Partner Organization Resources

puzzle pieces with words community partners

Specific Disabilities

Autism Research Institute

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.

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.

Autism Speaks

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. 

Be My Eyes

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.

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.

Cerebral Palsy Resources

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

Dementia Letters Project

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.

Down Syndrome--"Dear Future Mom" video

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

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.      man walking on sidewalk in park using a cane

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.

Iowa Radio Reading (IRIS)

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.

  John Hopkins Medicine Conditions and Diseases pages provides some great information on mental illness diagnoses.  Some of them include major depression, anxiety disorders, manic depression bipolar disorder, eating disorders, ADHD/ADD, etc.

  Key Ministries provides Mental Health resources with the majority of their resources for ministry leaders provided at no charge.  One of their resources is the Mental Health Inclusion Ministry Planning Toolkit.

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.

Mind Spring Mental Health Alliance (Formerly NAMI Greater DM) Check out their Zoom presentation on Understanding Mental Illness and future upcoming webinars on a variety of different mental health topics.

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 

  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.

  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.

  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 Program

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.

Relay Iowa

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.

Employment Resources

Delivering Jobs

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. 

National Organization on Disabilities

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 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. 

Iowa Able

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

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.

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.


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. 


Accepting the Gift

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.  Accepting the Gift was started by a special needs mom as a conference in 2019 with the goal to connect Catholic special needs parents with each other, as well as with great speakers and resources. But she quickly realized a once a year event wasn't enough. Catholic special needs parents need the ability to connect year round and so, the name of the conference became the name of a new website, and apostolate, designed to empower each family in their mission as parents and caregivers. 

We see you. You are not alone. 

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-Iowa

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).

Books Beyond Words

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.

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

Collaborative on Faith and Disabilities

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.

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.

Disabled World

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. 

Health Matters Program

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.

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.

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. 

Iowa's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

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.

Key Ministries

Key Ministries 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.

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.

Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities National Training Center

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.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities

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!

National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices 

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

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

Self Care and Soul Care for the Caregiver Podcast

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!

Transition Iowa

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

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.

Prenatal Diagnosis  multiple feet with leg prosthesis, cane, wheel chair 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

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. 

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.

  Resource of Pastoral Care Tips for Parents Experiencing a Poor Prenatal Diagnosis from Lily's Gift in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Brighter Tomorrows

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 Postnal Down Syndrome Resources.

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

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 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. 

Prenatal Partners for Life

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.


Prenatal Poor and Difficult Diagnosis a Call for Support Ministry

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.

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.

Through the Eyes of Hope--Mother's Inspirational Video of Blind Baby Boy--Lacey and Christian Buchanan

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 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

Can Play Sports

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. 


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. 

Special Olympics

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.

Special Youth Challenge Ministries, Inc.

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."

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.


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

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