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 includes childcare. Navigating the world of disability can be hard. It is full of acronyms, paperwork, meetings and feelings of powerlessness for families. VELA was created to provide families with a path to become their child's greatest experts. By doing so, they can work more closely with you, the provider, so that together we can create a community where all families of children with special needs thrive. Check out our Spring 2020 Programming Flyers! 



What We Do

VELA provides free hands-on courses and wraparound services in English and Spanish to families of children with special needs. Childcare is provided. See our program details on our Parents page.

  • Courses for Parents
    • Special Education Course
    • Autism Course
    • Taking Care of You Workshops
    • Cuidandote Course
  • Workshops for Parents
  • Supportive Case Management
  • Monthly Support Groups (in Spanish only)
  • Family Fun Days

Who we serve

English and Spanish-speaking families of children with special needs 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 includes

  • 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 out our Flyer for Providers!

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.


Special Education Course Flyer
For families who have a child in Special Education. Must have an IEP or be in the evaluation process.

 Autism Course Flyer
For families who have a child with autism.

Taking Care of You Workshop Flyer
For families who have a child with a special need.

Case Management
One-on-one support for families of children with special needs.

Grupo de Apoyo
Monthly Support Group for families (in Spanish only)


Call (512) 850-8281 for more information or click here to see our program calendar. 

want VEla to provide a workshop?

Did you know that we can also travel and bring our workshops to your families or providers? VELA partners with schools, agencies and healthcare clinics to bring our hands-on programming onsite.


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!


Have questions?

Check out our FAQs
or call us at 512-850-8281.

& Get Involved

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