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, https://www.facebook.com/groups/acceptingthegift and Instagram group, https://instagram.com/acceptingthegift?utm_medium=copy_link , 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. Walking with People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Their Grief
Friendship Ministries is pleased to present this resource to help you step into the grief journey with someone you care about. 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.
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. 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.
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.