex health-related needs to services and supports in their communities throughout Iowa.

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.

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. 

As Iowa's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), the Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) shares the vision of "a life in the community for everyone." We partner with Iowans with disabilities, their family members, providers, state and local agencies, and many others to improve the health and full community participation of persons with disabilities, and to advance the community supports and services on which they rely. We work towards our goals through University training, community training, technical assistance to state and local agencies/organizations, clinical services and direct community supports, research and policy analyses, and information sharing.

They provide training for health care providers to communicate effectively with their patients with disabilities to healthcare training programs around the state.

John Felageller is a special needs dad that does writing, podcasts, videos and presentations on topics related to disability and special needs parenting.  His website has a community tab which includes resources for couples, mothers, fathers and a variety of other communities that provide support for families with children with disabilities.

Joni and Friends is a non-Catholic Christian organization that since 1979 has committed to reaching and serving people with disabilities with practical help and the saving love of Jesus.

The Joni and Friends International Disability Center in Agoura Hills, California serves as the administrative hub for ministry programs around the world. Programming is international and national and includes Wheel's for the World, Family Retreats, Warrior  Getaways and Marriage Getaways and church training resources to help churches welcome and embrace people with disabilities.


Key Ministries is a non-Catholic Christian organization whose mission is to promote meaningful connection between churches and families of kids with disabilities for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ.  Our ministry was founded to help churches minister to families of children with hidden disabilities. We find ourselves uniquely called and positioned to serve churches seeking to become more intentional and effective in ministry with children, teens and adults impacted by mental illness, trauma, and developmental disabilities and their families.

The Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (MHDD) National Training Center is a collaboration between the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the University of Kentucky, University of Alaska Anchorage, and Utah State University. Established in 2018 through funding provided by the Administration for Community Living, we work to improve mental health services and supports for people with developmental disabilities. By serving as a national clearinghouse, we help provide access to the most current evidence-based, trauma-informed, culturally responsive practices that address the mental health needs of individuals with developmental disabilities.

They are committed to promoting access to quality mental health care for individuals with developmental disabilities. This is available through accessible online training content that centers around the needs and voices of individuals with disabilities. Their are training modules for providers and clinicians to learn more about working with people with disabilities in order to reduce treatment barriers and increase accessibility for all. And modules for individuals, families and Direct Supports to learn more about the basics of mental health conditions in the following modules.

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities site is the national information and referral center that provides information on disabilities and disability-related issues for families, educators, and other professionals. Our special focus is children and youth (birth to age 22). It provides information and makes referrals in areas related to: Specific disabilities, Early intervention, Special education and related services, Individualized education programs, Family issues, Disability organizations, Professional associations, Education rights, Transition to adult life and much, much more!

The National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices ‘NTG’ is a not-for-profit organization charged with ensuring that the interests of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia – as well as their families and friends – are taken into account as part of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.

The NTG's overall mission is to advocate for services and supports for people with intellectual disability and their families who are affected by Alzheimer's disease and dementias.

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

Being a Special-needs parent can feel lonely. Sandra provides support and encouragement for special-needs parents so they know they aren't alone on this journey. As caregivers, self care isn’t optional. We have to take care of ourselves so we can care for those who depend on us! My view of self care isn’t about self-sufficiency, self-fulfillment, or self-righteousness—it’s about dependence on God. You weren’t created to live a life of exhaustion, excuses, or extreme mood swings. You were created to abide in Christ.

Self Care and Soul Care for the Caregiver is purposeful and practical. It doesn’t add more to your to-do list—it transforms your to-do list for better fulfillment and efficiency. I hope you’ll listen, and that it will be a blessing to you!

Special Father's Network is a nonnprofit dad-to-dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs. Through our personalized matching process, new fathers with a special needs child are connected with another father (A Mentor Father) who has experienced a similar situation.

