Navigating the world of disability can be hard. It is full of acronyms, paperwork, meetings and feelings of powerlessness for families. VELA is a nonprofit organization that empowers families of children with special needs. By working with the community, we provide knowledge, resources and support so that all families can thrive. All programming is at no cost to families and is offered in both English and Spanish.

As we all move through this unexpected time, VELA has adapted its courses, workshops, support groups, and case management services to be 100% virtual- in person services also available. Check out our for families or para familias pages for details- and here is our Fall 2022 Flyer
 Para información en español, haz clic aqui.



What We Do

VELA provides free hands-on courses and wraparound services in English and Spanish to families of children with disabilities.  Virtual and in person services available. See our program details here.

  • Courses for Parents
    • Special Education Course
    • Autism Course
    • Taking Care of You Course
    • Caregiver Wellness Course
    • Transition to Adulthood Course
  • Monthly Support Groups in Spanish and English
  • Supportive Case Management
  • Workshops for Parents
  • Family Fun Days

Who we serve

English and Spanish-speaking families of children with disabilities in Austin and surrounding areas! We support families that have children of all ages and abilities.


Our Approach

We understand that for parents to become their child's greatest experts, they need a hands-on learning experience. Our unique program design ensures parents gain knowledge, skills and support.

  • Curriculum that serves Austin's diverse community.
  • Peer to Peer Learning: Families to learn alongside one another.
  • Parent Facilitators teach our courses and have children with special needs
  • Dynamic Teaching: Roleplaying, games, practical handouts and more to truly prepare parents to be their child's greatest expert.
  • Creating Parent Toolkits for use in appointments.
  • Teaching evidence-based activities to practice self-compassion.
  • All in English and Spanish.
  • Specialized Childcare that celebrates every child just as they are!

What parents gain

  • Knowledge & Skills: Understand their child's, needs, learn to navigate medical, educational and social services, and build collaborative relationships with their child's providers.
  • Organization: Build a Parent Toolkit! Learn how to organize all of their child's paperwork in a binder to be used with educators and health care providers.
  • Support & Community: Learn to manage stress and emotions, practice self-care and meet other parents!
  • Check our our Fall 2022 Flyer! 

Resulting In...

  • Improved Parent & Provider Relationships
  • Increased Engagement with Child’s Services
  • Increased Effectiveness of Interventions and Services to Child
  • Better Outcomes for Children with Special Needs and their Families

Refer a Family!

For most parents, making another phone call can be overwhelming. By referring your families to VELA, you eliminate work from their already full schedules. We call families directly and connect them with our courses, workshops and wraparound services. "VELA is about teaching the parent to be the best advocate, the most informed advocate," says referring pediatrician Dr. Michelle Gallas.


Call (512) 850-8281 for more information 


Our Referral & Program Partners:

Austin ISD, Round Rock ISD, Texas School for the Deaf, Hays CISD, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Superior Health Plan, Dell Children’s/ Ascension, CommUnityCare Clinics, People’s Community Clinic, , Little Tesoros Therapy Services, The Arc of the Capital Area, Easter Seals of Central Texas, Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas and more. We would love to partner with you!


& Get Involved

We have strong results and families.
Learn about our impact and see how you can get involved!