ABOUT US

VELA is an Austin-born nonprofit. For the last seven years, our vision has been to create a community where all families of children with special needs thrive. Whether you are a parent, provider or community member, we can all play a role in building a community that celebrates and empowers differences. By providing hands-on programming, VELA empowers families of children with special needs, through the parent, for the child. 

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Mission & History

When told that your child has a special need, your life is forever changed. VELA was founded in 2010 with a mission to empower English-and Spanish-speaking parents of children with special needs. Research shows parent involvement is the greatest indicator of positive outcomes for children with special needs, yet parents report feelings of confusion, frustration and loneliness when navigating doctors, therapies and special education for their child. VELA is here to support families through this path.

VELA has served over 1,000 families of children with special needs across 55 zip codes through free courses and wraparound services. We have big plans for VELA as we continue to grow. Check out our Strategic Plan. Regardless of income, language, and/or culture, our families share a powerful commonality; they want to create the best possible outcomes for their children. In the last 7 years, VELA has grown from a 100% volunteer run agency to having 5 staff, a strategic and diverse board, and a community of committed volunteers. Read more here. 

OUr Values

Parents as Experts
No one knows your child better than you. Our goal is to give you, the parent, the knowledge, support and community to create the best future for your child and family.

Honoring Journeys
Each family walks their own path with disability. We honor that everyone moves through their experience differently and at their own pace. VELA meets you where you are on your path, walking beside you and leading with empathy first.

Creating What's Possible
Disability does not mean inability. We work to create access for our families by helping remove barriers. We dream big with our families.

Celebrating Differences
Disability brings diversity. At VELA, we celebrate that the world is a better place when we create access for everyone to participate, to be fully included and to be themselves.

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STORYTIME: MEET Lian

Lian loves many things including his parents, dogs and pizza. When we met his parents, Rosa and Eric, we quickly saw where he got his brightness. They are warriors who have been through heart surgeries, diagnoses, very hard special education meetings and lots more with their son. Click here to read more about them and other families we are honored to serve!