Mentor Fathers are matched as closely as possible based on the child’s special need, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic group, and relationship to the child (i.e.father, stepfather, grandfather), providing the younger father with a special needs child, a chance to ask personal questions and receive support from a peer who is truly familiar with the situation.


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.

Consider setting up a Volunteer Support Services organization in your community.  GrimesDallas CenterUrbandale 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.

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.             

Government Disability Services

                                                              words 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.

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.

Applying for a Waiver in Iowa provides information in the process of how to apply for a waiver and is from the ASK Resource Center.

                 ASK an Expert:  Home and Community Based Waiver Services webinar  from ASK Resource Center.  Lacey Giunta, ChildServe Case Management Supervisor & Certified Brian Injury Specialist discusses Home and Community Based Waiver Services.

                  ASK an Expert: Health Insurance Premium Payment Program webinar from ASK Resource Center.  Learn about HIPP Program Overview (Health Insurance Premium Payment Program). Speaker is Lacey Giunta, ChildServe Case Management.

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. 

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

The Independent Living (IL) program, operated by Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) is designed to complement the vocational component of the agency's mission: independence and inclusion of persons with significant disabilities.

The target population of the IL program is individuals with significant disabilities who experience barriers to independent living in their home and communities and who also do not identify employment as a goal. The IL program primarily addresses architectural and environmental barriers to independence, with services generally fitting under the umbrella terms of rehabilitation technology and assistive technology. For those needing independent living services, assistance can be provided for ramps, bathroom modifications, vehicle modifications, some durable medical equipment not covered by insurance, hearing aids, environmental controls, and augmentative communication devices. IVRS partners with Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) and the Iowa Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) to help promote the expansion of services for independent living throughout Iowa.

Our goal is to promote the availability and accessibility of transportation options for older adults, people with disabilities and caregivers.

TRANSITION IOWA is a website that provides information and resources that that support transition planning for youth with disabilities and their families, and the educators and professionals who support them. The resources encourage high expectations for all students as they transition to adult life. This Iowa Department of Education has partnered with ASK Resource Center to support students, families and professionals as they plan for life after high school for students with disabilities.

Prenatal Diagnosis

                                           pairs of feet including wheels of wheelchair and words life is sacred


This is a prolife message about people with disability and the story of Maddie, who reminds us of the dignity and joy that can be found in every human life.

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. 

       Resources Available:

      Prenatal Screening Brochure - English

       Prenatal Screening Brochure - Spanish

      FDA Warns of Risks Associated with Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening Tests -4/19/2022

Behold your Child is a ministry developed by the Archdiocese of Dubuque to help provide hope and healing for parents and families who have experienced a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis, miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death (whether recently or years ago).  Resources are available to assist families who have experienced a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis, miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN YOUR LOSS. 

At this website you can find resources  help expectant parents and medical professionals get the support they need following a prenatal or postnatal diagnosis.  The provide links to the nation's clearing house and comprehensive training center for sharing accurate, balanced, and up-to-date information about genetic conditions.  Links to resources from Lettercase as they lead the effort to make sure all expectant parent and providers have the resources and support they need at the moment of diagnosis. Brighter Tomorrows is part of the National Center for Prenatal and Postnatal Down Syndrome Resources.

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.

Review in Linacre Quarterly by Byron Calhoun of the above listed resource.

A welcome program for expecting or new parents of children with Down Syndrome.  Parents will be connected with an Ambassador within 24 hours of the request being submitted. GiGi's changes lives through the consistent delivery of free educational, therapeutic-based, and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community, through a replicable playhouse model.  Provide resources to learn about Down Syndrome and provides life, love and support to all families with free resources and programming to members.

GiGi's Playhouse in Des Moines also has a monthly program for families that receive a diagnosis or are new to GiGi's Playhouse for sharing, support, and celebration.  It is the 2nd Saturday of the month at 9:30 am. Host families will be there to meet new families, answer questions, and share stories. The goal is to provide a positive foundation, provide ongoing support, and to provide a positive setting for a new parent to share and learn.

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.

