VELA is an Austin-born nonprofit. Since 2011, our vision has been to create a community where all families of children with disabilities thrive. Whether you are a parent, provider or community member, we all play a role in building a community that celebrates and empowers differences. Through our programming, VELA gives families knowledge, empowerment, resilience and community to create their brightest futures.  Through the parent, for the child. Watch our video celebrating 10 years of VELA!
Check out our Round 2 Fall 2022 Programming Flyer! 


Mission & History

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

VELA has served thousands of families of children with disabilities across 84 zip codes through free courses and wraparound services. We have big plans for VELA as we continue to grow. Check out our 2021 Impact Report. 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 years, VELA has grown from a 100% volunteer run agency to having 9 staff, a strategic and diverse board, and a community of committed volunteers. Read more here. 


We are so grateful to our 2021 Funders and Sponsors! This includes grantors and corporate partners and sponsors.
Click here to learn how you can join us!

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.



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!