Lily’s Gift is a network of concerned parents and professionals who have experienced or worked closely with issues surrounding poor prenatal diagnosis. Modeled and trained by Be Not Afraid SMvolunteers from Lily’s Gift offer a free service of practical guidance and compassionate care focusing on meeting the needs of expectant parents as they seek to honor the life of their baby no matter how frail or how brief. We provide resource materials, assistance with writing birth plans, birth support persons as requested and referrals to other community-based services and support groups.

Little Angel Gowns provides  hand sew burial attire for babies made from donated wedding gowns.   They work with hundreds of hospitals and funeral homes, and individual families, to provide this special service. It is their mission to create comfort for the families that have suffered this great loss. 

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.

Provide a list of resources designed to equip people to respond to these needs, and includes an online toolkit with free downloadable resources with a faith-based framework. Including articles like:

Article "The New Eugenics:  Eliminating the "Undesirable" by Prenatal Diagnosis, 2010

NILMDTS offers the gift of healing, hope and honor to parents experiencing the death of a baby through the overwhelming power of remembrance portraits. Professional-level photographers volunteer their time to conduct an intimate portrait session, capturing the only moments parents spend with their babies. Parents are gifted with delicately retouched black and white portraits free of charge.

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.

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. 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. 


We are a group of experienced professionals who have come together to create this website to provide you with a safe place to find the information and support you need through the journey of a prenatal diagnosis and beyond.

When you call the hotline or text or chat with us, you will talk to a trained consultant who can get you connected to a Parent Care Coordinators. (PCCs) provide a free service of practical guidance, information, and referrals so that parents understand what is normal, what is possible, and what might be helpful as they carry to term. Special attention is given to assisting the parents in the development of a birth and newborn care plan, and support is provided for one year following the birth. No matter what diagnosis or prognosis you have received, PCCs are here to help.

Prenatal Partners for Life is dedicated to providing families, either expecting, or those who have had, a child with special needs or a life limiting condition, the support, information, and encouragement they need to make informed decisions involving their preborn or newborn child’s care.

Our goal is to provide honest, practical information and support about parenting a child with special needs by linking expectant parents or new parents with other parents who have had the same or a similar diagnosis.

This support can be provided in person, over the phone, by email or in written correspondence and may include a variety of practical support that is based on each family’s individual needs.

The above article is provided by the National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry (NAflm) an organization that in 2013 partnered and  joined forces with NCPD and continue its ministry as a Council on IDD within NCPD.

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.

St. Luke Parish has trained ministers who have gone through "Behold your Child" and/or "Organic Conceptions" training and will provide a confidential listening ear, helpful resources and experienced-based guidance.

SOFT is a network of families and professionals dedicated to providing support and understanding to families involved in the issues and decisions surrounding the diagnosis and care in Trisomy 18, 13 and other related chromosomal disorders. Support can be provided during prenatal diagnosis, the child’s life and after the child’s passing. SOFT is committed to respect a family’s personal decision and to the notion of parent -professional relationships. SOFT is a non -profit 501(c)(3) all -volunteer support organization.

USCCB resources in supporting families who receive a prenatal diagnosis.  Pamphlets are available in English and Spanish.

A young mother shares her story, and the story of her son, who was born with a severe left lip, palate and eyes.  The mother states "This is my plea to anyone considering abortion. Rethink your decision, no matter the circumstances. I am so glad I chose life!"  To read more about their families story you can find their book "Through the Eyes of Hope: Love More, Worry Less, and See God in the Midst of Your Adversity."

Sports, Fitness & Activities

                                        words sports and fitness with basketball, soccer ball and baseball

Sports, Fitness and Activities

Mission is to provide statewide leadership in the planning, promotion, education and organization of sports and recreation opportunities for Iowans with physical disabilities.

Our goal is to provide meaningful competitive and recreational physical activities to enhance the quality of life of participants with disabilities in Iowa. Adaptive Sports Iowa allows everyone from beginners to seasoned pros to participate in our activities! ASI provides these opportunities with no programming or equipment fees. 

Adventures in Social Development (ASD) reaches and assists individuals through Role-Play Theatre Analysis (RTA). Dialogue created through RTA utilizes elements of visual and emotional awareness. RTA, coupled with the reflexive thinking process, integrates function, emotion, and imagination to validate others’ ideas and challenge conventional wisdom; moving participants into action to become agents of change within their communities.

Participants experience familiar success while using interactive drama as the catalyst to influence and change lives. RTA enables the individual to transform their reality through the arts; leading to a healthier sense of self as the individual participants become the playwright as well as the director of their own lives.

Black Pearl Dance Academy's "Gemma Class" is a dance class designed for children and young adults with special healthcare needs, such as sensory-processing disorders.

Students will learn a dance throughout the year at their own unique pace using fun, engaging, inclusive and expressive movements. Participants will perform in a recital for family and friends at the end of the season.


Can Play Sports is the merging of Courage League Sports and Opportunity on Deck as they have joined forces to increase the positive impacts on youth through the growth and evolution of adaptive and no-cost sports programs. Both organizations have created programs for undeserved youth to give them the opportunity to play and build self-confidence.

Every child CAN PLAY. All children have the courage to play, but barriers such as limited family budgets or the need for an adaptive environment can keep them from participating. Can Play will supplement the cost of playing sports and adapt the play to the skill level for each child. Creating the opportunity to play despite the barriers.  

Dance Without Limits is a 501c3 Non-Profit organization that provides a dance program in Des Moines, Iowa for children and young adults with special needs who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the joy of dance. Our fall and spring sessions are comprised of one-hour classes that are designed to suit each individual’s needs. During classes held once a week, a period of professional dance instruction is provided by instructors and volunteers trained to work with dancers who have special needs. We offer Lite-Gait equipment for children who need extra support with standing. We have a teacher who is able to communicate in American Sign Language, and volunteers who are learning some simple signs. At the end of each session, participants perform in a recital for family and friends.

Movement and Play are the basis for all iCan Shine programs.  Each program provides success through experience. Every effort is acknowledged for each unique person’s individual abilities.  Recreational skills can be difficult to master for individuals with disabilities.  Breaking skills into small, achievable goals and celebrating each accomplishment builds the self-esteem and confidence needed to continue the challenges of learning.

Participants undergo a transformation from not believing they are able to accomplish a skill, to believing “iCan” accomplish what I set my mind to. This impacts their well-being and opens them to try new activities.  Positive encouragement and guidance from well-trained, energized instructors and volunteers allow each participant to discover and develop their “iCan” mantra in a safe, supportive and fun environment. In the iCan Shine environment of teaching and learning, everyone advances, everyone gains by the experience, everyone is successful and… everyone shines! Choices in recreation should be available for everyone. 


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.

Special Youth Challenge Ministries (SYCJ) teach, lead help youth with special challenges to devleop sportsmen's skills and enjoy God's great outdoors.  Their mission is to empower physically challenged youth to enjoy hunting and the shooting sports by helping them overcome barriers found in the outdoors. This is done through the use of special methods, equipment, and assistance from volunteers who desire to share their passion for shooting and hunting. SYC hunters have a physical challenge, special need or have (had) a life threatening disease or injury.  A quote from Thomas Cole states: "None know how often the hand of God is seen in the wilderness but them that rove it."


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  • Resources for Veterans including prayers, bulletin inserts, presentation materials, blessings for active military personnel and links to additional resources for veteran support can be found at the Special Needs Ministry website from the Diocese of Washington DC

The Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN) offers peer-based support and services to connect those providing care to service members and veterans living with wounds, illnesses, injuries and/or aging.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs provides multiple resources and support for caregivers of our veterans.

This benefit provides medically necessary improvements and structural alterations to Veterans/Servicemembers’ primary residence. See the above site for details on what is included and excluded.